News for August 2010

Carmen Prieto joins Kartemquin Board

Carmen Prieto, the Associate Director of the Wieboldt Foundation, will become the newest member of the Kartemquin Board when she joins for the next meeting in September. “Carmen’s long-term involvement with the Wieboldt Foundation, which supports grassroots multi-issue community organizing, fits perfectly with Kartemquin’s mission of developing documentaries that focus on people who are often overlooked or misrepresented by the media,” says Justine Nagan, Executive Director of Kartemquin Films. “We are thrilled to have another person on our board whose work experience and philanthropic endeavors reflect our organization’s commitment to opening dialogue, both within communities and between the general public and policymakers to directly affect social and political change.” “I am honored to have been asked to serve on the board of Kartemquin Films,” says Prieto. “In my professional life I facilitate the provision of resources for grassroots community organizing for positive social change and am excited about the opportunity to engage with individuals who are committed to the creation of documentary films that tell personal stories that inspire, challenge, and move people to collective action.”  Ms. Prieto is the associate director of the Wieboldt Foundation, an eighty-nine year old private family foundation supporting grassroots, multi-issue, community organizing in the metropolitan Chicago area. She has been with the foundation for 20 years. In addition to her role at the foundation, Ms. Prieto has also served in a number of leadership positions within the philanthropic sector, both locally and nationally. She served on the board of directors of the Chicago Foundation for Women from 1998 through 2006, serving as board chair from 2003-2005. She was a member of the board of directors of the Donors Forum from 2004 through 2009, serving as a board vice-chair, co-chair of the board development committee, and co-chair of the Community Building Task Force. Ms. Prieto is a member of the executive committee of Chicago Latinos in Philanthropy and currently serves on the board of directors of the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing and the Chicago Area Women’s History Council.  Past civic involvements have included serving as a former board member and vice-chair of Chicago Health Outreach, a clinic providing comprehensive physical, mental, and dental health services to underserved populations. In 2000 Ms. Prieto was honored by Mujeres Latinas en Accion with the Maria “Maruca” Martinez Community Service Award.  In October of 2003 Carmen was honored by the National Museum of Mexican Art with their 2003 Sor Juana Achievement Award. Continued

New American Arab video online!

Check out the first exclusive video clip from Usama Alshaibi's American Arab! The film has a fundraiser on August 5th in Chicago (tickets still available!) at which the filmmakers will show the world premiere of their latest demo of the film. The first video features a profile of Taqwacore musician Marwan Kamel of the band Al-Thawra in conversation with Usama Alshaibi. Taqwacore is an Islamic Punk music genre/movement taken from the words 'Taqwa' - meaning 'piety' or 'fear of god' - and 'Hardcore,' for the punk genre. The short video challenges a number of stereotypes of American Islamic culture, much like American Arab itself. Continued

Usama Alshaibi interviewed in the Chicago Reader

American Arab director Usama Alshaibi is profiled in today's Chicago Reader, in advance of tonight's party fundraiser at Chicago's Stan Mansion at 6pm. Bring a copy of the Reader article to tonight's event to receive $10 off your entry to the event. Please come out to support Usama and the completion of this important film! And if you can't wait until tonight, here's another sneak peak clip from the demo, which will world premiere tonight! Continued

Typeface is Tops with Trendy Techno-Typophiles

In a recent newsletter to fans, Typeface put out the following challenge: "Typeface is now available for download on iTunes! So head over to the iTunes store and download Typeface for your computer, iphone or ipad.  First person to send in a photo of themselves watching Typeface on a train, plane or bus from their laptop wins our Techno-Typophile award! And, for you folks who love a challenge, if you can get a photo of yourself watching Typeface on your ipad/laptop/iphone while simultaneously tweeting and using your Vandercook letterpress, we'll send you a t-shirt." Given how the film has been so fantastically supported by our community of fans around the world, we should have known that one of you would rise to the occasion! And Arley-Rose Torsone of Penland School of Crafts was just that super Techno-Typophile we were seeking, as she sent in this photo and the following description: "Here I am at Penland School Of Crafts when I saw your challenge to take a photo of the movie playing while printing on ye ole vandercook. Unfortunately I couldn't twitter at the same time, because I was taking the picture from my iPhone, using the hipstamatic app to imitate an old Holga.  It's pretty meta, don't you think?" Yes, yes we do. Congratulations to Arley-Rose, Techno-Typophile and proud owner of a Typeface T-Shirt! Want to get in on other great subscriber-only announcements and competitions? Sign-up here for the Typeface newsletter! Typeface screenings are coming up in Australia (a mini-tour!), New Zealand (twice!), California, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Maryland. See you there or on Facebook (where we now have over 1,000 friends!) and Twitter! Continued

The Dart Society blogs about Howard Reich's journey

Please read the blog "Howard Reich's Journey to Understand his Mother and Himself" on the Dart Society's "Blogging Trauma" website for a thoughtful and insightful consideration of Prisoner of Her Past. The blog states: "Reich deserves credit for his honesty and willingness to show us a little-explored aspect of the Holocaust as well as for his courage in exploring new formats through which to express himself."The Dart Society exists to "connect and support journalists worldwide who advance the compassionate and ethical coverage of trauma, conflict and social injustice."Prisoner of Her Past is available on DVD, and will be screening around the world in the coming months, with dates already announced for Greece, Czech Republic, Illinois, Texas and Indiana. Check the film's events page for details and updated listings. Continued

MacArthur Foundation awards large production grant to The Interrupters

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has awarded the Kartemquin documentary The Interrupters a production grant of $200,000. The grant will allow director/producer Steve James and write/producer Alex Kotlowitz to finish production on the film, which will be broadcast on PBS’ Frontline.   “The MacArthur Foundation has long been a supporter of my work with Kartemquin,” said Steve James. “The first grant we ever received from them was for Hoop Dreams in 1990. That grant saved the film, allowing us to not just finish the film, but also do so in the way we wanted.  We view this current grant to The Interrupters in the same light.  It is extremely timely and essential and will allow us to make the film in a way we hope does justice to the important issues the film addresses.” Continued

Farewell and thanks to At the Movies

This weekend saw the final episode of At the Movies broadcast on American television. Kartemquin has always been fond of the program ever since it was so integral in raising awareness of Hoop Dreams with this famous review in 1994. It seems we're not alone in feeling this way, as many other writers over the past few days have marked the end of the show with tributes that make special mention of that landmark Hoop Dreams review, including NPR,, Reuters, and the superb Not Just Movies blog, who felt that most appropriate way to pay tribute to was by profiling Hoop Dreams in detail, since they discovered the film "solely through the attention it received on the program." Our thanks and eternal gratitude go to Gene Siskel, Roger Ebert and At the Movies. Continued

Chicago Community Trust grant will help us understand you better!

We are grateful to receive a $15,000 grant from The Chicago Community Trust for the research, implementation and creation of a new database system as part of the Arts Engagement Small Grants program.  This grant will ultimately allow Kartemquin to track and measure impact for the communities we serve through our social issue films.  We plan to use the grant to implement a database system and audience engagement study that will work across all departments, helping us to better identify our participants and understand their needs.  We plan to share our story of this year-long process with the nonprofit community and other Trust grantees as part of our mission to produce quality media that is accompanied by measurable real world results. Continued

Prisoner of Her Past now on Netflix, and back in Chicago

The award-winning Kartemquin documentary Prisoner of Her Past is now available on Netflix. Add the film to your queue today! If you are in the Chicago area however, perhaps you might want to see the film with Howard Reich in person at a special screening at the Spertus Institute on November 14th, 2010. Howard will introduce the film and sign copies of the DVD and his book. Tickets are available now from the Spertus Institute. Continued