December 31, 2014 3:06 pm
A record-breaking year for Kartemquin saw six of our documentary projects have world premieres in 2014:
- Life Itself at Sundance Film Festival in January.
- The Homestretch at Hot Docs in April.
- On Beauty at Chicago International Film Festival in October.
- The School Project simultaneously on the web, TV and with a live event at Chicago History Museum in October.
- Almost There at DOC NYC in November.
- Saving Mes Aynak at IDFA in November.
Sundance also held the world premiere of the 20th anniversary digital restoration of Hoop Dreams, which then toured multiple festivals; we celebrated the US premiere of American Arab at Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in February; and the global television premiere of The Trials of Muhammad Ali on PBS Independent Lens in April.
Kartemquin was honored with the Master of Cinema Award at the River Run Festival, Gordon Quinn received the Career Achievement Award at Hot Springs Documentary Festival, and Full Frame honored the work of Steve James. We're delighted that Steve's film Life Itself has been one of the year's most acclaimed and popular films, winning multiple awards and appearing on many "best of 2014" lists.
Alongside those cinematic highlights, we expanded our staff and filmmaker support programs, celebrating our third sold out Spring Showcase in May, the graduation of our second cohort of Diverse Voices in Docs in October, the continuation of our acclaimed Internship and KTQ Labs programs, and a Gala that broke all our fundraising records! We're also proud to be a part of organizing ongoing advocacy work around the Indie Caucus, and renewing the DMCA exemption for documentary fair use.
Bring on 2015! Highlights to look ahead to will be the continuation and expansion of those filmmaker programs, the announcement of a handful of new Kartemquin projects, and the world premieres of at least two films in the first half of the year - our six-hour Al Jazeera America series on the lives of low income workers, Hard Earned, and In The Game, about the struggles of Latina girls on a high school soccer team - and even more to come.
You can also look forward to the TV premiere broadcasts of Life Itself (January 4th, 9pm ET on CNN) and The Homestretch (April 13, 10pm ET on PBS Independent Lens); Blu-Ray/DVD of the those two films, plus American Arab on DVD/VOD in February, and the new Blu-Ray of Hoop Dreams in March; and many screenings of Almost There, Saving Mes Aynak, and On Beauty as they travel the 2015 festival circuit and beyond.
Kartemquin is grateful to all those who supported our work this year, with purchases of tickets to see our films, or DVDs and merchandise in our store, or donations and grant support to individual films and the organization itself. Thank you for allowing our documentary films to exist, our filmmakers to develop their craft, and audiences to be find and be inspired and engaged by our work.
R.I.P. Jerry Blumenthal, 1932 - 2014. Your spirit still lives on here at 1901 W Wellington.
Oh, and in 2016, we turn 50!