Five Projects Selected for Kartemquin's CHICAGO FORWARD Grant Supported Through the Artist Response Program Award

Kartemquin Films is excited to announce the selection of five dynamic short film projects as part of the Chicago Forward grant made possible by the Artist Response Program from the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified systemic racism and the history of disinvestment on the South and West sides of Chicago, we have been offered a critical opportunity to rebuild towards equity. Recognizing that artists have always played an important role in advancing the causes of justice and equity, DCASE seeks to support artists in developing projects that engage the public in a constructive, civic dialogue that will propel our collective action, facilitate progress, and make Chicago a model city for the nation as it faces the difficult work ahead.

As a re-granting partner, Kartemquin Films is providing seed funding to five Chicago-based documentary projects being made in response to the societal upheaval we have experienced, from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, to the racial reckoning reignited by the murder of George Floyd, and beyond. 

“These films are representative of the voices and stories that demand our attention if we are to be made whole, if we are to counter indifference and disinvestment, and if we believe in the restorative, healing power of being heard,” said Betsy Leonard, Executive Director of Kartemquin Films. “We’re proud to be a partner with these filmmakers in moving Chicago Forward.”

Please click the granted films titles for more information on each project and filmmaker: 

When The End of The World Comes All The Wicked Will Scream Armageddon
Director: DaJona Butler (she/her)
A film about the changing climate, the sin that is environmental racism, and the Armageddon that will both end and save us all.

​​Chicago: The Death and Life of A Great American City
Director: Jazmine. (she/her)
A city symphony film that poetically explores what was, what is, and what will be, as told by a third-generation black Chicagoan.

Untitled Animated Short Documentary 
Director: Cai Thomas (she/her)
Black Chicago youth and elders reflect on their respective pandemic experiences. 

Braver Than Most
Director: Teresa White (she/her)
A mother reveals the unique perseverance required to maintain joy and stability as a visually impaired person living and working in an ongoing pandemic.

Los Essentials
Director: Mateo Zapata (he/him)
An invisible American workforce.

The "Arts 77" grant project is a citywide arts recovery and reopening plan for all of Chicago’s 77 community areas, representing an initial investment of over $60 million to support local artists and organizations.