Steve James announced as 2018 AFI DOCS Guggenheim Honoree

Kartemquin is thrilled to share that long-time Kartemquin associate Steve James has been announced as the 2018 AFI DOCS Charles Guggenheim Symposium honoree. Read the official release from AFI DOCS here. James will be honored on June 14 at 6:30PM at the National Museum of American History's theater, where episode one of the James' upcoming docuseries America to Me will screen. The evening will also include an in-depth conversation with James along with clips from his acclaimed works. Purchase tickets here. Writes AFI DOCS in their official release: "The acclaimed Hoop Dreams began James’ long and fruitful affiliation with Kartemquin Films. James’ next documentary, Stevie (2002), won major festival awards in the U.S. and internationally. The Interrupters (2011) was a hit on the festival circuit, winning a dozen awards. Life Itself (2014) premiered to critical acclaim at Sundance and was named the best documentary of the year by more than a dozen critics’ associations. Abacus: Small Enough to Jail was a 2018 Academy Award® nominee for Best Documentary Feature, and was nominated for numerous other awards, winning Best Political Documentary at the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards." Previous recipients of the award include Charles Guggenheim (2003), Barbara Kopple (2004), Martin Scorsese (2006), Jonathan Demme (2007), Spike Lee (2008), Albert Maysles (2009), Frederick Wiseman (2010), Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker (2011), Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky (2012), Errol Morris (2013), Alex Gibney (2014), Stanley Nelson (2015), Werner Herzog (2016) and Laura Poitras (2017). America to Me comes to STARZ this fall.
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Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Steve James (Hoop Dreams, Life Itself) examines racial, economic and class issues in contemporary American education in the ten-part unscripted documentary series America to Me. Poignant and funny, epic and intimate, America to Me spends an academic year at Chicagoland's elite Oak Park and River Forest High School (OPRF), allowing its students, families, faculty and administration to tell stories of the pressures and challenges teens face today in their own words.

Kartemquin and Freep Film Festival Partner on Midwest Documentary Filmmaker Sustainability Conversation


We're excited to share that Kartemquin Films is partnering with Freep Film Festival, held April 10-14 in Detroit, to host a conversation on filmmaker sustainability and a special rough cut lab. Both events bring to Detroit for the first time initiatives and expertise Kartemquin has pioneered as part of its acclaimed filmmaker development programs and advocacy on behalf of the documentary field.

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Abacus: Small Enough to Jail tells the incredible saga of the Chinese immigrant Sung family, owners of Abacus Federal Savings of Chinatown, New York. Accused of mortgage fraud by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Abacus becomes the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The indictment and subsequent trial forces the Sung family to defend themselves – and their bank’s legacy in the Chinatown community – over the course of a five-year legal battle.
Based on his memoir of the same name, Life Itself recounts the surprising and entertaining life of world-renowned film critic and social commentator Roger Ebert – a story that’s by turns personal, wistful, funny, painful, and transcendent.

Kartemquin Films to announce inaugural grant recipients at 2018 Empowering Truth Benefit Luncheon

Kartemquin will for the first time announce recipients of $150,000 in grants for up to 15 films at the 2018 Kartemquin Films Empowering Truth Benefit Luncheon, taking place on November 1st at 11:30am at the Union League Club of Chicago.

Grants of up to $20,000 will be announced for eligible projects by debut or emerging filmmakers who are already receiving support through Kartemquin’s revered production process, which has guided over 65 award-winning, socially impactful films since the collective was founded in 1966.

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In 1995, filmmaker Steve James returns to Pomona, a beautiful rural hamlet in Southern Illinois to reconnect with Stevie Fielding, for whom James once served as an advocate Big Brother.
First exhibited at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the audience award for best documentary, Kartemquin's Hoop Dreams is the remarkable true story of two American dreamers; an intimate reflection of contemporary American inner-city culture, following two ordinary young men on the courts of the game they love.