Kartemquin Films

Kartemquin Films

Sparking democracy through documentary since 1966, Kartemquin is a collaborative community that empowers documentary makers who create stories that foster a more engaged and just society.

Kartemquin's films have received four Academy Award® nominations, and won six Emmys® and three Peabody Awards, among several more major prizes. In 2019, Kartemquin was recognized with an Institutional Peabody Award for "its commitment to unflinching documentary filmmaking and telling an American history rooted in social justice and the stories of the marginalized." Recognized as a leading advocate for independent public media, Kartemquin has helped hundreds of artists via its filmmaker development programs and championing of documentary.

"There are few film production companies in the United States as admirable as Kartemquin Films, the nonprofit documentary house founded in Chicago in 1966 that was subsequently responsible for such outstanding, illuminating works as “Hoop Dreams” (1994), “The Interrupters” (2010) and “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail” (2016)."
– Glenn Kenny, The New York Times

"This is consistently transformative nonfiction at its finest."
– Ray Pride, New City

"From its humble beginnings in Chicago through the present day, Kartemquin Films has indelibly shaped the contemporary documentary form and values through its commitment to nonfiction storytelling as a form of art and its dedication to the ethos of social justice and equity."
– 2019 Peabody Awards (Kartemquin was awarded 2019 Institutional Peabody Award)

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Kartemquin Films
  • '63 Boycott

    Directed by Gordon Quinn • Documentary • 2017 • 30 minutes

    On October 22, 1963, more than 250,000 students boycotted the Chicago Public Schools to protest racial segregation. Many marched through the city calling for the resignation of School Superintendent Benjamin Willis, who placed trailers, ...

  • American Arab

    Directed by Usama Alshaibi • Documentary • 2013 • 60 minutes

    In Kartemquin's American Arab, Iraqi-born Director Usama Alshaibi takes a provocative look at the contradictions of Arab identity in post 9/11 America, weaving his own life’s journey and “coming-of-Arab” experiences into the life stori...

  • Cooked

    Directed by Judith Helfand • Documentary • 2020 • 82 minutes

    Chicago suffered the worst heat disaster in U.S history in 1995, when 739 residents--mostly elderly and black-died over the course of one week. As COOKED links the deadly heat wave's devastation back to the underlying manmade disaster ...

  • Edith+Eddie

    Directed by Laura Checkoway • Documentary • 2017 • 29 minutes

    Edith Hill and Eddie Harrison got married in Virginia at ages 96 and 95. Dancing at the honky-tonk and going to church, their newlywed life is filled with affection, prayer and faith. Since tying the knot, both Edith and Eddie have ex...

  • A Good Man

    Directed by Bob Hercules,Gordon Quinn • Documentary • With Nana Amoah,
    Bill T. Jones,
    Lindsay Jones • 2011 • 86 minutes

    A Good Man follows acclaimed director/choreographer Bill T. Jones (Last Supper at Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Still/Here, FELA!) as he and his company create their most ambitious work, ...

  • In the Family

    Directed by Joanna Rudnick • Documentary • With Joanna Rudnick • 2008 • 83 minutes

    In the Family is a documentary film about predicting breast and ovarian cancer, the consequences of knowing, and the women who live with the risk. Beginning with her story of testing positive for the familial brea...

  • Golub: Late Works Are the Catastrophes

    Directed by Jerry Blumenthal,Gordon Quinn • Documentary • With Leon Golub • 2004 • 80 minutes

    Kartemquin Films completes its chronicle of the work and times of the American artist, Leon Golub. Begun in 1985, the film ends with Golub's death in 2004, taking us from searing images of interrogation...

  • In the Game

    Directed by Maria Finitzo • Documentary • With None listed on IMDB • 2015 • 78 minutes

    IN THE GAME is a documentary film directed by Peabody award-winner Maria Finitzo (Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita, 5 Girls) that follows the ups and downs of a girls’ soccer team to reveal the very...

  • On Beauty

    Directed by Joanna Rudnick • Documentary • With Rick Guidotti • 2014 • 31 minutes

    ON BEAUTY is the latest film from award-winning filmmaker Joanna Rudnick and Chicago’s Kartemquin Films. The film looks at beauty through the lens of fashion photographer Rick Guidotti, who highlights vibrant indiv...

  • Prisoner of Her Past

    Directed by Gordon Quinn • Documentary • With Sonia Reich,
    Howard Reich • 2010 • 57 minutes

    Imagine surviving a war, earthquake, flood, or other disaster only to be stricken by nightmares, paranoia and a very real sense that it's happening over and over. What would you do? Frightening events can...

  • Milking the Rhino

    Directed by David E. Simpson • Documentary • With None listed on IMDB • 2008 • 83 minutes

    A ferocious kill on the Serengeti… dire warnings about endangered species… These clichés of nature documentaries ignore a key feature of the landscape: villagers just off-camera, who navigate the dangers an...

  • The New Americans - Episode 1

    Directed by Laura Angelica Simon • Documentary • 2003 • 55 minutes

    We first meet the Nwidor and Lawani families, members of a small tribal minority known as the Ogonis, in a refugee camp in Benin, West Africa. The Ogoni people had opposed Nigeria’s military government and the Shell Oil Corporati...

  • Saving Mes Aynak

    Directed by Brent E. Huffman • Documentary • 2015 • 58 minutes

    SAVING MES AYNAK follows Afghan archaeologist Qadir Temori as he races against time to save a 5,000-year-old archaeological site in Afghanistan from imminent demolition. A Chinese state-owned mining company is closing in on the ancie...

  • Typeface

    Directed by Justine Nagan • Documentary • With None listed on IMDB • 2009 • 63 minutes

    In rural Wisconsin, a lone employee waits in a cavernous old museum for visitors to come. A few individuals straggle in every few days and then, come Friday, the museum fills with life. Machines hum, presses p...