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Kartemquin Films

Chicago, Illinois

Kartemquin Films was awarded $4,873,466 between 1992 and 2020, including 24 grants in Journalism & Media, Chicago Commitment and MacArthur Award for Creative & Effective Institutions.


2020 • 1 year • Journalism & Media

Kartemquin Films (Kartemquin) is a nonprofit organization that supports independent filmmakers and communities to create impactful documentary films that foster a more just and enagaged society. It produces documentary films, and supports filmmakers in the regional U.S. Midwest through an array of programs. Now in its sixth decade of operations, Kartemquin is undertaking a year-long process of engaging with and creating avenues to support its community of more than 600 filmmakers and conducting learning activities that will help orient its work towards greater racial justice. This grant supports general operations. The outcome of this work is a stronger set of opportunities for documentary filmmakers, in particular for those from backgrounds currently underrepresented in the field.


2018 • 5 years • Chicago Commitment

Kartemquin Educational Films (Kartemquin, or KTQ) is a nonprofit organization that creates critically acclaimed social justice-oriented documentaries. For more than 50 years, Kartemquin has promoted its films with robust engagement campaigns, mentored emerging filmmakers, and advocated for independent public media as a foundation of a healthy democracy. Kartemquin provides customized support to filmmakers throughout the production and distribution process, with a focus on filmmakers of color and, in particular, those from the Midwest. This award recommends general operating support to Kartemquin.


2017 • 3 years • Journalism & Media

Kartemquin Educational Films (Kartemquin, also abbreviated KTQ) is a nonprofit organization that has produced impactful, ethical, and critically acclaimed documentary films for more than 50 years. Its work is focused on mentoring emerging filmmakers, creating social justice documentaries with robust engagement campaigns, and advocating for a strong, independent public media. This grant supports Kartemquin's Filmmaker Programs, which provide holistic support to nonfiction filmmakers at all stages of their careers, with a particular focus on supporting those based in the regional Midwest. MacArthur support enables Kartemquin to cover staff costs and expenses associated with running these programs and award grants to diverse filmmakers in years two and three. The result is more filmmakers from diverse backgrounds in the regional Midwest accessing critical resources, leading to successful completion of nonfiction multimedia storytelling pieces that create deeper understanding of the important social issues of our time.


2015 • 2 years • Journalism & Media

Kartemquin Educational Films is one of the best known and most respected documentary film production houses in America. It is responsible for award-winning social issue documentary films like Hoop Dreams, Milking the Rhino, The Interrupters, and, most recently, Trials of Muhummad Ali, which won a 2015 Emmy Award. Kartemquin is a vital resource for both experienced and emerging documentarians, providing a range of editorial, technical, and audience engagement services for filmmakers as they go about making their films. As the only organization of its kind in the Midwest, filmmakers from Chicago, the Midwest, and even other parts of the country, seek out Kartemquin for advice and assistance.


2015 • 1 year • Journalism & Media

Kartemquin Educational Films is a non-profit documentary film collaborative that produces social issue documentary films, and provides mentorship and guidance to independent producers. In 2012, Kartemquin Educational Films led the founding of Indie Caucus, a national group of independent documentary filmmakers that came together to advocate collectively for independent documentary films in the public television schedule. In late 2014, WNET, the PBS station in New York City moved the two primary broadcast programs for independent documentary films, POV and Independent Lens, to its secondary channel, WLIW. This move was met with protest by the Indie Caucus, which interpreted it as part of a larger, troubling trend of marginalizing the role of these films within public broadcasting. PBS and WNET responded by organizing a three city "Listening Tour," a set of public hearings in which members of the community are invited speak about the importance of independent documentaries on public television. Following these Listening Tours, WNET will make a final decision on scheduling POV and Independent Lens in April. The Listening Tour's public hearings have taken place in San Francisco (January), and New York (February); the final stop is in Chicago on March 23.


2014 • 1 year • Journalism & Media

Kartemquin Educational Films will produce Saving Mes Aynak a documentary directed by Brent Huffman that follows a team of international archaeologists racing to excavate the ancient Afghan city of Mes Aynak before a Chinese mining company destroys it to create an open-pit copper mine. The film documents the experiences of Afghan and international archeologists, the local Afghans, mining company officials, and activists.


2013 • 1 year • Journalism & Media

Kartemquin Educational Films will produce the documentary In the Game, directed by Maria Finitzo. The film follows the members of a girls' soccer team at an under-resourced public school on the South Side of Chicago who hope to attend college. The film will portray the experiences of team members, their teachers, and community members, as the school faces budget cuts and the students deal with the challenges of poverty, family issues, and undocumented status.


2013 • 1 year • Journalism & Media

Raising Bertie is a documentary film that examines the struggles of a technology-focused alternative high school in rural North Carolina founded by a local citizen, activist, and parent. The film follows the stories of three students in the school's inaugural class over four years. Raising Bertie takes a close look at the challenges of preparing rural youth living in poverty to participate in the 21st Century economy when they are dealing with multiple social and emotional factors that inhibit their ability to succeed. A MacArthur grant will support costs associated with production and post-production.


2013 • 1 year • Journalism & Media

Cooked is a documentary by Judith Helfand and Kartemquin Educational Films that explores how and why communities in poverty are the most vulnerable in disaster situations. The film begins with the 1995 Chicago heat wave, when over 700 people died from heat-related causes, and travels around the United States to look at the emerging growth industry of disaster preparedness. It features individuals and organizations in Chicago working to understand and address the core causes of poverty and isolation to create more resilient and healthy communities.


2010 • 1 year • Journalism & Media

In support of a documentary film,"American Arab" .


2010 • 1 year • Journalism & Media

To produce"The Interrupters" , a documentary film about breaking the cycle of violence in urban America.


2008 • 1 year • Journalism & Media

In support of outreach activities, including an opening reception and U.S. premiere of the documentary film, "Milking the Rhino."


2008 • 1 year

In support of three short films on MacArthur topics.


2008 • 1 year

In support of three short films on MacArthur topics.


2007 • 1 year

In support of three short films on MacArthur topics.


2007 • 1 year • MacArthur Award for Creative & Effective Institutions

In support of leadership succession and capacity building activities.


2005 • 2 years • Journalism & Media

In support of a film about community-based conservation efforts in Africa.


2003 • 1 year • Journalism & Media

In support of "Habits of the Heart", a documentary film about embryonic stem cell research.


2002 • 11 months • Journalism & Media

For "The New Americans," a documentary series for public television.


1999 • 1 year • Journalism & Media

To research and develop a documentary on the current state of the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals.


1997 • 1 year • Journalism & Media

To support a documentary series on immigration.


1995 • 1 year • Journalism & Media

To support "Sweet Dreams, America," a documentary film about community economic development and labor reform in Chicago's candy industry (over two years).


1993 • 1 year • Journalism & Media

To support educational outreach and promotion for the film "Hoop Dreams."


1992 • 1 year • Journalism & Media

To develop a weekly public television series about grassroots organizations.
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