Justine Nagan, Producer/Director

Justine is Kartemquin Films’ Executive Director. With Kartemquin, she recently directed Typeface, a documentary on American typography and graphic design. Formerly she worked as the organization's Director of Communications & Distribution and as the Associate Producer on Kartemquin’s Peabody-Award winning, stem cell documentary Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita, which was broadcast nationally on PBS’ Independent Lens in early 2008. Prior to these projects, she helped Kartemquin to develop the series The Learning Chronicles while earning her Master's Degree in the Humanities with an emphasis on Cinema and Media Studies from the University of Chicago. Other Chicago experience includes teaching at the Hyde Park Art Center, as well as working as a Theatre Manager at the Cadillac Palace and Thorne Auditorium for the Chicago International Film Festival and as a summer Fellow for The HistoryMakers, an African-American video oral-history archive.

Before moving to Chicago, she produced promotional spots for Public Television, directed the post-production department for a small media firm and worked for various other companies ranging from M&C Saatchi in Sydney, Australia to Michael Feldman’s Whad’Ya Know? on National Public Radio. Justine received her Bachelor's Degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 2000 in Film and Journalism. She is an active volunteer in the community for such organizations as The Glass Slipper Project, the Hyde Park Art Center and WTTW. She is currently on the Advisory Board for Midwest Independent Film Festival, has served as the staff representative on Kartemquin’s Board of Directors and as an elected member of the Badger Herald Newspaper’s Board in 1999-2000, and has acted on several other civic and community committees.

Maria Finitzo, Executive Producer

For more than 25 years, Maria Finitzo has been an award-winning filmmaker producing and directing documentary films for network television, public broadcasting, cable TV and the Internet.  Her films have tackled a variety of subjects from the controversial science of stem cell research and the hard questions surrounding the command and control of nuclear weapons to the psychology of adolescent girls, demonstrating a depth and breadth of knowledge and expertise. Ms. Finitzo’s documentaries are all supported by civic engagement strategies that are developed with local and national partners to foster understanding, change thinking, and build support for social change. Her work has been shown in community screenings, festivals and at universities throughout the world.

In 1994, she won her first George Foster Peabody Award as a Producer for The New Explorers, a PBS series profiling ground breaking scientific exploration. The series, produced by Kurtis Productions, was nominated for a national Emmy and went on to win numerous broadcast awards, including The Ohio State Award, The Chicago International Film Festival Gold Plaque and the CINE Golden Eagle Award.

In 1995, Ms. Finitzo became an associate of Kartemquin Films. As an associate of Kartemquin, she received her first production grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in 1995 to produce 5 Girls. The film was a special presentation of the PBS non- fiction series P.O.V and premiered on national public television in the fall of 2001. 5 Girls was awarded the Henry Hampton Award for Excellence from The Council on Foundations, The Silver Award from The Chicago Film & Television Competition and an award for Outstanding Achievement from the Parent's Guide to Children's Media.

In 2002, she began work on her second documentary produced in collaboration with Kartemquin Films. Production began on Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita with a significant production grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Completed in 2007, Terra Incognita was screened in competition at many festivals including: The International Documentary Film Festival – Amsterdam (IDFA), The Chicago International Film Festival, The New Zealand International Film Festival, The Council on Foundations Film Festival, The 3rd Intl. Science Film Festival – Greece, The Kos International Film Festival, and the Coruna Science Festival and Mostra de Ciencia e Cinema – Spain. Terra Incognita was awarded, the Chicago Hugo Award by The Chicago International Film Festival, an Honorable Mention at DOCNZ, New Zealand’s International Documentary Film Festival, two 2nd place jury awards at Mostra de Ciencia e Cinema in Spain, Best Feature Documentary from the Kos International Film Festival and the 2008 George Foster Peabody Award for Broadcast Excellence. The film was broadcast nationally in January of 2008 as part of the Independent Lens series on PBS.   Chosen by the Independent Television Service to be a part of their Community Cinema Program, the film was shown theatrically in more than 70 different markets.  Terra Incognita has also been broadcast in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Israel, Spain and Sweden.

In 2007, she was selected by Sundance Institute to be a 2007 Sundance Documentary Fellow for the 2007 Independent Sundance Producer’s Conference. Most recently, she received an Illinois Humanities Council grant and an Illinois Arts Council grant to begin work on her next documentary film, Invisible Seasons.

As an Associate of Kartemquin Films, Maria has mentored emerging filmmakers, supported student learning through our robust internship program and engaged the public in the range of issues her films address through the national outreach campaigns that accompany them. Each of her films produced in collaboration with Kartemquin Films has been the centerpiece for major symposiums. They are used by universities across the country as teaching tools and have been the focus of targeted community screenings both nationally and internationally. As a board member of Kartemquin Films, she provides institutional leadership, ensuring the longevity of the organization and the fulfillment of its mission to develop documentary film as a vehicle to deepen our understanding of society through everyday human drama.

Three years ago, she returned to graduate school to further her education as a filmmaker, and educator. In June of 2008, she was awarded an MFA from Northwestern University in Writing for the Stage and Screen. Life Lessons will be her first fiction film from her original screenplay.

Gordon Quinn, Executive Producer

Artistic Director and founding member of Kartemquin Films, Gordon Quinn has been making documentaries for over 40 years. Roger Ebert, of the Chicago Sun Times, called his first film Home for Life (1966) "an extraordinarily moving documentary." With Home for Life Gordon established the direction he would take for the next four decades, making cinéma vérité films that investigate and critique society by documenting the unfolding lives of real people.

At Kartemquin, Gordon created a legacy that is an inspiration for young filmmakers and a home where they can make high-quality, social-issue documentaries. Kartemquin’s best known film, Hoop Dreams (1994), executive produced by Gordon, was released theatrically to unprecedented critical acclaim. The film follows two inner-city high school basketball players for five years as they pursue their NBA dreams. Its many honors include: the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, The Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, Chicago Film Critics Award – Best Picture, Los Angeles Film Critics Association – Best Documentary and an Academy Award Nomination.

Other films Gordon has made include Vietnam, Long Time Coming, Golub, 5 Girls, Refrigerator Mothers and Stevie.  Gordon executive produced Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita and The New Americans (he also directed the Palestinian segment of this award winning, intimate, seven-hour series). Recently he produced a film that deals with the human consequences genetic medicine, In The Family, and executive produced two films, one about community based conservation in Africa, Milking the Rhino, and At The Death House Door on a wrongful execution in Texas.  In the role of director, he recently completed Prisoner of Her Past, about a Holocaust survivor suffering from late-onset post-traumatic stress disorder, and he is currently working on A Good Man about the dancer Bill T. Jones.

Gordon is a supporter of public and community media, and has served on the boards of several organizations including The Illinois Humanities Council, The Chicago Public Access Corporation, and The Public Square Advisory Committee, The Illinois Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. A key leader in creating the Documentary Filmmakers Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use, Gordon encourages filmmakers to educate themselves on the tenets of the fair use doctrine, frequently speaking to the media, legal, and educational communities about this fundamental right.

Thomas Bailey, Director of Cinematography

Thomas Bailey is an independent filmmaker, teacher and community activist in Chicago, where he works with urban youth as the lead artist/video instructor for Community TV Network. Thomas also writes, produces, and photographs both narrative and documentary videos for Talking Walls Productions. He completed his graduate studies at the University of Chicago, where his thesis project, a documentary entitled “Namesake,” won the Catherine Ham Memorial Award for Excellent Creative Work.

Elizabeth Kaar, Editor

After Liz Kaar graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2005, she moved to Chicago and began her relationship with Kartemquin Films. At Kartemquin she learned the power of documentary film to convey meaningful ideas to the world, and how to go about sculpting them in the editing room. She is currently editing Kartemquin’s work-in-progress, Typeface, as well as acting as the assistant editor on two Kartemquin projects, In The Family, and Milking the Rhino. Recent projects also include assistant editing Kartemquin’s Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita and working as one of the producers for Kartemquin’s recent DVD releases including, Home for Life and Vietnam Long Time Coming. She also does freelance assistant editing and editing around Chicago.

Starr Marcello, Associate Producer

Starr Marcello has been a freelance film writer for several years, contributing most recently to the Encyclopedia of Documentary Film (Routledge, 2005), and the Journal of Film and Television (her article “Performance Design: An Analysis of Film Acting and Sound Design” will appear in the Spring/Summer 2006 forthcoming issue). She has worked as a grantwriter and editor for the Chicago Film Archives and is an annual filmmaking and screenwriting judge at the NYC Midnight Movie Making Maddness film competition in New York City. She received her BA in Film Studies from Wesleyan University and her MA in Cinema and Media Studies from the University of Chicago.

Brendan Kredell, Researcher/Photographer

Brendan Kredell has called Chicago home since 2003, and is currently pursuing his PhD. at Northwestern University. He earned his master’s degree in film studies (from the University of Chicago, 2004) and directed his first feature (You Made Me Love You, forthcoming). His photography has appeared in Smithsonian and has been recognized by the Washington Post Foundation. He currently teaches film studies at Harold Washington College and works as a programmer and researcher at the Chicago Historical Society.

Zak Piper, Sound Design

Zak is Kartemquin Films' Director of Production and has been on staff at Kartemquin since 2002. Most recently he served as Co-Producer on At the Death House Door. That film premiered at the 2008 SXSW Film Festival and went on to win awards at the Atlanta Film Festival, the Full Frame Documentary Festival, DOC NZ, and Doc Aviv.  It was a finalist for the Human Rights award at IDFA in 2008 and was officially short-listed in the Best Documentary category for the 81st Annual Academy Awards.

Currently, Zak is co-producing The Interrupters with Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz, an ITVS-funded project that will air as part of the Frontline series in 2011.  Zak is also the Associate Producer of Prisoner of Her Past, Kartemquin’s co-production with The Chicago Tribune, that will be released in the spring of 2010.

Zak served as the Location Sound Recordist for At The Death House Door, In the Family, Prisoner of Her Past, and Typeface. Previously, he has acted as sound recordist on a variety of documentaries for the CBC, Channel 4, and PBS.

Zak began at Kartemquin by serving as Post Production Manager and Audio Mixer on the acclaimed PBS documentary mini-series, The New Americans.  He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Columbia College Chicago in 2001 in Film and Video.

Ian Kibbe, Outreach Coordinator

Since coming aboard in his role as Typeface Outreach Coordinator, Ian Kibbe as been fortunate to meet and collaborate with great designers, type enthusiasts and creators from across the world. Ian started at Kartemquin Films in 2010 after finishing their internship program in 2009. Prior to working at Kartemquin, Ian worked as a writer, producer and editor for blogs and media outlets across the country ranging from the health to the entertainment industries. His work has appeared on CNN, G4, The Health Care Blog and the Huffington Post. In his free time he works as a freelance editor, producer and videographer and plays in a local Chicago disco rock band. Ian earned his BA in Communications from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, and spent a year after graduating wandering around Latin America working and volunteering.

Kartemquin Films, Production Company

Kartemquin Films, a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit, has been producing high-impact documentary films on a variety of subjects from its Chicago studio for the past 40 years. Kartemquin is a home for independent filmmakers developing documentary as a vehicle to deepen our understanding of society through everyday human drama. With five films currently in production, Kartemquin continues to act as a trusted bridge between communities and the media, to foster the growth of passionate new filmmaking voices, and to advocate for the importance of strong local and public media. Kartemquin’s films have won prizes at festivals throughout the world and have been broadcast nationally and internationally to critical acclaim. Our best-known film, Hoop Dreams, won nearly every major critics award and journalism prize in 1995. Kartemquin¹s most ambitious project, the seven-hour series The New Americans, enjoyed extraordinary reception from both American and international critics as well as the prestigious International Documentary Association Best Limited Series Award in 2004. With a record number of films currently in development and production, Kartemquin is poised to continue this legacy for years to come. Additionally, Kartemquin was one of eight international recipients of the 2007 MacArthur Awards for Creative and Effective Institutions.

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