Artistic Director and founding member of Kartemquin Films, Gordon Quinn has been making documentaries for over 45 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 co-directed the 2011 release 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, Chicago Access Network Television, 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.
When you make a contribution to Kartemquin, you enable us to continue telling the stories of the people whose lives are most directly affected by social and political change and who are often overlooked or misrepresented by the media. Thanks to your crucial support, for over 45 years our films have helped to provoke essential dialogue, both in communities and between the general public and policymakers.