Zak is an independent Producer, Director, and Sound Recordist who, until 2013, served as Kartemquin's Director of Production and was on staff for more than 10 years. Most recently he co-produced the critically acclaimed film The Interrupters, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. The film screened at dozens of film festivals around the world, collecting two Best Documentary Awards and two Audience Awards along the way in addition to Special Jury Awards at the 2011 Sheffield Documentary Festival and 2011 Full Frame Documentary Festival. In the summer of 2011, The Interrupters was released theatrically in more than 100 North American cities and dozens of cities in the UK, culminating in television broadcasts on PBS Frontline, BBC Storyville, Canal Plus, and the CBC. The film received a 2012 Spirit Award for Best Documentary, was honored by the Cinema Eye Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Non-Fiction Filmmaking and was awarded Best Documentary by the Chicago Film Critics Association. The New Yorker, Chicago Tribune, Entertainment Weekly, and LA Times all hailed The Interrupters as one of the year’s best films. The film was also the recipient of a 2013 duPont-Columbia Journalism Award.
Currently, Zak is producing Life Itself, a film based in large part on renowned film critic Roger Ebert’s acclaimed memoir of the same name. In January 2013, CNN Films acquired the US broadcast rights for Life Itself.
Zak is also producing 63 Boycott, a film that chronicles the Chicago School boycott of 1963 when more than 200,000 Chicagoans marched to protest the segregationist policies of CPS. The film will provide a modern perspective on the impact and legacy of this forgotten history 50 years later as it reconnects the participants to each other and the event itself.
Previously, Zak was Co-Producer of At the Death House Door, which 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.
Zak was also the Associate Producer of Prisoner of Her Past, Kartemquin’s co-production with The Chicago Tribune, which broadcast nationally on PBS in 2011.
Zak served as the Location Sound Recordist for The Interrupters, At The Death House Door, In the Family, Prisoner of Her Past, Typeface, and Burning Ice. Previously, he has acted as location sound recordist on a variety of documentaries for PBS, Channel 4, the CBC, and La Chaîne Parlementaire.