Judith Helfand is best known for her ability to take the dark and cynical worlds of chemical exposure, heedless corporate behavior and environmental injustice and them personal, resonant, and even entertaining. Her award-winning films, three of which had world premieres at Sundance, were all nationally broadcast on PBS, HBO, and The Sundance Channel and were linked to rigorous engagement. They include: The Uprising of ’34 (co-directed with veteran George Stoney), Blue Vinyl, and Everything’s Cool (co-directed with Daniel B. Gold), and the Peabody Award-winning A Healthy Baby Girl. An educated and committed field-builder, Judith also co-founded Working Films. She is currently in post-production on Cooked, a feature documentary about extreme heat, the politics of disaster, and survival by zip code. She serves on the board of Great Small Works and The Lower East Side Girls Club.
Fenell Doremus has worked in documentary film since graduating from the University of Wisconsin with a BA in Sociology. She began her career as an Assistant Editor on the award-winning Hoop Dreams. She went on to serve as staff Producer at Kartemquin Films for the next eight years. While at Kartmequin, Doremus was Segment Producer and a Segment Editor (Palestinian story) of The New Americans. Hailed as "Totally engrossing...filled with many unexpected riches..." by The New York Times, the series was nationally broadcast on PBS in 2004 and won multiple awards at festivals worldwide.
David E. Simpson is a highly-awarded filmmaker who brings to his projects a collaborative spirit, proven storytelling chops and formidable attention to detail. Films he has produced, directed or edited have garnered two Emmys, two DuPont-Columbia batons, a pair of Peabody awards, an Oscar nomination, a Sundance jury prize and best in category at countless festivals. He has worked in close association with Kartemquin Films since 1997.
Since 2008, Justine has led Kartemquin Films as our Executive Director as well as being an Executive Producer on each new film. She is responsible, in concert with the Board of Directors, for creating and implementing the strategic vision for Kartemquin. Justine successfully transitioned to the ED role in a historic founder-led organization, and has made major strides in building a foundation for long-term sustainability.
Artistic Director and founding member of Kartemquin Films, Gordon Quinn has been making documentaries for over 50 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.
Executive Director Betsy Steinberg joined Kartemquin in December 2015 and oversees daily operations, development, and serves as Executive Producer on Kartemquin projects. Prior to Kartemquin she spent eight years as Managing Director of the Illinois Film Office where she she spearheaded Illinois’ transformation into a world class film destination. She was instrumental in the passage of the Illinois film tax credit and implemented an overall business development strategy resulting in over $1 billion in direct economic impact. During her tenure the state broke all local film industry revenues in 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2013 and the Illinois Film Office was recognized by the Illinois Arts Alliance with an Arts Advocate Award and Cinema Chicago's Golden Hugo. She also served on the Governor's Roundtable on the Creative Arts and the boards of Free Spirit Media, Chicago Media Project and the Midwest Independent Film Festival.