Kartemquin Night Brings Happiness to Millennium Park

"This project must have been blessed. Everything just fell into place,” stated Founder and Artistic Director Gordon Quinn during his discussion before the screening of Inquiring Nuns (1968) on July 26th. The same could have been said for the night, as over one thousand KTQ fans and film fans came together on a beautiful Tuesday night to celebrate “Kartemquin Night at Millennium Park” as part of our 50th Anniversary.

The evening began with a discussion about filmmaking and Chicago’s history and present social issues with Quinn and Jacqueline Stewart (University of Chicago's Professor in Cinema and Media Studies and the interim director (2015-16) of the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry) interviewed by journalist Ray Pride (Newcity’s Film Editor). Pride remarked upon how difficult it would be to make the same film - in which two nuns roam Chicago streets asking people, “Are you happy?” - in today’s irony-filled, media-saturated culture. Quinn spoke about the film’s technique of allowing the subjects to speak their response in full, rather than editing by “issue,” and of capturing the differing feel of each location (“Our films don't have a set look or style, but one thing that is important in all our films is a sense of place,” he explained), while Stewart noted the high representation of African American subjects in the film compared to other documentaries and fictional films of that era.

Quinn also showcased a clip of his forthcoming film and web project ‘63 Boycott, which uses original archival footage of 200,000 Chicagoans protesting racial segregation in 1963 to encourage discussion of the past and present of the city's struggles around racial equality and the education system.

Inquiring Nuns is one of KTQ’s most beloved films, and the press agrees, as evidenced by the numerous media members clamoring to speak to Quinn and the nuns themselves. Below is a taste of how excited people were for Kartemquin Night at Millennium Park:

Gordon Quinn chatted with Richard Roeper at Fox 32 Chicago about the screening.

Matt Fangerhorn caught up with the stars of the film, Kathleen Reinmuth and Cathy Rock, on RogerEbert.com.

J.R. Jones looked at the movie through the present day's lens at the Chicago Reader.

Gordon Quinn spoke with Michael Phillips at the Chicago Tribune about the power and simplicity of the question, "Are You Happy?"

Inquiring Nuns can next be seen on Saturday, August 20, 2:00 pm as part of our 50th Anniversary retrospectives at New York at Museum of Moving Image, and on September 25, 2016, 7:00 pm as part of our 50th Anniversary retrospective in Los Angeles at the Billy Wilder Theater, presented by the UCLA Film & Television Archive and the International Documentary Association.