Studs Terkel Awards celebrate Kartemquin

Last night in Chicago, the Community Media Workshop honored Kartemquin's Gordon Quinn and Steve James with 2014 Studs Terkel Awards.

The Studs Terkel Community Media Awards honor outstanding media professionals for excellence in covering and reflecting Chicago’s diverse communities. The awards highlight communicators who take risks in covering social issues by offering new or unusual perspectives on topics of general concern, from housing to neighborhood safety and beyond. Also honored were Fred & Nikki Will Stein; Steve Bogira of The Chicago Reader; and Alejandro Escalona of Telemundo, as well as Community Media Workshop founder Thom Clark.

At the ceremony, Steve and Gordon both spoke of the impact Studs Terkel had on forming their own working methods as documentary makers, and of their commitment to telling the story of ordinary Chicagoans. Steve James noted that in his near 30-year association with Kartemquin, "this city has changed a lot, but the real history of this city is still alive in the people that live here."

Steve and Gordon have worked together at Kartemquin since the 1980s, collaborating on projects such as Hoop Dreams, Stevie, The New Americans and The Interrupters. Steve's latest project is Life itself, about the life of Roger Ebert, while Gordon is working on '63 Boycott, a transmedia project centered on the 1963 Chicago Public School Boycott.

They were introduced, via video, by the author Alex Kotlowitz, producer on The Interrupters. Alex stated that Kartemquin "has become a national treasure, a place that nurtures storytellers and storytelling." Watch his wonderful introduction below:

Alex Kotlowitz introduces Kartemquin Filmmakers from Community Media Workshop on Vimeo.