For over 40 years, Peter Kuttner has worked in mainstream and alternative media. He began his career in 1965 working for WTTW, Chicago's Public Television station. There he was introduced to the cinema-verité style of documentary filmmaking by a visiting BBC crew. In the later 60's as he became politically active, he joined Newsreel, a documentary collective working with the Peace, Black Power, and Women’s Movements.
His work with films for social change led him to Kartemquin in 1972. He has been involved in several Kartemquin projects, including Trick Bag, Now We Live on Clifton, and UE/Wells, which all detail the complex issues faced by the working class. His films have appeared in festivals and screenings around the world. More recently, he collaborated on End of the Nightstick, a documentary chronicling a community’s successful campaign to end police brutality. This PBS P.O.V. broadcast won the Silver Hugo in the Chicago International Film Festival, and was nominated for a Peabody Award. Because the film discusses coerced confessions of innocents through torture, it is currently being shown widely by anti-death penalty and human rights groups.
In addition to his documentary work, Kuttner has worked with several community organizing projects As a founding member of Rising Up Angry, an organization of working class youth he wrote movie reviews for their newspaper and helped organize their citywide free legal clinic. He's taught media literacy and filmmaking for Upward Bound, a program for potential college students from low-income neighborhoods. He has served on the boards of the Community TV Network and Community Film Workshop, longtime Chicago youth media projects. He has lectured and run skill-sharing workshops at high school and college levels as well as for industry professionals.
Kuttner also works as a camera technician on feature films, including Ordinary People, Risky Business, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Groundhog Day, Barbershop and The Dark Knight. His work as a camera technician led to his involvement in the trade union movement. A 30 year member of IATSE, representing workers in the motion picture industry he is an elected representative to the governing board of Local 600 representing 6000 camera technicians nationally.
Films by Peter Kuttner
The People of Kartemquin
With a noted tradition of nurturing emerging talent and acting as a leading voice for independent media, Kartemquin is building on more than 45 years of history as Chicago’s documentary powerhouse.
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