- Steve James
- Series Producer
- John Condne
- Executive Producers
- Steve James
- Justine Nagan
- Gordon Quinn
- Betsy Steinberg
- Rise Sanders-Weir
- Leslie Simmer
- David E. Simpson
- Story Producers / Cinematographers
- Bing Liu
- Rebecca Parrish
- Kevin Shaw
- Janea Smith
- Associate Producer
- Stephanie Smith
- Dana M. Kupper
- Keith Walker
- Associate Editor
- Alanna Schmelter
- Assistant Editor
- Rubin Daniels, Jr.
Steve James' affiliation with Kartemquin began in 1987 with the start of production of Hoop Dreams, for which he served as director, producer, and co-editor. He has since then become one of the most acclaimed documentary makers of his generation, with noted works being Stevie, The New Americans, The War Tapes, At the Death House Door, The Interrupters, and most recently, Life Itself.
John Condne been the film and video teacher at Oak Park and River Forest High School for twelve years. Condne received a Masters Degrees in film/video from Columbia College and in teaching & secondary education from Concordia University. Condne works with many current and former OPRF students on professional productions. He is the Producer on To Bridge the Divide.
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.
Risé Sanders-Weir has supervised production for documentaries appearing on MSNBC, PBS, History, National Geographic, CNBC, A&E, The Weather Channel and others. Her work as a writer, producer, director and supervisor has been recognized with Emmy, Hugo and Telly awards. Sanders has also received nominations for an MPSE Golden Reel and an NAACP Image Award. She is the Producer of America to Me.
Leslie Simmer is Kartemquin's Director of Editing as well as Senior Editor on staff.
David E. Simpson is an Emmy Award-winning producer, director and editor who has crafted award- winning films and television for over twenty-five years. He has worked in close association with Kartemquin Films since 1997. David’s first feature-length documentary, When Billy Broke His Head... was a groundbreaking film about disability culture that garnered major prizes at a dozen film festivals, including a jury award at Sundance and a duPont- Columbia Baton for Journalistic Excellence. David directed Refrigerator Mothers, about a generation of mothers who raised autistic children under the shadow of professionally-promoted mother-blame. The film won top honors at the Florida, Indiana, and Sedona film festivals and aired nationally on the PBS series P.O.V.
Bing moved from China to Alabama to California to Illinois before he was 8 years old. He received a B.A. in English Literature from University of Illinois at Chicago in May of 2011. Since July 2011, Bing has been a member of the International Cinematographer's Guild, working on projects including Shameless, Empire, and Chiraq to fund his documentaries.
Rebecca Parrish is a documentary director, cinematographer and editor. Her feature directorial debut, Radical Grace, was executive produced by Susan Sarandon, and premiered at 2015 Hot Docs followed by AFI Docs, garnering audience awards (Hot Docs Top 5 Audience Favorite and AFI Docs Best of Fest). Other work included the interactive web documentary and engagement campaign. Parrish graduated with honors from Wesleyan University in 2006 with a BA in American Studies. Her coursework explored the operation of race, class and sexuality in U.S. society through Critical Race Theory, Queer Theory and other modalities. Rebecca is a Story Producer / Cinematographer on America To Me.
As a director, producer, cinematographer, Kevin Shaw has produced award-winning documentaries for ESPN, PBS, the NFL Network and the Big Ten Network. In 2010, Shaw's Big Ten Network short documentary on a quadriplegic trying to regain the ability to walk won the Edward R. Murrow Award for sports reporting excellence. Shaw won a National Sports Emmy for cinematography for ESPN’s FIFA World Cup Show Opens and Teases. His most recent documentary as producer looked at the poignant relationship between megastar Shaquille O’Neal and his collegiate coach at LSU, Dale Brown. Shaq and Dale premiered on ESPN in April 2015. He is a Story Producer / Cinematographer on America to Me.
From game shows to reality shows and everything in between, Chicago native Janea Smith is a Television Producer and a Consultant who always has a new project up her sleeve. After graduating Cum Laude from Columbia College Chicago, Smith began her career as an Associate Producer on the nationally syndicated show, “The Black Enterprise Report.” Smith has worked on hit shows including, “College Hill”, “The First 48: Missing Persons”, CNN’s “Chicagoland”, and “Empire.” She has also worked for writer/director, Steve Conrad (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Pursuit of Happyness) to serve as his Production Supervisor for an IFC pilot entitled “Timms Valley.” She is a Co-Producer on To Bridge the Divide.
Stephanie Smith is a freelance producer from Oak Park, Illinois. After graduating from OPRF in 2007, she earned her BA in Telecommunications and Political Science from Indiana University. Since then she's worked at Leo Burnett as a commercial producer for national brands. Smith also volunteers as a youth group advisor at First United Church of Oak Park where she has worked closely with junior high and high school students for the past 5 years. In 2015 she shifted gears to pursue a career in education, landing her right back at OPRF where she was a substitute teacher. In her free time she's the lead singer for the Chicago band Varsity. She is the Associate Producer on To Bridge the Divide.
Dana M. Kupper as been an active member of the independent film making community in Chicago for over 25 years. She began her career at Columbia College where she majored in cinematography and photographed the regional Academy Award winning “Peas with Mom”. Shooting documentaries is her true passion. Dana has shot many Kartemquin projects over the years, starting with 5 Girls, and traveling to Mexico and Nigeria for the documentary series The New Americans. Dana was one of the Directors of Photography on Stevie, which won the Documentary Cinematography Award at The 2003 Sundance Film Festival.
Keith, co-owner and director of photography for Media Process Group, has shot hundreds of broadcast segments for shows like 60-minutes, Oprah’s Next Chapter, Dateline, and HBO Real Sports, as well as numerous award-winning documentaries for PBS, NBC and CBS. He also shot many corporate marketing and educational projects for clients like the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Gates Foundation, Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Starbucks.