Maggie Bowman

Series Producer

Maggie Bowman is a documentary film producer and director based in Chicago. She produced Election Day, a cinéma vérité documentary that follows a dozen American voters simultaneously on a single election day on November 2, 2004. The film premiered at SxSW and was broadcast nationally on the PBS’ POV (2008). She directed the Catholic stories for The Calling, a 4-hour series for PBS' Independent Lens (2010) that follows Americans entering the clergy in four different faiths over the course of a year. She served as a field producer for The Good Mother for ARTE France (2009), and associate-produced Unfinished Country, a film about Haiti's 2006 presidential elections for PBS’ Wide Angle. Bowman has produced for the Brian Lehrer Show, a public affairs talk show on New York Public Radio; she line-produced the documentary short Dimmer, about a group of blind teenagers in Buffalo, NY (Sundance 2005); and does production work in film and television and for corporate and non-profit clients. Prior to her work in film, Bowman was a union organizer and consultant for five years, working on campaigns with taxi drivers in the Bronx, nurses in Iowa, and home health aides in Brooklyn, among others.


Liz Kaar

Series Editor / Co-Director

Liz Kaar is an independent documentary filmmaker working in Chicago and Latin America. She edited Kartemquin Films’ feature-length documentaries Typeface and In the Game (2015 release) as well as a slew of shorts, demos and trailers for the company. Liz has also produced and directed non-profit videos for the Illinois Department of Public Health, Center for Disease Control and Prevention and The Newberry Library. Most recently she edited and associate produced the feature-length music documentary Andrew Bird: Fever Year and On Beauty. Liz was also Director of Post-Production at Kartemquin Films from 2008-2012, managing the department and ushering in the brave new world of card-based media.


David E. Simpson

Series Editor / Co-Director

David E. Simpson is a producer, director and editor who has crafted award-winning documentaries for over twenty years. David’s pioneering film about disability culture, When Billy Broke His Head... garnered scores of international awards, including a jury prize at Sundance and a DuPont-Columbia Baton for journalistic excellence. His critically acclaimed Refrigerator Mothers, about how doctors once attributed autism to “cold mothering,” aired nationally on public television’s POV. David’s Milking the Rhino, about community-based conservation in Africa, aired on PBS’ Independent Lens and screened at dozens of festivals on six continents. David’s editing credits on long-form documentaries are extensive. They include: Life Itself (about Roger Ebert) and Head Games – both directed by Steve James; Kartemquin Films’ A Good Man (about dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones); and Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita. David also edited Forgiving Dr. Mengele (special Jury Prize, Slamdance); Shtetl (grand prix, Cinema due Reel); the critically-praised Kartemquin/PBS series The New Americans; and programs for the BBC, PBS’ Frontline and NOVA, and TV Asahi-Japan.


Katy Chevigny

Director, Jose & Elizabeth Story

Katy Chevigny is an award-winning filmmaker and partner at Big Mouth Productions. She has produced a dozen feature-length documentaries as well as short form films, videos and webisodes for nonprofit and corporate clients. Her documentaries include Election Day (2007), which premiered at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival, with a PBS broadcast in 2008. With Kirsten Johnson, she co-directed Deadline, an investigation into Illinois Governor George Ryan’s commutation of death sentences. After premiering at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, Deadline was broadcast on NBC; nominated for an Emmy; and won the Thurgood Marshall Journalism Award. Katy is also a vocal public advocate for fair use of copyrighted material in documentaries. Other producing credits include Arctic Son, Innocent Until Proven Guilty, Nuyorican Dream, Brother Born Again, Outside Looking In: Transracial Adoption in America, Pushing the Elephant and 1971. Her films have been shown theatrically, on HBO, Cinemax, POV, Independent Lens, NBC, Arte/ZDF, Britain’s Channel 4 and have played at film festivals around the world including Sundance, Tribeca, Full Frame, SXSW, IDFA, Sheffield and Berlin. Most recently, she co-directed ETEAM with Ross Kauffman, which won the award for Best Cinematography at Sundance in 2014.


Maria Finitzo

Director, DJ & Takita Story

Maria Finitzo is a two-time Peabody award-winning social issue documentary filmmaker with over 26 years as a Producer/Director. Her films have won every major broadcast award and been screened in festivals and theaters around the world. Maria’s production credits include 5 Girls, a coming of age story that reveals the resilience of adolescent girls; Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita, about a physician determined to heal his daughter after a tragic accident; With No Direction Home, a young man alone in the world trying to find his way; In the Game about a high school soccer coach committed to teaching Hispanic girls about winning in life; and Living Revolution, a community deep in the Amazon navigating the rocky shoals of hope and despair in a country in political transition. Maria’s films have tackled a variety of subjects—from the controversial science of stem cell research to the command and control of nuclear weapons to the psychology of adolescent girls. She is a long-time associate of Kartemquin Films.


Ruth Leitman

Director, Emilia Story

Through her company Ruthless Films, Ruth Leitman has directed six feature length documentaries. Her Southern Gothic film Alma (1998) won the Documentary Feature Jury Prize at Hamptons Film Festival, screened at IDFA, SWSW, DGA and Whitney Biennial. Premiering at Tribeca Film Festival and Hot Docs, her film Lipstick & Dynamite (2005) won the Documentary Storytelling Prize at Nantucket Film Festival; was released theatrically; and was broadcast on Showtime. Lipstick was featured on Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien and NPR’s Fresh Air and Morning Edition. Leitman wrote Fordson, which has garnered numerous festival awards. Most recently, Tony & Janina’s American Wedding (2010), an immigration story, premiered at Chicago International Film Festival winning a Jury Prize. Leitman’s first documentary Wildwood, NJ (1994) became a YouTube viral hit with over a million views and a symbol of ‘90’s zeitgeist girl culture used in pop culture media from the fashion runways of Milan to music videos of Lana Del Rey. Leitman is currently in development on a 1950’s fiction feature film, The Pin-Down Girl, about the pioneers of women’s wrestling. She is on the faculty of Columbia College Chicago.


Brad Lichtenstein

Director, Percy & Beverly Story

Brad Lichtenstein is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and the President of 371 Productions, a Milwaukee-based media company creating projects for the common good. His recent film As Goes Janesville, a co-production with Kartemquin Films, was nominated for an Emmy and premiered on PBS’ Independent Lens. Penelope, his documentary about a theater group and nursing home residents performing Homer’s Odyssey, will be broadcast on public television in 2015. 371 Productions is also producing Last Jews of America about Jews trying to maintain a spiritual and religious life in small Jewish communities that are near extinction. Precious Lives, a 2-year weekly radio series and engagement project about youth and gun violence, launched in early 2015. Brad is working with Faculty Creative to develop the 2.0 version of BizVizz, a corporate accountability mobile app. His DuPont Award winning film Ghosts of Attica (2001) was the centerpiece of a remembrance of Attica (2011). Wisconsin’s Mining Standoff, 371’s investigative doc for Al Jazeera America’s Fault Lines, premiered in 2014. Brad’s career spans 22 years working on films for PBS series like Frontline and Now with Bill Moyers as well as cable channels like Discovery. He taught documentary production at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where he founded doc|UWM, a documentary film center providing students with professional documentary experiences.


Joanna Rudnick

Director, Hilton & Diana Story

Joanna Rudnick has produced and directed several social-issue and arts and culture documentaries for national and international broadcast. She has had long tenures at both Kartemquin Films and the American Masters series for PBS. Her directorial debut In the Family, an Emmy-nominated feature length film about her own experience living with a predisposition for hereditary cancer, was broadcast on PBS’ POV in 2008. Most recently, Joanna produced Crossfire Hurricane, a film celebrating the Rolling Stones’ 50 years of making music history, broadcast on HBO in 2012. Earlier in her career, Joanna produced an Emmy-award winning film, Robert Capa in Love and War for the American Masters series that premiered at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival and was broadcast on PBS and the BBC. Joanna earned her MA in Science and Environmental Journalism from NYU and holds a BA in English from Northwestern University.


Steve James

Executive Producer

Steve James produced and directed Hoop Dreams, winner of every major critics prize including a Peabody and Robert F. Kennedy Award. Other films include Stevie, which won IDFA’s grand jury prize; the acclaimed miniseries The New Americans; Tribeca Grand Prize winner The War Tapes, which James produced and edited; At the Death House Door, which won numerous festival awards; No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson for ESPN’s Peabody winning “30 for 30” series; and The Interrupters, which won an Emmy, Independent Spirit Award and the duPont Journalism Award among numerous others. James’ most recent documentary on the life and career of critic Roger Ebert, Life Itself, premiered to great acclaim at the 2014 Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals and is currently in wide theatrical release.


Justine Nagan

Executive Producer

Justine Nagan has led Kartemquin Films as Executive Director since 2008, building strategic vision and daily operations while serving as Executive Producer on all new Kartemquin films. She directed Typeface (2009) and was Associate Producer on the Peabody award-winning Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita (2007). In 2013 she was selected as one of Crain’s Chicago Business “40 under 40” and as one of 50 “Exceptional Leaders” by National Arts Strategies.


Gordon Quinn

Executive Producer

Artistic Director and founder of Kartemquin Films, a 2007 recipient of the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, Gordon Quinn’s 50 years of award-winning documentaries include Home for Life; The Chicago Maternity Center Story; Taylor Chain; The Last Pullman Car; Golub; Hoop DreamsVietnam, Long Time Coming; Stevie; and The New Americans. Other Executive Producer credits include 5 Girls; In the Family; Typeface; Milking the Rhino; At the Death House Door; and No Crossover: The Trial of Alan Iverson. More recently, he directed Prisoner of Her Past and A Good Man (about Bill T. Jones) for American Masters; and Executive Produced The Interrupters for PBS Frontline and The Trials of Muhammad Ali and As Goes Janesville for Independent Lens. Currently, he is Executive Producer on Kartemquin’s American Arab, In the Game, The Homestretch, Almost There, On Beauty, Life Itself for CNN and the 6-part series Hard Earned for Al Jazeera America. As a longtime activist for public and community media, Gordon has served on the boards of the Illinois Humanities Council, CAN-TV, The Public Square, and the Illinois Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He was a lead documentarian in petitioning for an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998 and in creating the Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use. He frequently speaks to the media, legal and educational communities about Fair Use and about documentary ethics.


Mary Morrissette

Co-Producer

Mary Morrissette is a Chicago-based producer who, most recently, was the Producer for In the Game, a Kartemquin film following a high school soccer coach teaching girls about winning in life and the determination of three Hispanic girls in their quest for a higher education (2015). Previously Mary was Associate Producer for The Trials of Muhammad Ali, another Kartemquin film that premiered at Tribeca Film Festival (2013) and was broadcast on PBS’ Independent Lens (2014). Mary was also Associate Producer for Make No Little Plans: Daniel Burnham and the American City that was broadcast nationally on PBS in 2010 with two major outdoor public premieres—on the National Mall in Washington DC and in Millennium Park in Chicago.


Elizabeth Stanton

Co-Producer

Elizabeth Stanton is a journalist who works in the fields of print, documentary,and multimedia journalism. Her written work has appeared in the New York Times, the Tico Times, the International Herald Tribune, and the Chicago Tribune. She has worked on production projects throughout the U.S. and Central/South America for various outlets, including PBS, the History Channel, and the U.S. State Department. She recently produced a short film about the minimum wage with director Steve James as part of the We the Economy film series. She is also the founder of the Through Her Eyes Project, a multimedia project comprised of large-scale photographs and short form videos that capture and showcase the stories of girls and women in the developing world who play sports.


Hillary Bachelder

Associate Editor/Post-Production Supervisor

Hillary Bachelder is the Post-Production Manager at Kartemquin Films, where she establishes and maintains the technical workflows for current documentaries, facilitates the use of Kartemquin's 50-year-old archives, and edits. Previously, she was the Post-Production Coordinator for the award-winning The Trials of Muhammad Ali, which premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival and was broadcast on PBS' Independent Lens in 2014. Hillary's own film, Embodies, was a recipient of Chicago Filmmakers Digital Media Production grant and premiered at the Big Sky Film Festival in 2014.


Norman Arnold

Composer

Norman Arnold has composed and produced music for some of the highest-rated programs on television. He has also created music and themes for several award-winning documentary films that address our Nation’s most important issues including: The War Tapes; Ask Not; The New Americans; Beyond Conception; and Big Joy. Television programs include The Ellen DeGeneres Show; Anderson Cooper Live; CNN New Day; The Bachelor; National Geographic Presents; and Modern Marvels. Norman has created music for Warner Bros., Disney, ABC, NBC Universal, CNN, Turner, PBS, The Discovery Channel and National Geographic network with subjects ranging from immigration, the Iraq War, low-income workers and the Fight for 15 to increase the minimum wage, the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, and LGBT issues. Originally from Toronto, Canada, and educated in the U.S., he now resides in the Laurel Canyon neighborhood of Los Angeles with his family.


Aloe Blacc

Writer and Performer of “Something to Believe In”
(Hard 
Earned theme song)

With “Wake Me Up”—the 2013 mega-hit he sang and co-wrote with Swedish DJ Avicii that reached #1 in 102 countries across the globe—Aloe Blacc proved himself as a singer/songwriter with an irresistible power to capture the complexities of human emotion. Nominated for a 2015 Grammy for Best R&B Album, Blacc’s third solo album “Lift Your Spirit” pushes the rapper-turned-singer further into a folk/soul/pop fusion that is both joyful and eye-opening in message. One of the artist’s main ambitions is to use his surging popularity to affect social change while continuing to infuse his music with mindful positivity. He was nominated for the 2015 NAACP Image Awards for both Outstanding New Artist and Outstanding Song for “The Man.” Previously, Blacc’s 2010’s Good Things featured his break-through hit “I Need a Dollar.” Three years after the release of his solo debut Shine Through, Blacc began work on the record that would change his life and career: Good Things, an album certified gold in the UK, France, Germany, and Australia, among other countries. Along with “I Need a Dollar” (the platinum-selling single that was selected as the theme song to HBO’s How To Make it In America); Good Things included the singles “Loving You Is Killing Me” and “Green Lights.” “What it comes down to in my songwriting is trying to tell the story of the underdog and all the obstacles they have to overcome in this life,” says Blacc of the songs that make up Lift Your Spirit and his overall body of work. Blacc has performed on Conan O’Brien Presents: Team Coco; The Today Show; The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon; The Queen Latifah Show; Jimmy Kimmel Live; 2014 Kids’ Choice Awards; The Ellen DeGeneres Show; The Voice and Dancing with the Stars; and performs in live concerts around the globe.


Elizabeth Laidlaw

Narrator

Elizabeth Laidlaw has been a professional stage, film and voice actor in Chicago and regionally for over 20 years. Onstage she appeared this past autumn as The Pilot in George Brant’s Grounded, and recently finished shooting the feature film Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party, due for release this spring. Theatre credits include work with Chicago Shakespeare, Writer’s Theatre, Court Theatre, American Repertory Theatre, Irish Classical Theatre, Congo Square, The Next Theatre, The Goodman, About Face, Steppenwolf, Lifeline, Famous Door, Pegasus Players, The Journeymen, Running With Scissors and Strawdog Theatre. Regional theatre includes Indiana Repertory Theatre, American Repertory Theatre and the Irish Classical Theatre Company. Feature films include Into the Wake, Eastern College, and Dimension. Television work includes “The Chicago Code”, “Boss”, “Betrayal”, “Crisis”, and “Chicago PD”. She received her BFA from Illinois Wesleyan University and studied Shakespeare at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She is the founder and artistic director of Lakeside Shakespeare Theatre.


KARTEMQUIN FILMS

PRODUCTION COMPANY

A collaborative center for documentary media makers who seek to foster a more engaged and empowered society, Kartemquin sparks democracy through documentary. Their films, such as The Interrupters, The Trials of Muhammad Ali, and The New Americans have left a lasting impact on millions of viewers. A revered resource within the film community on issues of fair use, ethics, story and civic discourse, Kartemquin is internationally recognized for crafting quality documentaries backed by audience and community engagement strategies, and for its innovative media arts community programs.

Their recent films include Steve James’ Life Itself; Usama Alshaibi’s American Arab; Kirsten Kelly and Anne de Mare’s The Homestretch; Joanna Rudnick’s On Beauty; Dan Rybicky and Aaron Wickenden’s Almost There; Brent Huffman’s Saving Mes Aynak; and Hard Earned, a six-hour series for Al Jazeera America that premieres on May 3rd, 2015.

Kartemquin is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. www.kartemquin.com.

 

SERIES PRODUCER
Maggie Bowman

SERIES EDITORS /
CO-DIRECTORS

Liz Kaar
David E. Simpson

DIRECTORS
Katy Chevigny
    Jose & Elizabeth story
Maria Finitzo
    DJ & Takita story
Ruth Leitman
    
Emilia story
Brad Lichtenstein
    Percy & Beverly story
Joanna Rudnick
    Hilton & Diana story

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS
Steve James
Justine Nagan
Gordon Quinn

CO-PRODUCERS
Mary Morrissette
Elizabeth Stanton

ASSOCIATE EDITOR/
POST-PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR
Hillary Bachelder

ORIGINAL MUSIC
Norman Arnold

OPENING SONG
Aloe Blacc

NARRATOR
Elizabeth Laidlaw

A SERIES BY
Kartemquin Films

 

VIEW FULL CREDITS