Kartemquin Fosters Social Change by Promoting the Careers of Emerging, Diverse Filmmakers

June 10, 2016

Celebrating its 50-year anniversary, Kartemquin is a collaborative center in Chicago for documentary media makers who seek to foster a more engaged and empowered society. Its filmmaker development work focuses on three flagship programs: Diverse Voices in Docs (DVID), the Kartemquin Internship program and the KTQ Labs Feedback Screening program. DVID provides advanced training to 12 mid-career filmmakers of color annually. Kartemquin’s internship provides a semester-long program for 18 aspiring documentary filmmakers per year. KTQ Labs is a free program where filmmakers present their demos and rough cuts to the organization’s community in return for constructive critique. Thanks to support from Voqal, these initiatives expanded the opportunities for a diverse set of filmmakers to broaden the scope and potential of social change media.

All three of these programs are making a real impact. DVID graduated 12 fellows in October who completed demos and learned fundraising strategies, pitching skills and production techniques. Meanwhile, 18 Kartemquin interns were provided with hands-on, social change filmmaking experience in order to help them develop a career in the documentary and nonprofit arts. In addition, important strides were made in cultivating a collaborative community of filmmakers and activists through the creation of an alumni community of interns. Finally, KTQ Labs helped develop quality social issue documentary films on a national scale by providing feedback on 12 films throughout the year. The accomplishments of these three projects provided a great deal of support for underrepresented filmmakers.

Kartemquin’s efforts will help participants create films that address unique, under-examined issues with new perspectives. Their voices are pivotal parts of our society and need to be heard. These filmmakers are now part of a network of mentorship and support that will exponentially grow in the coming years and establish a foundation for long-term careers in documentary making. Voqal is a proud supporter of media that seeks to create lasting social change and looks forward to both the continued work of Kartemquin in this area and the success of the filmmakers it supports in Chicago and nationwide.