By Ray Pride

Applications now open for second year of Kartemquin / Community Film Workshop mentorship program for filmmakers of colo

Chicago, IL – The first class of graduating fellows from Diverse Voices in Docs, a professional development and mentorship program for documentary makers of color, will be celebrated at a free, public event at the University of Chicago’s Logan Center at 6:30-9:30pm on October 30th.

Host Robin Robinson (FOX 32) will present a screening of clips from Fellows’ works-in-progress created with the support of Diverse Voices in Docs, a collaboration between veteran film institutions the Community Film Workshop of Chicago and Kartemquin Films (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters, The Trials of Muhammad Ali).

 Diverse Voices in Docs enrolled its first class of 18 documentary makers in January 2013. The filmmakers received 6 months of project development and consulting on their individual documentary films from Kartemquin producers and special guests, and continue to receive ongoing advice.

The October 30 celebration will also serve as the launch for applications to the 2014 program, as well as a networking and information-gathering event for veteran and emerging Chicago filmmakers.

“We encourage any local filmmaker to attend and recognize that they can be a part of this vibrant Chicago production community,” said Justine Nagan, Kartemquin’s Executive Director. “The 2013 class has shown us that there is exceptional, undiscovered documentary talent among midwest filmmakers of color. We’re aiming to build long-term collaborations, and increase funding and distribution opportunities for all.”

The link to RSVP to the event, and apply for 2014, can be found at

The 2013 graduating class are Camille S. DeBose; Darryl Pitts; Derek Grace; Grantlin Banks; Heather Charles; Jesus Mario Contreras; Jonathan Ashley Amsterd; Junko Kajino; Kelly Pope; Pamela Sherrod Anderson; Philister Sidigu; Raymond Lambert; Ronnie Reese; Shahari Moore; Shuling Yong; Tony Williams; Tracey Scruggs Yearwood; and Zia Nizami.

Funding for the inaugural year was provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) and Joyce Foundation, with in-kind support from KatLei Productions. For 2014, the AMPAS increased their funding after seeing the program’s success, and new funding has come from the Sage Foundation. Other grants are pending.

At the core of the Diverse Voices in Docs program are six intensive three-hour workshops held monthly at the Community Film Workshop, with creative advice provided by Kartemquin Films’ world-class staff and associates. Each session provides practical skill-enrichment designed to help incubate the attendee’s next documentary project, as well as connecting them to an expert community, new collaborators, and a wider network of funders and distributors. In 2013, the fellows received an opportunity to pitch their projects to a host of major documentary funders such as MacArthur Foundation, Chicken and Egg Pictures, WTTW, and Illinois Humanities Council.

Workshop sessions focus on applied learning and honing skills in areas such as fundraising, storytelling, production techniques, distribution and marketing.

Further perks for enrolled filmmakers include networking sessions introducing them to notable broadcasters, funders and distributors; access to Kartemquin’s invite-only “KTQ Labs Feedback Screenings” program, where Kartemquin’s filmmaker community provides free rough-cut consulting; and access to job listings and resources.

Applicants for 2014 should be filmmakers who have played a principal role in a completed production (producer, writer, director, editor, etc.) and have experience or work history that demonstrates their commitment to social issue documentary. Interested filmmakers can find more information via

 Diverse Voices in Docs information and application form:

Application deadline: Friday, December 13th

Workshop calendar: Saturdays, 1-4pm: Jan 18, Feb 22, March 22, April 19, May 17,June 24.

 Eligibility Criteria

Applicants should have played a principal role in a completed production (producer, writer, director, editor, etc.) and have experience or work history that demonstrated their commitment to social issue documentary.

Applicants are evaluated solely by their application

Applicants must be a legal US resident

Applicants must NOT be a full-time student

Applicants commit to participating in all aspects of the program and attending all 6 classes.

There is no application fee. An enrollment fee of $110 is due upon acceptance to the program.

Decisions will be based on finalist interviews and work samples.

The Diverse Voices in Docs program will not provide: project funding, legal advice, equipment or post-production access.

Diverse Voices in Docs is supported by The Academy for Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Kartemquin Films, The Community Film Workshop, & the Sage Foundation.

About Kartemquin Films

Kartemquin Films is a collaborative center for documentary media makers who seek to foster a more engaged and empowered society. With a noted tradition of nurturing emerging talent and acting as a leading voice for independent media, Kartemquin is building on over 45 years of being Chicago’s documentary powerhouse.

Kartemquin sparks democracy through documentary. Their films, such as The Interrupters, Hoop Dreams, and The New Americans, are among the most acclaimed documentaries of all time, leaving a lasting impact on millions of viewers.

Their latest film, The Trials of Muhammad Ali, is now in theaters, and opening in Chicago on November 8th. @Kartemquin /

 About Community Film Workshop

Community Film Workshop has trained and mentored three generations of film, video and photographic artists in Chicago and nationally. Graduates work on nationally distributed feature films, at television stations, at media production centers and in the arts in Chicago and throughout the nation. Other graduates have become independent producers, cultural workers, teachers and media arts administrators.

Community Film Workshop of Chicago provides classes in video production and multimedia in under-served communities. Its teaching philosophy is rooted in the practice of the artist mentor relationship. CFWC believes that the difference between media about an indigenous group and those produced by people of that group is the producers’ perspective.  The disciplined and nurturing style of Community Film Workshop anchors the organizations core values of media’s positive transforming power.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon