hoto Credit:  Peter Hellberg

Steve James

Director / Producer / Editor

Steve James is best known as the producer-director of Hoop Dreams, winner of every major critics prize of 1994, as well as the Directors Guild of America Award, and the Peabody and Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards. Hoop Dreams was also named to the Library of Congress National Film Registry. Other award- winning films include Stevie, which won numerous festivals and landed on a dozen ten best lists for 2003; the miniseries The New Americans, winner of the 2004 IDA Award for The Best Limited Series; At the Death House Door, which won numerous awards at festivals and was nominated for a Directors Guild of America Award; and No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson for ESPN’s Peabody and IDA award-winning “30 for 30” series. James’ 2011 film, The Interrupters, was his fifth to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, won more than a dozen awards on the festival circuit including the top prize at the Sheffield Film Festival. It took the two top Cinema Eye Awards and won the Independent Spirit Award. The Interrupters was named “Best Documentary of the year” in both the IndieWire and Village Voice national critics polls. Recently, it was awarded the duPont-Columbia Journalism Award and an Emmy. 

Photo Credit:  Mitya Ku

Zak Piper


Zak is an independent Producer who previously served as Director of Production at Kartemquin Films for more than a decade. Most recently he co-produced the critically acclaimed film The Interrupters, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. The New Yorker, Chicago Tribune, Entertainment Weekly, and LA Times all hailed The Interrupters as one of the year’s best films. The film was the recipient of a 2013 duPont-Columbia Journalism Award and an Emmy Award at the 34th News & Documentary Emmy Awards, among a dozen other distinctions. Previously, Zak co-produced At the Death House Door, which premiered at the 2008 SXSW Film Festival and went on to win awards at numerous international festivals. He was also associate producer of Prisoner of Her Past, a co-production with the Chicago Tribune. Currently, he is producing 63 Boycott with director, Gordon Quinn. 


David E. Simpson


David E. Simpson is a producer, director, and editor who has crafted award-winning documentaries for over twenty-five years. His most recent directorial work was Milking The Rhino, which aired nationally on PBS and screened at dozens of festivals on six continents. Other directorial successes include When Billy Broke His Head...and Other Tales of Wonder, which won a jury award at Sundance, Refrigerator Mothers, and Halsted Street, USA, both of which took national honors. Yet more extensive is Simpson’s list of editing credits. Alongside Steve James, he edited The New Americans, winner of the 2004 IDA award for The Best Limited Series. Other editing credits include Kartemquin Films' Bill T. Jones: A Good Man for American Masters, Forgiving Dr. Mengele (Special Jury Prize, Slamdance), the Peabody Award winning Terra Incognia, and feature docs for PBS' Nova and Frontline series, including Shtetl (grand prix, Cinema du Real). 


Garrett Basch



Martin Scorsese

Executive Producer

Martin Scorsese is an Academy Award-winning Director and one of the most prominent and influential filmmakers working today. He directed the critically acclaimed, award-winning films Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Last Temptation of Christ, Goodfellas, Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed and the 2010 box office hit Shutter Island. Scorsese has also directed numerous documentaries including No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, Elia Kazan: A Letter to Elia (both films garnering Peabody Awards), A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese through American Movies, Il Mio Viaggio in Italia, Public Speaking starring writer Fran Lebowitz and the documentary for HBO: George Harrison: Living in the Material World. Most recently he directed Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated film Hugo, a 3D adaptation of Brian Selznick’s children’s book, for which he won the Golden Globe for Best Director. Scorsese currently serves as Executive Producer on HBO’s hit series Boardwalk Empire for which he directed the pilot episode. His latest film, The Wolf of Wall Street, will be released on December 25, 2013. He is the founder and chair of The Film Foundation and the World Cinema Project, both non-profit organizations dedicated to the preservation, restoration and protection of film. 


Steven Zaillian

Executive Producer


Michael W. Ferro, Jr.

Executive Producer

Michael W. Ferro Jr. is a well-known Internet technology pioneer based in Chicago. Michael is the creator, founder and investor of many companies including Click Commerce, Merge, higi, High School Cube, and Wrapports.

Wrapports is Michael’s media technology company whose publication holdings include the Chicago Sun-Times—the home of Roger Ebert. Michael felt compelled to support this endeavor to pay homage to the life of his favorite film critic. 

Gordon Quinn

Executive Producer

Gordon Quinn, Artistic Director, is the co-founder of Kartemquin. He has been producing documentaries and mentoring filmmakers for five decades. A passionate advocate for independent media makers, he is a noted expert on issues of fair use, ethics, and storytelling in documentary. 

Justine Nagan

Executive Producer

Justine Nagan, Executive Director, has led Kartemquin Films since 2008, guiding strategic vision and daily operations while serving as the Executive Producer on new films. She directed Typeface (2009) and was Associate Producer on the Peabody award-winning Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita (2007). 


Kat White

Executive Producer

Kat White is a principal in KatLei Productions and has enjoyed a multifaceted career supporting the film and dramatic arts. In addition to serving as an Executive Producer on Life Itself, a documentary on film critic Roger Ebert, she is an Executive Producer on Kartemquin Films' The Trials of Muhammad Ali. Broadway involvement presently includes: Kinky Boots, IF/THEN, and Rocky. Past theater credits include Macbeth, starring Alan Cumming, and Somewhere in Time. Past film credits include Grace is Gone, The Promotion, Drunkboat, Ca$h, and The Merry Gentlemen


Mark Mitten

Executive Producer / Co-Producer

Mark Mitten is an Emmy award winning producer who has developed a wide variety of media and entertainment projects. In addition to serving as an Executive Producer on the Roger Ebert documentary, Life Itself, he worked as a producer on NBC’s hit television series, The Apprentice. After serving as Chief Brand Officer for Chicago's 2016 Olympic bid, Mitten directed, co-wrote and produced a documentary entitled, Making Big Plans: The Story of Chicago’s Olympic Dream. Prior to pursuing these creative endeavors and others, he was a partner at McKinsey & Company, where he consulted a variety of Fortune 100 companies.