Fandor to Release Thirty Kartemquin Films

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Fri, 11/06/2015 - 12:50 -- Nick Dager

Fandor will release thirty films from Kartemquin including the classic, Hoop Dreams.Fandor will release more than thirty films made and distributed by legendary Chicago documentary production studio Kartemquin Films. The move underscores Fandor and Kartemquin’s commitment to providing extraordinary cinema to an ever-growing audience of film enthusiasts.

“I have greatly admired the remarkable work of Kartemquin Films for decades,” said Jonathan Marlow, co-founder and chief content officer of Fandor. “We are absolutely delighted to add their phenomenal documentaries to the Fandor service.”

The films in this partnership include the digital premieres of many rare and underexposed early works from Kartemquin, who celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2016, and are best known for producing the Academy Award-nominated Hoop Dreams, the multi-award-winning The Trials of Muhammad Ali and 2014's Roger Ebert biography Life Itself.

Highlights include:

Kartemquin's very first film, Home for Life, a classic cinéma verité depiction of the experiences of two elderly people in their first month at an elderly home which a young Roger Ebert called "extraordinarily moving."

Inquiring Nuns, a playful and poignant cinematic homage to Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin's Chronicle of a Summer in which the filmmakers and two nuns take to the streets of 1968 Chicago asking citizens "are you happy?"

Landmark films from Kartemquin's 1970's Collective period when the organization operated as a left-wing-feminist collective of teachers, union organizers, and filmmakers including the blistering critique of the corporatization of women's healthcare, The Chicago Maternity Center Story (1976).

Several films that depict labor struggles, union organizing, and the plight of American industrial workers in the 1970s and 1980s, including The Last Pullman Car (1983).

The film Golub (1988), a portrait of the iconoclastic political painter, Leon Golub (which Jonathan Rosenbaum described as a "virtually perfect... masterpiece") and its 2004 follow-up Golub: Late Works are the Catastrophes, which offers a probing and sobering addendum to the original.

Grassroots Chicago (1991), a series of vignettes of community organizers that was the debut short film of legendary documentary director Steve James, made during his time working on Kartemquin's Hoop Dreams.

The International Documentary Association award-winning The New Americans (2004), an epic seven-hour series following five international families over 3 years before and after they immigrate to the USA, which may just be Kartemquin's most masterful work. 

"It's a pleasure to have so many of our classic films digitally released for the first time as a collection on Fandor where we know they will be well received by a sophisticated and engaged cinephile audience. This is a great way for anyone who has been curious about what came before our more famous recent works to see both the points of continuity and evolution in Kartemquin's style of filmmaking ahead of our 50th anniversary in 2016," said Kartemquin's director of communications and distribution, Tim Horsburgh.

For a complete list of available films, visit: