Kartemquin announces leadership change

(Pinder steps down as of October 1)

Kartemquin Films has announced that current Executive Director Jolene Pinder will be leaving the organization as of October 1. According to the production company, Pinder, who is also a documentary filmmaker, has decided to move back to Louisiana to focus on family.

In a letter to the Kartemquin board, Pinder said: “These unprecedented times have brought into relief some very personal hopes I hold for our family, and I began to recognize the impossibility of achieving these goals next to the energy I know that this important role demands at an institution as powerful and vital as KTQ at this moment.”

Below is a joint statement from Kartemquin Board Chair Pamela Sherrod Anderson and Artistic Director Gordon Quinn:

“Dear Colleagues and Friends, 

Thank you for your support of Kartemquin Films. We are writing today to notify you that Jolene Pinder is departing as our Executive Director, effective October 1. 

With the unique challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic presents to individuals and families in both professional and personal spaces, Jolene has made a heartfelt decision to focus her energies on her family, and has moved back full-time to New Orleans. 

The Kartemquin board and staff would like to thank her for her leadership over the past year and the strides she has made in reshaping and strengthening the organization. Jolene has been a positive force for change and equity within Kartemquin, making us better and more resilient during her tenure. 

Moving forward, Kartemquin is seeking an Interim Executive Director with strong management skills. Interested applicants can find the job description here and email interimEDjobsearch@kartemquin.com with inquiries and recommendations.

This individual will work with a transition team comprised of board and staff to fulfill our commitments to our filmmakers, our community, and the documentary field, as we intentionally make space for reflection on our place in this changing world. 

Kartemquin has been sparking democracy since 1966 as a collaborative community that empowers documentary makers who create stories that foster a more engaged and just society.  We are committed to being transparent and collaborative with you, our valued community, as we continue to support storytellers who push for a more inclusive, thriving and equitable world. 

Thank you for your partnership, passion, and investment in the future of Kartemquin Films.”


Pamela Sherrod Anderson, Board Chair
Gordon Quinn, Artistic Director 

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Here is Pinder’s full statement:

“Dear Friends,

Hope you are healthy + well in these times. 

I wanted to write personally to let you know that I have made the very difficult decision to step down from my role as Kartemquin’s executive director. 

At the start of the pandemic, I traveled back to New Orleans to be with my partner (we had been living between Chicago and New Orleans during my first year at KTQ). These unprecedented times have brought into relief some very personal hopes I hold for our family, and I began to recognize the impossibility of achieving these goals next to the energy I know that this important role demands at an institution as powerful and vital as KTQ at this moment. Ultimately, we have made the decision to move back to New Orleans full-time, and I’ll be full-time at Kartemquin through September 30.

I’m so very proud of the work the staff and board have accomplished together over the last year — to collectively reimagine how KTQ can equitably serve its community of filmmakers, bring greater financial transparency to the organization, build stronger infrastructure, begin envisioning a more sustainable future, and secure a permanent home for the KTQ archive. It was my belief in our powerful community of staff, filmmakers and board members that positioned me to make this decision with the full belief in a strong and vibrant future for KTQ. 

KTQ has a highly activated and engaged board of directors, and in collaboration with a talented, committed staff, has formed a Transition Committee. This committee is leading the full staff and board as we embark on a period of reflection and planning in order to shape the future of KTQ. At the same time, we are committed to actively responding to filmmaker needs and finding deeper ways to support our alumni in a moment of global crisis. 

We are seeking an interim executive director to be our partner in that work (I have attached the job description here). We welcome suggestions or recommendations from our community and key supporters like you, and ask that you reach out to interimEDjobsearch@kartemquin.com if you have input, or would like to refer a candidate. 

The staff and board look forward to sharing more with you as Kartemquin undergoes this transition, and we will continue to keep you informed as we look towards new initiatives in the coming year. If you have any questions in the meantime or have insights to share, you can reach out to Jo Lakatos, our Director of Development at jo@kartemquin.com or to our Board Chair, Pamela Sherrod Anderson at graceworks@yahoo.com.

I am so thankful our paths have crossed and grateful for your continued support of Kartemquin’s work to spark democracy through documentary.

Take care,


Prior to her role at Kartemquin, Pinder helmed the New Orleans Film Society (NOFS)—the producer of the Oscar-qualifying New Orleans Film Festival (NOFF)—for six years during a period of unprecedented growth. She worked with staff and board to refocus the identity of the New Orleans Film Festival to become a premier discovery festival committed to highlighting Southern voices and spotlighting a more diverse community of directors from around the world.

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According to Kartemquin, a transition team of board and staff members is currently engaged in a search for an interim executive director. Please view the job posting.

Colin Costello is the West Coast Editor of Reel 360. Contact him at colin@reel360.com or follow him on Twitter at @colinthewriter1