Kartemquin names Jolene Pinder as Executive Director

Jolene Pinder

Jolene Pinder

production house
film veteran
from New Orleans
to Chicago

Kartemquin Films, the award-winning Chicago-based documentary nonprofit organization, today named Jolene Pinder as Executive Director.

Pinder joins the organization after serving as Executive Director of #CreateLouisiana since 2017, where she spearheaded statewide and regional advocacy efforts and grantmaking initiatives. She was selected by Kartemquin’s Board of Directors following a national search conducted over a seven-month period. On June 10th, she will begin overseeing all aspects of operations and programs and serving as Executive Producer on all of Kartemquin’s documentaries.

The Oscars at Kartemquin (photo: Andrea Raby)
The Oscars at Kartemquin (photo: Andrea Raby)

Founded in 1966 as a documentary collective, Kartemquin helps develop filmmakers, produces films, and advocates for the field of documentary. The six-time Emmy Award-winning organization has received three Oscar nominations in the past two years for Minding the Gap, Edith+Eddie, and Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.

On May 18th, Kartemquin will become the first independent nonfiction production company to receive a Peabody Institutional Award, “for its commitment to unflinching documentary filmmaking and telling an American history rooted in social justice and the stories of the marginalized.”

ALSO READ: Peabody honors “Minding the Gap” and Kartemquin

Meet Jolene Pinder
Pinder previously led the New Orleans Film Society as Executive Director between 2011-2017, where she increased the budget by 400% and grew annual attendance at the New Orleans Film Festival by 250%. She also launched signature programs to support Southern storytellers and advocate for a more equitable, inclusive landscape, and conceived of and secured funding for the acclaimed Southern Producers Lab.

Pinder also has independent production experience as Producer of 2018 DOC NYC selection All Skinfolk Ain’t Kinfolk and the forthcoming Sundance Institute and IDA-funded Hollow Tree, and from earlier in her career producing (A)Sexual and working in various roles on documentaries such as Arctic Son and Election Day during her period as a staff producer at Arts Engine / Big Mouth Productions.

“I am honored to join Kartemquin as Executive Director at this significant moment in the organization’s rich history,” says Pinder. “Throughout my career, Kartemquin’s films and advocacy work have shaped my own perspective on the power of documentary. Given my deep commitment to supporting regional filmmakers and to the documentary field, I could not imagine an opportunity with more synergy.”

Jason Stephens, Chair of Kartemquin’s Board of Directors, is equally enthusiastic.

“We are thrilled that (Jolene) has the experience that we identified as most important to Kartemquin during the search process” he says. “She is herself a social issue documentary filmmaker, has successfully led and managed a nonprofit organization, and is widely known and respected in the documentary field.”

Adds Fenell Doremus, Chair of the Search Committee, “What was most attractive about Jolene to our committee was her track record in finding financial support for filmmakers, building programs to support emerging voices in documentary, and helping to build regional advocacy movements on behalf of filmmakers, activities which are all in line with Kartemquin’s current strategic initiatives.”

A tradition of importance
Kartemquin’s distinctive production process has guided over 65 award-winning, socially impactful films to completion. Its acclaimed filmmaker development programs serve over 40 filmmakers annually and have launched over 500 alumni into careers in documentary filmmaking.

The films and filmmakers it supports are known for the social importance of their stories, the quality of their storytelling, the inclusive, respectful, and ethical ways in which they work with their subjects, and the impact of the films on communities, audiences, and policymakers.

ALSO READ: Kartemquin Oscar party celebrates a winning tradition

“We are thrilled to have Jolene joining Kartemquin,” says Gordon Quinn, Artistic Director and Co-founder. “When people ask me how we survived for 50 years, I say it’s because we paid attention to what was going on, and tried to understand our place in the period of history we were in. Jolene’s varied background and success with other organizations sets us up to move boldly into the future as we adapt to the changing landscape and endeavor to support the next generation of documentary filmmakers who are trying to play a role in our democratic society.”

Sparking democracy through documentary since 1966, Kartemquin is a collaborative community empowering documentary makers who create stories that foster a more engaged and just society. | The organization’s films have received four Academy Award nominations and won several major prizes, including six Emmys, four Peabody Awards, multiple Independent Spirit, IDA, PGA and DGA awards, and duPont-Columbia and Robert F. Kennedy journalism awards. Kartemquin is recognized as a leading advocate for independent public media, and has helped hundreds of artists via its filmmaker development programs that help grow the field, such as KTQ Labs, Diverse Voices in Docs, and the acclaimed KTQ Internship. | Kartemquin is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Chicago.