Kartemquin rewards staffers with a week at Sundance

Among the attendees at the Sundance Film Festival, the mother of all independent film festivals, Jan. 16-26 in Park City, Utah will be 10 lucky Kartemquin staffers.  Their hard work last year is being rewarded by an all-expense-paid, 5 day trip to Sundance.

“We’ll have some fun before the busiest year in our 48 year history kicks in,” reports Tim Horsburgh, Kartemquin director of communications and programs. Horsburgh, however, won’t have much time for that promised fun, as he will be handling details for the screening of two Kartemquin docs, starting Sunday, Jan. 19.

Led by Gordon Quinn and Justine Nagan, executive director, the Kartemquin posse includes Suzanne Niemoth, director of finance ad operations; Tamera Fouche, office and fundraising manager; Leslie Simmer, editorial director; postproduction associates Hillary Bachelder and Ryan Gleeson, Nora Gully, post/ preservation associate and Horsburgh.

Alice Hanold, Kartemquin’s new development director, who held the same title with Critical Exposure of Washington, D.C., technical director Jim Morrisette and bookkeeper Alex Stein are okay with remaining behind to watch the store.

“Hoop Dreams,” premiere of “Life Itself” to screen

Kartemquin’s with two high-profile screenings are “Hoop Dreams,” about striving inner city high school basketball players, and the Roger Ebert biopic, “Life Itself.”  Both were directed by multi-honored Steve James, who also directed “The Interrupters.”

Twenty years ago the basketball doc, “Hoop Dreams,” premiered at Sundance but was scorned later that year by the Oscars.  Roger Ebert, who protested the Oscar omission, in 1994 declared “Hoop Dreams” as “One of the great movie-going experiences of my lifetime.”  It screens Jan. 20 as a brand new digital file.

Director Steve JamesFilmmakers Steve James, Peter Gilbert and Frederick Marx and Arthur Agee, the subject of the basketball doc, are expected to participate in an extended post-screening Q&A.  

The world premiere of “Life Itself,” based on Roger Ebert’s biography and executive produced by Martin Scorsese, will run for five days, Jan. 19-25, at the Marc Theatre.

During those dates, it will simultaneously stream exclusively for backers of the film’s recently completed IndieGoGo campaign that raised $150,000 in completion funds.

Attending the premiere will be James, Zak Piper, David E. Simpson, Dana Kupper, Emily Hart, Joshua Abrams, Mark Mitten and Kat White, who had production roles on the doc.  

Chaz Ebert and Marlene Iglitzen, widows of Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, respectively, also will be at Sundance.