Anne de Mare
Anne de Mare is an award-winning playwright, director, professional video artist, and filmmaker. She completed her first documentary feature, Asparagus! Stalking the American Life, which broadcast regionally on PBS in 2009, in collaboration with Kirsten Kelly, her partner at Spargel Productions. Anne’s original plays have been presented in Chicago, London and New York, where she was a five-year resident artist with Richard Foreman’s legendary Ontological-Hysteric Theater. She is a founding member of The Independent Theater Company, The Nevermore Theater Project and Theaters Against War. Her video work has been seen on stage at Lincoln Center and at The Park Avenue Armory, and she is currently working with Innovative Music Programs to develop the film component of Accidental Heroes, a multi-media performance work based on the lives of eastern and western European artists coming of age during the Cold War.
Kirsten Kelly is an award-winning documentary film and theater director who lives in Brooklyn, New York. She and filmmaker Anne de Mare founded Spargel Productions in 2002, to make their first feature documentary, Asparagus! Stalking the American Life, about Kirsten’s hometown. The pair is currently in development for The Girl With The Rivet Gun, an animated new media documentary project on Rosie the Riveter. Her short film work has been seen at Juilliard and Lincoln Center. Kirsten is a two-time Helen Hayes nominated best director and has directed award-winning theater productions in Chicago, Washington DC and off-Broadway in New York. She is also an arts educator and is the director and co-creator of “CPS Shakespeare,” which was featured on NBC Nightly News in 2010, a highly acclaimed program that works with Chicago Public H. S. students at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. She is a graduate of Juilliard’s Master Directing program where she received the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship and is a member of Rising Phoenix Repertory in New York.
Leslie Simmer is Kartemquin's Director of Editing as well as Senior Editor on staff. For over twelve years Leslie has worked at Kartemquin in various capacities. In 2013, she began working on The Homestretch. Prior to her work on this project, Leslie edited and co-wrote the Emmy-nominated feature documentary As Goes Janesville, a co-production between Kartemquin and 371 Productions which screened on PBS in October, 2012. She edited with Steve James on the ESPN film No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson; she edited the Emmy-nominated In the Family (for which she received the Best Editing prize at the "Best of the Midwest Awards); and in 2005 Leslie was co-editor with Steve James on The War Tapes. From 2001-2004 she wore dual hats on the seven-part PBS series The New Americans as both Series Story Editor and Post Production Supervisor.
Justine Nagan, Executive Director, has led KTQ 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).
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.
Andrew Schwertfeger has been working in independent film for over 7 years, during which time he has worked on such films as Happy Tears and the Sundance hit Teeth. He has recently shifted focus to social issue documentary filmmaking and is a passionate advocate for underprivileged youth and education. He serves on the associate board of Chicago Scholars, which provides talented, academically ambitious, and underserved high school students from every neighborhood in Chicago with access and success through college and beyond.
Erin Sorenson is a Principal at Third Stage Consulting, a firm that provides strategic impact planning, project management, and implementation. She brings 23 years of experience advancing the missions of documentary films and nonprofits to create long lasting social change. Erin has a master’s degree in Social Service Administration from University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration and a Certificate in Non-Profit Leadership from Harvard’s Business School.
Katie Taber is a documentary film and television producer who founded Yellow River Productions in 2007. Taber has worked on many films for the award-winning PBS series FRONTLINE including “Life and Death in Assisted Living,” ”Dollars and Dentists,” and “The Child Cases” and was a co-producer on the four-part PBS NOVA series “The Fabric of the Cosmos,” based on the book by Brian Greene. Taber was also a founder of the award-winning Chicago-based theater company Division 13 Productions with whom she performed, wrote and directed numerous plays. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children and she’s recently started singing with a local rock band.
Jennifer is a leading force in philanthropic management with twenty years of experience in all aspects of philanthropic giving and fundraising in the areas of health, education, the arts, economic development, prison reform, homelessness, and the environment. As Executive Director of the Richard Gere Foundation and Healing the Divide, she led strategic planning, marketing/PR, fundraising, and campaign management while producing a number of historic events featuring the Dalai Lama. These public forums drew distinguished and vast audiences, numbering in the hundreds of thousands while creating much needed awareness around the Tibetan Human Rights crises, launching it into US and European pop culture consciousness.
Hemmerdinger, is the Producer of the hit documentary Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me. She a native New Yorker, began her career in theater and film as a playwright, winning the NYU Tisch School of the Arts Goldberg Prize for We Can Do It! which she is now adapting as a film. Her play Squall was the winner of the U.S. West Theatre Festival. Hemmerdinger is developing The Girl with a Rivet Gun, an animated documentary project with The Homestretch directors, Anne de Mare and Kirsten Kelly. She is currently Visiting Artist at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Mary Jane Pories
Mary Jane Pories is an award-winning actor, improviser, writer, and entrepreneur currently living in Grand Rapids, MI. She performed for two years as a main stage cast member of the famed comedy theater, The Second City. As founder of Fishladder Inc. in 1999, she trains and coaches clients nationally and internationally in applied improvisation.
Julie Smolyansky is CEO & President of Morton Grove based Lifeway Foods, Founder of Test400k, an organization dedicated to advocating ending the backlog of 400,000 untested rape kits in the United States and Associate Producer of the powerful new documentary Honor Diaries. She started her career as a family counselor supporting at-risk families in Chicago’s Department of Children and Family Services system. She has traveled to Bangladesh, Kenya and Uganda to work with teens, mothers, refugees and entrepreneurs. Julie is a speaker, writer, leading human rights activist, a member of the United Nations Foundation Global Entrepreneurs Council, and frequently travels to the White House advocating on behalf of entrepreneurs, girls and women.