Fine Line Features founder Ira Deutchman, well-known film producer and distributor, and founder of Cinecom, was just appointed to the Board of Directors of Kartemquin Films, the Chicago-based not-for-profit media arts organization.

Ira Deutchman

Justine Nagan, executive director of Kartemquin Films, noted that the appointment was unanimously approved at Kartemquin’s most recent board meeting. “Ira brings a unique perspective on the film business and his experience as an incredibly successful independent film distributor, including his role in Kartemquin’s most commercially successful film Hoop Dreams, will be a great asset as we create and distribute more documentary films than we have in Kartemquin’s history,” said Nagan.

Deutchman said that he first encountered Kartemquin when he worked with the company on the release of Hoop Dreams. “I’ve been amazed at the quality of the work, and the commitment this organization makes to getting those films to audiences,” Deutchman said.  “I know how hard it is, so surviving and thriving for nearly 45 years is a great achievement. I’m glad to do my part to ensure that Kartemquin keeps going and producing films that make a difference.”

Deutchman’s career in making, marketing and distributing films goes back to 1975. Of the over 150 films he has worked on, some are the most successful independent films of all time, such as sex, lies and videotape, My Own Private Idaho and The Player. He was one of the founders of Cinecom and later created Fine Line Features, two companies that were created from the ground up and—in their respective times—helped define the independent film business.

Currently Deutchman is Managing Partner of Emerging Pictures, a New York-based digital exhibition company. He is also a Professor of Professional Practice in the Graduate Film Division of the School of the Arts at Columbia University, where he is the head of the Producing Program.

Kartemquin Films, an independent documentary production company, focuses on people whose lives are most directly affected by social and political change and who are often overlooked or misrepresented by the media, with a  goal of opening dialogue, both in communities and between the general public and policymakers.

Since 1966 Kartemquin Films has produced documentaries that examine and critique society through the stories of real people and critical social issues.  In 2009, the organization received a Peabody award, an Emmy nomination, a Silver Hugo Television Award, and commemorated the 15th anniversary of Hoop Dreams, its well-known Oscar-nominated film. In 2010, Kartemquin has a record number of projects in production, including the first-time release of early works on DVD as well as premieres of several groundbreaking new films.

Kartemquin documentaries are supported by civic engagement strategies developed with local and national partners to foster understanding, change thinking, and build support for social change. A nationally recognized media arts organization, Kartemquin is a bridge between communities and the media, fostering the growth of emerging filmmaking voices passionate about social issues and media policy, and encouraging staff and stakeholders to play a role in advocating for a strong public media.