In the 1970s, Kartemquin organized as a left-wing collective, employing a collaborative model of filmmaking that blended artistry with activism, sharing 16mm films through grassroots distribution networks. The goal was to make media "from the people, to the people," tackling subjects such as race, class, youth, and art-making in Chicago's neighborhoods.
The DVD release of The Kartemquin Collection Volume 4: The Collective Years features four films from this era. All four films are released on DVD for the first time, in digitization of original 16mm prints newly restored through a grant from the National Film Preservation Fund. Use coupon code: KTQvol4 for 25% off before March 15 when you purchase at the Kartemquin store: kartemquin.com/store
In Now We Live on Clifton (1974) the filmmakers follow 10-year-old Pam Taylor and her 12 year old brother Scott around their multiracial West Lincoln Park neighborhood in Chicago. The kids worry that they'll be forced out of the neighborhood they grew up in by the gentrification following the expansion of DePaul University.
This film was created by members of the Kartemquin collective, with credits shared between Jerry Blumenthal, Alphonse Blumenthal, Susan Delson, Sharon Karp, Peter Kuttner, Gordon Quinn, and Richard Schmiechen.
Winnie Wright, Age 11 (1974) follows Winnie, the daughter of a steelworker and a teacher, who is living in Gage Park, a Chicago neighborhood that is changing from white to black. Her family struggles with racism, inflation and a threatened strike, as Winnie learns what it means to grow up white, working class, and female.
Winnie Wright, Age 11 was created by Kartemquin collective members Suzanne Davenport, Greg Grieco, Betsy Martens, Gordon Quinn, Teena Weeb, Jerry Blumenthal, Sue Delson, Sharon Karp, Peter Kuttner, Mike McLoughlin, and Richard Schmiechen.
In Trick Bag (1974), gang members, Vietnam vets, and young factory workers from Chicago's neighborhoods tell of their personal experience with racism. The film was brought to Kartemquin by Peter Kuttner, and credits are shared between Kartemquin, Rising Up Angry, and Columbia College Chicago.
Viva La Causa (1974) is a colorful record of the making of a mural in Chicago's Pilsen community by Ray Patlán, this film traces the mural movement of the mid-1970's back to murals in Mexico. Directed and produced by Teena Webb.
Extra features on the DVD include a new video of a rare reunion of the the living collective members, new videos of Winnie Wright and Pam and Roxanne Taylor reflecting upon their experience of being in the films; and several archival photos and documents from the era, along with a 'Where are they now?' update on the Kartemquin collective.