Executive Director - Kartemquin Educational Films


Kartemquin Educational Films is a 501(c)(3) non-profit collaborative center for documentary media makers who seek to foster a more engaged and empowered society. With a noted tradition of nurturing emerging talent and acting as a leading voice for independent media, Kartemquin is building on over 49 years of being Chicago's documentary powerhouse.

Sparking democracy through documentary, our films, such as The Interrupters, Hoop Dreams, The New Americans, The Last Pullman Car, On Beauty, and The Trials of Muhammad Ali have left a lasting impact on millions of viewers. A revered resource within the film community on issues of fair use, ethics, story and civic discourse, Kartemquin is internationally recognized for crafting quality documentaries backed by audience and community engagement strategies, and for its innovative media arts community programs. To learn more about our work, visit www.kartemquin.com.


Kartemquin Films (KTQ) seeks a strong leader with a collaborative spirit to guide our mission-driven organization into its 50th year and beyond.

The Executive Director (ED) will provide vision and leadership, working together with a team of committed staff, board members, and filmmakers. The ED will be responsible for oversight of KTQ’s development/fundraising, finance/operations, films, and programming activities. The ED is also a senior professional representing Kartemquin in the community and has a primary responsibility, with support from the Board, for obtaining and sustaining financial resources for the $3M organization.

The Executive Director is part of the three-person executive team, including the Artistic Director (AD) and the VP of Finance and Operations (VPFO), who oversee a staff of 14 employees and a community of filmmakers and stakeholders. The ED and AD report to the Board.


Management and Strategy (50%)

  • Provide leadership, vision, and foster collaboration.
  • Lead strategic planning to ensure KTQ’s capacity to thrive in accordance with its mission. Oversee the implementation of adopted short- and long-term goals, policies, and programs.
  • Lead assessment of KTQ’s effectiveness and impact, and evaluate how to increase it.
  • Manages 6 direct reports and oversees management of 14 full-time staff to ensure that day-to-day operations and HR for the organization run smoothly in partnership with the VPFO, and with input from the AD. Hire, manage, and evaluate staff under direct supervision. Review and approve personnel recommendations from other supervisors.
  • Work with the VPFO to create a sound comprehensive and integrated financial management strategy for KTQ, including development and management of the annual budget.
  • Work with the AD and the Production Director to ensure productive relationships with filmmakers.
  • Collaborate with project pipeline committee and give final approval on any new co-production or film relationships.
  • Work with filmmakers in Executive Producer capacity including approving film budgets, promotional campaigns, and fundraising plans. Assist filmmakers directly with fundraising as possible.
  • Maintain relationships with organizations, including broadcasters, funders, and community partners. Oversee contract negotiations.

Development and External Affairs (30%)

  • Work with the Board of Directors and the Development team on an annual fundraising plan and oversee its planning and execution, including fund appeals and special events.
  • Actively seek new opportunities for grant funding. Oversee the submission of proposals and reports to funders to ensure compliance with grant commitments. Cultivate and directly solicit grant funders.
  • Develop relationships with funders, and other granting sources, government agencies, donors and individuals in the community who can assist in fundraising efforts or meet fundraising goals. Cultivate and directly solicit individual donors.
  • Develop and maintain relationships to individuals and community organizations within the documentary film industry; build new ones across sectors and communities.
  • Participate in local and national networking and community relations activities; collaborate with KTQ staff to publicize Kartemquin’s work on a local and global level.

Governance (20%)

  • With the Board Chair, provide leadership so the Board can participate in developing long- and short-term strategic objectives. Ensure that strategy aligns with overall mission.
  • Advise the Board of key matters requiring their input or action and ensure appropriate communications between staff and Board.
  • With Governance Chair and Board Chair, ensure that the Board is effectively organized with a system of board recruitment, nominations, development, and succession planning.
  • With appropriate KTQ staff, support the Board and its various committees, including the Finance, Governance, Development and 50th anniversary planning committee. Assist in preparing meeting agendas.


Education and Experience

  • 10 years of experience in non-profit management, fundraising, marketing, and fiscal oversight required. Experience with media arts, culture or social justice organizations preferred.
  • Five years minimum experience supervising and managing staff, independent artists, freelancers, and consultants.
  • Previous experience managing, and developing, multiple programs.
  • Solid knowledge of, and experience with, foundation, corporate, individual, and sponsorship giving. Verifiable ability to lead and manage fundraising efforts that bring in $1M annually in contributed revenue to support general operations.
  • Knowledge of the local and national funding community necessary. Experience with Chicago funding community, media arts funders, and individual philanthropists preferred.
  • Contacts across related disciplines would be meaningful—nationally, but particularly in the Midwest and Chicago.
  • Previous experience leading and developing a Board of Directors.

Special Knowledge & Skills

  • Ability to foster culture of integrity, inclusiveness, and accountability in which critical thinking, respectful discussion, creativity, ethics, and sound judgment are valued.
  • Strong knowledge and understanding of documentary film/TV production, new technologies, and media distribution preferred.
  • Excellent managerial skills, experience working cross-departmentally, and proven track record of building a successful team.
  • Strong interpersonal and communications skills with an engaging and persuasive personality; sense of humor and the diplomacy to manage a family atmosphere with a long history and many established relationships
  • Excellent critical thinking, analytical, and problem solving skills.
  • Ability to work accurately and efficiently under pressure and with multiple deadlines.
  • Willingness to work collaboratively and congenially in a small office environment.
  • Knowledge and aptitude working with Microsoft Office and software packages, social media, web applications, spreadsheet analysis, and database management for fundraising/marketing, promotion and relationships.
  • Travel to off-site locations in Chicago required. Access to car required.
  • Occasional out-of-town travel, and evening and weekend work for events is required.


  • Salary range is competitive and commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits including 100% employer paid health insurance and 3% IRA match.


  • Please submit your cover letter, resume, salary history, and salary requirements to: EDjobsearch@kartemquin.com. Please write your name (last, first) in the subject line of your email. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
  • Deadline is September 30, 2015. Position begins ASAP. No phone calls please.
  • We regret that due to the large number of applications we receive, we can only respond personally to the applicants who best meet our needs for this position.
  • Kartemquin Educational Films is an equal opportunity employer. We welcome diversity among our board, staff, filmmakers, and interns. We recruit, hire, train and promote without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or any other protected status.