Betsy Steinberg Named New Leader of Documentary Collective Kartemquin Films

The company behind “Hoop Dreams,” “Life Itself” and other documentaries has named its new executive director: Betsy Steinberg.

Steinberg takes over on Dec. 1 at Kartemquin Films, the award-winning non-profit documentary production collective. She most recently served as managing director of the Illinois Film Office, helping boost the industry during a time of growth in that state.

She will oversee all of Kartemquin’s operations and be executive producer on all of the outfit’s films. Steinberg succeeds Justine Nagan, who recently was named executive director of American Documentary, Inc. (AmDoc) and executive producer of “POV” (Point of View), the documentary series that airs regularly on PBS.

Kartemquin co-founder Gordon Quinn remains with the organization as artistic director. “Of all the candidates, Betsy immediately demonstrated the ethics and passion we know Kartemquin needs,” said board chair  Jason Stephens, “and we are confident she will lead the staff and filmmakers to meet the challenges ahead while maintaining the values we have represented for five decades.”

The documentary film maker received acclaim and multiple awards for “Hoop Dreams,” the tale of two young African-Americans trying to make it in college basketball and in life. Kartemquin also produced “The Interrupters,” and “Life Itself” on film critic Roger Ebert.

Steinberg thanked the board and said she looked forward to continuing Kartemquin’s legacy. In her last job, she received credit for turning Illinois into a major destination for filmmakers. During her tenure Illinois brought in over a billion dollars in film industry spending and created thousands of jobs.

The move to Kartemquin represents a return to the documentary world.  Steinberg served for two years as the vice president of business development at Towers Productions and for  nearly 15 years as a writer, producer, director working on a wide-range of material, from television documentaries and commercials to political and issue advocacy campaigns. She received a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Kartemquin soon plans to announce special plans for marking its 50th anniversary.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • 'Bombay Rose,' Venice Premiere, Debuts Trailer

    'Bombay Rose,' Venice Film Festival Premiere, Debuts Trailer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Variety has been given exclusive access to the trailer for animated film “Bombay Rose,” which will have its world premiere opening Venice Critics’ Week on Aug. 28. The film, written and directed by Gitanjali Rao, will also play in the Contemporary World Cinema strand at the Toronto Film Festival on Sept. 7. “Bombay Rose” is [...]

  • Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu speaks during a

    Alejandro G. Inarritu on the Need to Preserve Poetry in Cinema

    Alejandro G. Iñárritu is urging the film industry to guard against the influence of television storytelling in cinema, a looming crisis he said could strip film of the beauty and poetry that make it a unique artistic form of expression. Attending the Sarajevo Film Festival to receive the Honorary Heart of Sarajevo award, the Oscar-winning [...]

  • Levan Akin on the Impact of

    Levan Akin on the Impact of ‘And Then We Danced’

    Georgian-Swedish filmmaker Levan Akin is already enjoying success with “And Then We Danced,” his acclaimed social drama about a young dancer struggling with the confines of tradition and forbidden love. The film, which premiered in Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes, went on to win three top awards at the Odessa Film Festival, including best film and [...]

  • Brian Oliver'Black Mass' Premiere, Toronto International

    'Rocketman' Producer Developing Comedy 'Inward Bound' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Brian Oliver’s New Republic Pictures, the company that co-financed and produced “Rocketman,” is developing a female ensemble comedy “Inward Bound.” The announcement comes on the heels of Universal’s “Good Boys” becoming the first R-rated comedy to open in first place at the North American box office  in three years, as well as the biggest opening [...]

  • Heroic Losers

    Watch Clip from Ricardo Darin’s Toronto-Bound ‘Heroic Losers’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Variety has been given access to an exclusive clip and poster from Toronto Special Presentation “La Odisea de los Giles” (“Heroic Losers”) which, starring Ricardo Darín, has just scored in is native Argentina a standout opening weekend of Peso 58.8 million ($1.1 million) and 316,300 admissions for Warner Bros. Pictures. With “Heroic Losers” having released [...]

  • "The Hunt"

    'The Hunt' Director Breaks Silence on Film's Cancellation (EXCLUSIVE)

    Craig Zobel, director of “The Hunt,” hopes that the controversial political thriller will eventually be seen by audiences, and argues that its message has been misrepresented in media reports. Zobel spoke for the first time since Universal canceled the film’s release on Aug. 10, in the wake of a series of mass shootings and amid [...]

  • Mark Damon, CEO & Chairman, Foresight

    Mark Damon's DCR Finance Receives $150 Million for Financing Georgia Films (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mark Damon’s DCR Finance Corp., co-headed with financer Adi Cohen, has received a $150 million investment from Go Media Productions for Georgia projects, Variety has learned exclusively. Damon, whose credits include “2 Guns” and “Lone Survivor,” made the announcement Monday with Cohen. The deal calls for Atlanta-based Go Media Productions to join a private placement as [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content