This 6-part documentary series by Kartemquin Films for Al Jazeera America, follows five families around the country to find out what it actually takes to get by on eight, ten or even fifteen dollars an hour. These resilient men and women create their own safety nets in order to survive—cobbling together multiple jobs; relying on social networks, family support, and public assistance; and living in impossibly cramped conditions. Panelists from the production team include: Cinematographer Dana Kupper (CA+S faculty), Associate Producer Liz Stanton, Directors Ruth Leitman (CA&+S faculty), Katy Chevigny (via Skype).
Discuss the making of the CNN/Sundance 8-hour documentary series with Yoav Attias, series producer, Jess Mattison, production assistant, and moderator Jeff Spitz.
Janell Baxter teaches simulation and serious game design, programming, teamwork, and interactive media development at Columbia College Chicago. Her professional work includes engineering bots and building simulations and software, and she’s been involved in a range of development projects from commercial work to simulations and serious game-like experiences funded by grants. Her primary interest in building interactive work is to create experiences that are meaningful and relevant to those who use them, and that embody traits on the higher end of the interactive spectrum: participant-centered, responsive, adaptive, dynamic, and immersive. She holds a MS in Computer Science from the University of Chicago, and a BFA from University of Illinois at Chicago.
Bobby Biedrzycki is a writer, performer, educator, and transnational human rights activist who resides in Chicago. His stories have appeared on pages, stages, and bar microphones across the US and beyond. He is a company member of 2nd Story, where he tells stories and serves as director of programming. Bobby is also a faculty member of the Department of Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago, where he was the 2013 recipient of the Part-Time Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award. He also teaches writing and performance at Gallery 37 for the Arts and the Goodman Theater.
Matthew Board is a 3D Artist, Digital Sculptor and Independent Game Developer. He runs his own independent freelance 3D art and game development business, Red Tail Studios. Clients include, Vermont Digital Arts, Owlchemy Labs, The Brass Monkey SDK, Hasbro and Anzovin Studios. In 2011, Matthew released his first solo game project “Callsign: Osprey” for the iPhone and iPad. He has done consulting for Great Eastern Technology to formulate a more efficient 3D-printing workflows in Maya, 3D Studio Max and ZBrush, that allowed for less material use. Matthew has a number of digital sculpts showcased in Pixologic’s Turntable Gallery on www.pixologic.com.
Michael Caplan has been producing independent feature and documentary films for over twenty years. He is currently completing a feature documentary about the Chicago writer Nelson Algren, author of The Man with the Golden Arm. His films, such as the PBS-aired Stones from the Soil and the critically-acclaimed The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me, are designed to educate, engage, and entertain. Michael received his Master of Fine Arts in Film from Northwestern University. He is an Associate Professor in the Cinema Art + Science Department at Columbia College Chicago.
Greg Corness is a Researcher and Artist exploring embodied interaction in mediated environments. He holds a PhD in interactive design and a Masters in computer music composition. His research focuses on leveraging social gestures in human computer interaction, using interactive performance, installations tangible devices and interactive environments including games as research opportunities. He is also engaged in developing new approaches for designing media agents, generative systems and embedded media environments. Greg teaches Physical computing, Sound Design and Interaction Design at the Interactive Arts and Media department at Columbia College Chicago and publishes in the fields of electronic music and human-computer interaction. Greg’s work includes galleries installations, interactive museum exhibits and live performance in Canada and the US.
Candice started taking photographs at age six and has been a camera geek ever since. After working as a photojournalist for 15 years, including 11 years at the Chicago Tribune where she was on the team that won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize, Candice started her wedding and family photojournalism business, and has continued to teach Photojournalism at Northwestern University, where she has taught for the past 10 years. Her business isn’t focused on posed images of her clients smiling for the camera. She blends, documents, and captures moments that are most important to her clients on their special day, or their every day!
Hossein Fatemi, born 1980 in Iran, started his career as a photographer in 1997. He has worked in Lebanon, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Georgia, Russia, India, Somalia, Kenya, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. His work has been published in numerous national and international publications including The Times, Newsweek, Time magazine, Paris Match, The New York Times, National Geographic, The Guardian, and The Washington Post.
Ehsan has made short narrative films in the US and Iran including Circles and Signals, an official selection for Slamdance Film Festival 2011 and feature documentaries such as I Am a Visitor In Your World which premiered at Woodstock Film Festival in 2013. He has curated special screenings of Iranian films in various festivals.
Ehsan is an accordionist and percussionist; he plays in the Balkan inspired brass band Black Bear Combo with whom he performed at President Obama’s Halloween party at the White House in 2009 and 2013.
The Chicago Reader selected Ehsan in its 2012 People’s Issue. An article that focuses on being an immigrant with aspirations and starting from scratch.
Ehsan continues to work and live in Chicago.
Rob Hart is an award winning photojournalist, Adjunct Faculty of Photojournalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, and spent 12 years working for the Chicago Sun-Times Media. He was named the 2013 Chicago Journalist of the Year. Rob is as comfortable documenting American history, as your family’s history. Rob’s work has appeared in US News & World Report, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, The New York Times, USA Today, The Miami Herald, The Detroit News & Free Press, and many other newspapers and magazines. Rob has worked for corporate clients like Adidas and Nike. Rob’s work is also on the walls, mantels, mouse pads, frames on desks at work, and refrigerators all over the country.
Ted, associate professor at Columbia College Chicago, worked at the Wexner Center and the Banff Centre for the Arts, collaborated with Paper Tiger Television, shot films for German Television, and exhibited at various festivals and galleries. He often collaborates with his partner Elizabeth Coffman. Their past efforts include the documentary about Bosnia, One More Mile: a Dialogue on Nation-Building and the short video and installation Long Distance, the experimental travelogue Digital Afrika, and Veins in the Gulf, a documentary about wetland loss in Louisiana, Ted is currently working on an experimental short about vision; a trans-media project involving German immigration, slavery, and identity in New Orleans; a documentary about mass tourism surrounding a Nazi-planned resort at Prora on the Baltic Sea; and an installation and documentary titled Venice is Singing about the efforts to save Venice, Italy from sinking under the effects of climate change.
Ruth Leitman is an Assistant Professor in Cinema Art + Science at Columbia College Chicago. Through her company Ruthless Films, she has directed six feature length documentary films including Wildwood, NJ, Alma, Lipstick & Dynamite, and Tony & Janina’s American Wedding. Leitman’s films have received funding from Rockefeller Foundation, Paul Robeson Fund, TribeCa Film Institute, Fledgling Fund and Illinois Humanities Council. Her work has been screened at the DGA, The Whitney Biennial, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, HotDocs, TriBeCa and SXSW. Currently, Leitman is directing a segment of Kartemquin Films’ new documentary series for Al Jazeera America, Hard Earned. She is in development on a fiction TV series based on her documentary feature Lipstick & Dynamite.
A native Australian, David Noffs has lived and worked in the Chicago area most of his life. Since 2001, he has worked at Columbia College Chicago as an adjunct faculty member in the Interactive Arts and Media department teaching sound design, web design and programming. In 2005 David joined Columbia College Chicago full time as an Instructional Specialist as part of a Title III grant to oversee the development of online interactive tools for incoming and transfer students. In this capacity, his work in the Center for Innovation in Teaching Excellence has continued to develop. In addition to teaching faculty and staff ways to use Learning Management Systems (on-line coursework, grading, portfolios and advising tools) like Moodle, he co-teaches workshops in exploring pedagogical practices and critical reflection. He also oversees the Moodle and Online Instructional Fellowship programs that support faculty collaboration and the use of technology to enhance online, hybrid and flipped course teaching and learning.
Prior to that, David was involved in the Avant-Garde Music movement in Chicago and was an early innovator of the “Performance Art” genre. He was a founding member of Musica Menta, along with Don Malone, Michael Zerang , Kent Kessler, Katherine Hughes, Eric Neumann and Dan Scanlan.
In the late 1980’s and 90’s he was a co-founder and United Nations delegate for a non-government organization (NGO) that he helped spread worldwide specializing in prevention education. During that time he oversaw the development of interactive programs, printed materials, music and computer software for children ages 5 to 15.
Mr Noffs holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Roosevelt University, a master’s degree in public health from Benedictine University and is a doctoral candidate in professional faculty development at National Louis University.
Elizabeth Nungaray is a Chicago based teatrista, doing any and all aspects of theatre. She is an Artistic Associate at Teatro Luna, America’s only all Latina theatre company. She believes in the power of youth voices, and initiated Teatro Vida, a space for teen girls in Little Village. As part of a festival, Elizabeth performed her solo performance Color Me Blind in Stratford Circus, London, UK.
Teresa Puente, assistant professor in the Journalism department, is exploring the emerging use of new technologies through the diverse subjects covered in her courses – multimedia, ethnic media and travel writing. Prior to joining the faculty at Columbia, Puente worked at the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, and taught at the Tecnologico de Monterrey in Guadalajara.
Jackie Spinner is an assistant professor of journalism at Columbia College Chicago.She was a staff writer for The Washington Post for 14 years and covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Jackie left the Post in 2009 and founded Angel Says: Read, an international literacy project based in Belize, Central America. In 2010, she returned to Iraq to start the award-winning AUI-S Voice, Iraq’s first independent student newspaper at The American University of Iraq. She was a U.S. Fulbright Scholar in Oman and taught journalism at Sultan Qaboos University in 2010-2011, where she founded Al Mir’ah, the university’s first independent student newspaper. In 2011, she was named Fishback Visiting Writer at Washington and Lee University.
Megan Stielstra is the author of the story collection, Everyone Remain Calm, a Chicago Tribune Favorite of 2011, and her personal essay collection, Once I Was Cool, is forthcoming in May of 2014. Her fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals including The Best American Essays 2013, The Rumpus, PANK, Other Voices, f Magazine, Make Magazine, Pindeldyboz, and Swink. She serves as the Literary Director of the critically-acclaimed 2nd Story storytelling series and has told stories for theaters and festivals around the country including the Goodman, the Steppenwolf, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Neo-Futurarium, and The Paper Machete live news magazine at The Green Mill. Currently, she teaches writing and performance at Columbia College Chicago and is the Associate Director of The Center For Innovation in Teaching Excellence. She is also faculty in creative nonfiction at Northwestern University, a lecturer in creative writing at the University of Chicago, and a 3Arts Teaching Artist Award Finalist for her work with 2nd Story, helping people of all ages get their stories on the page.