Debra Tolchinsky, founding director of Northwestern University's MFA in documentary media (6/2013 – 8/2018) and associate professor/associate chair of RTVF, is a documentary filmmaker and curator. She received an AB from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been seen at Sundance, The John F. Kennedy Center, the Gene Siskel Film Center, and the Supreme Court Institute. She directed and produced the feature Fast Talk concerning competitive college debate. Fast Talk won Best Documentary at the LA Femme International Film Festival as well as the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival, and has been spotlighted in the National Law Journal, the Onion A.V. Club, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. In 2017, Debra co-ranked No. 7 on New City's Film 50 and she was awarded a 2017-18 Fellowship from the Alice B. Kaplan Institute for the Humanities. Most recently, she was awarded a Kartemquin Partner Program Sage Fund grant.



Joel McGinty, a native Californian, started in production as a camera and jib operator for TV news. After gaffing music videos that made their way to MTV, VH1, and BET, he gained broad experience in cinematography through feature films, shorts, live events, commercials, and documentaries. He witnessed firsthand the power of documentary film to impact people’s lives when his first film, Cocal Gracias, was the catalyst for the formation of a thriving trade school in Honduras. Joel currently works as a director of photography at L37 and has been filming with TMOF since 2015.



Shuling Yong is a Singapore-born, Chicago-based documentary filmmaker, sound recordist and DP with a passion for social change. She has worked on films like Radical Grace (Hot Docs, 2015, dir. Rebecca Parrish), America To Me (Sundance, 2018, dir. Steve James), and And She Could Be Next (dir. Grace Lee and Marjan Safinia).

Shuling is a Tribeca Film Institute program alum, a Kartemquin Films Diverse Voices in Docs Fellow, a participating filmmaker at the BRITDOC Queer Impact Producers Lab, the DocNet Southeast Asia Strategy Workshop and the KOMAS Video For Change Forum.



David E. Tolchinsky’s work has been seen at such venues as Sundance, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Kennedy Center, and distributed in theatres, on DVD and on iTunes/Amazon Prime. His film credits include Creature Companion (producer, Special Mention, International Jury, Oberhausen);  Cassandra (writer/director/composer, currently in post), Fast Talk (producer), The Coming of Age (producer/screenwriter, Winner, Silver Medal, LA Film Review), Girl (associate producer/screenwriter, from Sony, starring Selma Blair and Tara Reid), The Personal Life of Mr. Phelps (producer/writer/director/composer, premiered at Sundance), and St. Catherine’s Wedding Ring (co-producer/co-director/composer, premiered at Sundance).  He was co-ranked no. 7 on New City's Film 50 2017: Chicago Screen GemsHe is the co-director of Northwestern’s MFA program in screenwriting and attended Yale (BA) and USC (MFA). More at (Photo by Joe Mazza)


Outreach and engagement Producer

Joan Sherman is a program, strategy, and evaluation consultant with expertise in a range of fields, including human rights, criminal justice, gender equity, social justice, philanthropy, and community engagement. A specialist in designing and implementing strategic plans, Joan helps her clients envision and achieve ambitious goals. She has worked for CARE International, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Northwestern University, Children’s Place International, and the Libra Foundation.


Associate Producer

Claire Tuft is a Brooklyn-based writer, producer, and production manager. Previous projects include, Co-Producer for Ms. White Light (starring Judith Light and Roberta Colindrez, Official Selection: SXSW 2019) and Production Manager for The Miseducation of Bindu (Executive Produced by Duplass Brothers Productions). For the past year she has also served as the Director of Development for Pigasus Pictures, an Indiana/New York-based production company. She is currently in development and attached to produce So Cold the River, adapted from Michael Koryta's NYTimes best-selling novel


Executive Producer

JOLENE PINDER joined Kartemquin Films as Executive Director in May 2019, having served as Executive Director of #CreateLouisiana since 2017, where she spearheaded statewide and regional advocacy efforts and grant-making initiatives. Pinder previously led the New Orleans Film Society as Executive Director between 2011-2017, where she increased the budget by 400% and grew annual attendance at the New Orleans Film Festival by 250%; launched signature programs to support Southern storytellers and advocate for a more equitable, inclusive landscape; and conceived of and secured funding for the acclaimed Southern Producers Lab. Pinder also has independent production experience as Producer of 2018 DOC NYC selection All Skinfolk Ain’t Kinfolk and the forthcoming Sundance Institute and IDA-funded Hollow Tree, and from earlier in her career producing (A)Sexual and working in various roles on documentaries such as Arctic Son and Election Day during her period as a staff producer at Arts Engine / Big Mouth Productions.


Executive Producer

GORDON QUINN is the Artistic and co-founder of Kartemquin Films, where over the past 50+ years he has helped hundreds of documentary filmmakers advance their projects forward and been a leading champion of the rights of all documentary filmmakers. He is the 2015 recipient of the International Documentary Association Career Achievement Award and was a key leader in creating the Documentary Filmmakers Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use. His credits as director and producer include films as diverse and essential as '63 Boycott (2017), Inquiring Nuns (1966), Golub (1988), and A Good Man (2011), and as executive producer include Academy-Award nominated films Minding the Gap (2018), Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (2016), Hoop Dreams (1994), and the Emmy Award-winning The Interrupters (2011), The Trials of Muhammad Ali (2013), The Homestretch (2014), and Life Itself (2014), and the acclaimed limited series The New Americans (2003) and Hard Earned (2015).


Consulting editor

Lindsay Utz is an award-winning documentary editor. Her most recent film, American Factory (dir. by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert) is the first film acquired by the Obamas' Higher Ground Productions. Her previous film, Quest (dir. Jonathan Olshefski), is a portrait of a family from North Philadelphia, ten years in the making. Quest premiered at Sundance in 2017 to critical acclaim and the film went on to win top prizes at multiple prestigious festivals. In 2018 Lindsay won the Cinema Eye Honors award for Outstanding Achievement in Editing for her work on the film.  Her other credits include the Oscar-shortlisted Bully (Tribeca FF 2011), First Position (TIFF 2011), Buoy (Ashland FF 2013), In Country (Full Frame 2014), two Emmy-nominated FRONTLINE episodes (PBS 2015/2016) and multiple shorts for the New York Times. In 2012 Utz was awarded the Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship, named in honor of Errol Morris’s late editor.