Recently on CinemaJaw, we had a chance to sit down with one of the city's hardest working film advocates.
We met Beckie Stocchetti last summer while she was still working at Chicago Filmmakers (a terrific resource), and she has since take a position with Kartemquin Films, the acclaimed documentary house perhaps best know for its collaborations with Steve James such as Hoop Dreams, Interrupters and now the Rodger Ebert documentary Life Itself.
Beckie's name can be found in the credits of Life Istelf, and I imagine it will be found on many other important films in the future. Her passion for the art form is a palpable force, and she is always a treat to talk to.
Here is a short bonus interview we did with Beckie exclusively for ChicagoNow. Be sure to click on the very interesting projects that she mentions, and was kind enough to supply us with links to.
CinemaJaw: Lets start from the start what got you interested in film?
Beckie Stocchetti: I got interested in film in college because I thought it seemed like a smarter and more efficient way to progress social change and advance cultural and societal opportunities than politics.
CJ: Tell us a little bit abut your work with Chicago Filmmakers?
BS: With Chicago Filmmakers I help organize some events and audience engagement with the Reeling Film Festival. I also strive to help the board with fundraising for the new Firehouse location, and support the Chicago Digital Media Production Fund, screenings, classes and other programs. Oh, I also helped design the new website! Stay tuned for that, it's not up yet... but soon!
CJ: You now work at Kartemquin Films, what are you doing with them?
BS: With KTQ, I have the pleasure of working in conjunction with the project producers and Distribution and Marketing Director to strategically plan outreach, distribution, and audience engagement campaigns for all the films. I also manage their field building programs - the Diverse Voices in Documentary program which supports filmmakers of color to build diversity in the field, the KTQ Labs program which screens rough cuts of independent docs and provides intimate feedback at critical stages in the production and post-production process, and the internship program.
CJ: You're a film polymath, what else do you spend time on?
I have the honor of writing grants and consulting on program development for the Hawaii International Film Festival. That's a really cool gig because I get to be an integral part of their team - who are all creative geniuses - to raise money (and develop) new and exciting programs like producers labs, workshops, and this one really innovative and exciting new media/tech series that is the brain child of (Programming Director) Anderson Le.
I also had the awesome opportunity to help program this new local Chicago series as part of Movies in the Parks that's launching in September. I don't think that's been publicly announced yet but I'll send you info once it is. Yay for Chicago cinema!
And, I'm working on programming what's bound to be a truly inspirational series on experimental documentaries with one of the most talented and brilliant individuals in Chicago, Christy LeMaster at the Nightengale. So that will be in the Fall. If you have any experimental docs, please send them my way!!!
The most un-glamorous thing I do is transcribe corporate videos online. Does that seem like a lot? Student loans will have me working three jobs until I'm 50! #nonprofitproblems ... have you seen that hilarious blog? But really, crushing student loan debt is a very serious, very real problem.
CJ: Any scoops about upcoming projects you can drop?
BS: THE HOMESTRETCH will be having its big Chicago launch in September. I'm really pumped about that campaign because Anne and Kirsten (the filmmakers) have organized this truly remarkable outreach team that is already starting to make significant connections and calls-to-action for homeless youth. They are really giving this issue a voice and that's what it's all about.
Also, ALMOST THERE is going to be one of the best and most industry-shifting films when it is released. I'm always down for films that spark dialogue, but even more so when that dialogue revolves around documentary ethics. Dan and Aaron are just about the most talented and creative filmmakers I know. They're in the middle of a Kickstarter right now, which is framed around their birthdays, and involves prizes such as glow-in-the-dark buttons, a special sneak preview screening at Pierogi Fest in Indiana, and limited edition/personalized art. I told you they were cool.
Films that are in uber-early stages to keep your eye on are CARBONERDIOUS, and KEEP TALKING. CARBONERDIOUS is this fantastic project about Black Nerd Identity (Blerds), and KEEP TALKING is this incredible piece on the efforts of the Alutiiq people of Alaska trying to save their native language before it dies out with the elders of the village.
I also have to give a shout-out to UNBROKEN GLASS, by emerging doc master-mind Dinesh Sabu; HARD EARNED, which is a 6-part series for Al Jazeera America profiling low income wage workers in America; MORMON MOVIE, by the ever-talented Xan Aranda; and RAISING BERTIE, which is probably the most gorgeous and heart-wrenching doc you can imagine. You should keep your eyes out for these for sure. I mean really, all the projects are amazing. I can't pick one... that's like picking your favorite child. I know you have one but you're not supposed to talk about it.
CJ: Life Itself is in theaters now, and available On Demand, what hand did you have on that project?
BS:My biggest role with LIFE ITSELF is to tell everyone to go see it! And also to help facilitate making that happen. So, go see it!
CJ: Where do you see the state of the Chicago film scene, and what do you think it's future will be?
BS: I think Chicago has really found its ground in the industry. There's such a talented, creative, supportive community of content developers and producers here. I mean, if you want to be part of the "biz" then go to NY or LA. But that model is dying and Chicago is starting to get noticed by "outsiders" as a real place to make independent film. You can tell when this happens because more and more TV shows start to film. Although sometimes it's the other way around. Anyways, Austin TX, the Pacific NW, and even Albuquerque NM, Atlanta, and Louisiana are emerging as top contenders but if you want to make documentaries, there really is no place better than Chicago.
CJ: What's next for you Beckie?
BS: Honestly, I'm trying to save enough money to buy a Stand-Up Paddle Board.
To listen to our entire discussion with Beckie Stocchetti in which we discuss American Movies, Planet of the Apes, Tammy and a have a whole lot of fun click the jaw below or subscribe to our podcast in iTunes.
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