Kartemquin producing “Hard Earned” for Al Jazeera

Hoop Dreams director Steve James (pictured) is exec producing a six-part series about low-wage workers that will air on U.S. net Al Jazeera America in 2015.
April 17, 2014

Al Jazeera America and Chicago-based Kartemquin Films are producing Hard Earned, a doc series about low-wage workers that will air on the U.S. cable net in 2015.

Production has begun on the six-part series, which will profile families struggling to make ends meet in San Francisco, Washington DC, Milwaukee and the Chicago area. Executive producers on the project are Kartemquin’s Gordon Quinn, Justine Nagan and Hoop Dreams and Life Itself director Steve James (pictured).

The directors working on Hard Earned are Katy Chevigny (E-Team), Maria Finitzo (Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita), Ruth Leitman (Tony and Janina’s American Wedding), Brad Lichtenstein (As Goes Janesville), and Joanna Rudnick (On Beauty).

“In the last year, we’ve seen low-wage work move to the forefront of the national conversation,” Quinn said in a statement. “This shift gives us an opportunity to take the conversation a step further and look at the consequences of low-wage work on employees, their families, and their communities.”

“Low wage jobs are the fastest growing sector of employment in the American economy,” added James. “Yet the challenges of living on $8, $10 or even $15 an hour are still invisible to many Americans.”

Al Jazeera America airs documentaries on Sunday nights as part of its ‘Al Jazeera America Presents’ strand. On May 18, the network will premiere The System with Joe Berlinger, an eight-episode series that explores the U.S. criminal justice system.

James’ documentary biopic about late film critic Roger Ebert, Life Itself, is due out in cinemas this summer and will air on CNN later in the year.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor-in-chief and content director for Realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to Realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.