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Kartemquin Films co-founder Gordon Quinn making “slow and steady” recovery from COVID-19

Kartemquin Films co-founder and Hoop Dreams producer Gordon Quinn is on a “slow and steady” road to recovery weeks after being diagnosed with COVID-19. The 77-year-old Chicago documentary filmmaker was admitted to Northwestern Memorial ...
April 2, 2020

Kartemquin Films co-founder and Hoop Dreams producer Gordon Quinn is on a “slow and steady” road to recovery weeks after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

The 77-year-old Chicago documentary filmmaker was admitted to Northwestern Memorial Hospital and placed on a ventilator on March 18 after seemingly contracting the novel coronavirus during a trip to Australia for the Australian International Documentary Conference, according to former Kartemquin partner Jenny Rohrer. AIDC took place in Melbourne from March 1-4.

On March 29, Quinn was removed from the intensive care unit and began physical therapy before being placed back on a ventilator a day later (March 30) “due to some fluid buildup in his lungs. A couple of hours later, they were able to determine the source of and correct the fluid problem,” reads an update from Maggie Bowman on the charitable non-profit site CaringBridge.

A further update shared by Quinn’s wife, Meg Gerken, on April 1, however, noted that the filmmaker is in “stable condition” and remains on a ventilator.

“In communications with his medical team, they’ve shared that the nature of his condition at this stage is chronic (as opposed to acute) and that there’s still a slow and steady road ahead (think marathon instead of sprint),” reads the April 1 update.

“Since Gordon Quinn was hospitalized on March 18, we have been so moved and strengthened by the outpouring of support from around the world,” said Kartemquin executive director Jolene Pinder in a statement. “Our community has rallied and shared inventive support online through the #WhiteSocksforGordon campaign, providing some positive healing that we are sure Gordon felt as he battled this. His good friends Steve Bognar and Julia Reichert even made this wonderfully funny and sweet video. Through it all we have been posting daily updates on CaringBridge and some of the comments there from the global documentary community have been a true testament to how beloved Gordon is and the impact he has had on so many people in his long career.

“Gordon is a fighter and the truth is that fighting this virus is a marathon, not a sprint. We remain united in hope that his recovery will continue, and we urge everyone to continue wearing their white socks and sending him positive support.”

As a documentary filmmaker, Quinn co-founded Kartemquin Films in 1966 with a goal of creating documentaries exploring social issues, having co-produced the organization’s debut film, Home for Life (1967), which profiled the lives of two elderly people as they transitioned into an assisted-care facility.

Notably, Quinn served as an executive producer on Steve James‘ Chicago basketball documentary Hoop Dreams, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1994.

He now is Kartemquin’s artistic director and most recently executive produced Bing Liu’s coming-of-age doc Minding the Gap, which picked up Oscar and Emmy nominations last year.

Quinn’s additional documentary credits include The Last Pullman Car (1983); Taylor Chain (1985); Vietnam, Long Time Coming (1998), Stevie (2002); In the Family (2008); Typeface (2009); The Interrupters (2011)A Good Man (2011); The Trials of Muhammad Ali (2013); and Life Itself (2014), among many others.

Photo courtesy Kartemquin Films

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news editor at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joined the RS team in 2015 with experience in journalism following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and with communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.

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