Margaret Byrne to preview upcoming ‘Raising Bertie’ for audiences


April 22, 2014


Media Contact: 

Frances Cedro

Beti Films


Margaret Byrne to preview upcoming ‘Raising Bertie’ for audiences

Director to screen excerpts of feature documentary at Kartemquin 2014 Spring Showcase

Director and Beti Films founder Margaret Byrne will screen excerpts of her upcoming feature documentary, Raising Bertie, at the 3rd Annual Kartemquin Spring Showcase on Friday, May 2nd at 8:30 p.m. at the Gene Siskel Film Center. Also presenting with Byrne will be the film’s Director of Photography and Co-Producer Jon Stuyvesant. The event will feature other works in progress including the upcoming Kartemquin-produced six-part documentary Hard Earned for Al-Jazeera America; Generation Food, an upcoming feature documentary from Hoop Dreams and The Interrupters director Steve James; and In the Game by Maria Finitzo. Raising Bertie is Executive Produced by Kartemquin’s Justine Nagan and Gordon Quinn. 

“I’m thrilled to be premiering a sneak peak of our film, Raising Bertie, at the May 2nd Kartemquin Showcase,” said Byrne. “Making Raising Bertie over the last five years has been a life changing experience.” 

“This project has turned Bertie into a second home for me and I hope the imagery in this film shows the respect I have for this beautiful community,” said Stuyvesant. “We cannot wait to share this film with a larger audience and show people the gift these brave young men have given us by sharing their lives with us and allowing us to become part of their families.”  

“It’s a real pleasure to be working on such a beautiful and complex film,” said Editor Leslie Simmer. “Margaret has a gorgeous aesthetic, and that combined with her intimate access into the lives of her subjects will make this film unique and memorable.”

Raising Bertie is a Kartemquin and Beti Films co-production directed by Margaret Byrne and shot by Jon Stuyvesant. The film follows three young men over the course of five years as they grow into adulthood in Bertie County, a small African American-led farming community in North Carolina.Through the intimate portrayal of these young men, we see the issues facing America’s rural youth and the repercussions of a woefully underfunded rural public school system. Their stories shed light on the complex relationships between family, economics and education. The film has already received attention from IndieWire, an online daily news site for the independent film community and leading source of information on independent films.

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About Beti Films

Beti Films is an independent film company specializing in visually rich, socially minded content. Founded in 2004 by Margaret Byrne, Beti Films has worked on countless projects across the globe. We believe that storytelling has the power to impact lives and be a catalyst for change. 

About Kartemquin Films

Kartemquin Films is a home for independent media makers who seek to create social change through film. With a noted tradition of nurturing emerging talent and acting as a leading voice for independent media, Kartemquin is building on over 45 years of being Chicago’s documentary powerhouse. Kartemquin is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization.

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Sneak Preview of Kartemquin Films’ Documentary-In-Progress ‘Raising Bertie’ In Chicago 5/2

by Sergio via IndieWIRE

Just last week, I reported on a new cable TV documentary series, Hard Earned, being produced by Al Jazeera America and the Chicago-based Kartemquin Films, about the struggles of low income families (HERE).

But that’s not the only documentary that Kartmequin Films has on its slate - a company responsible for some of the most important and acclaimed documentaries made during the last 20 years such as Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters, The Trials of Muhammad Ali, and the soon-to-be released documentary on the late film critic, Roger Ebert, Life Itself,.

They also have currently in the works, Raising Bertie, produced by Kartemquin co founder Gordon Quinnand Justine Nagan, and directed and produced by Margaret Byrne, which deals with "three young men as they grow into adulthood in a community where expectations are low and fighting is a way of life. In rural Bertie County, an African American led community in North Carolina, their leaders have the opportunity to improve the futures of their youth… and one women’s attempt to elevate Bertie’s underprivileged youth and raise their expectations for their future."

Now, Raising Bertie, along with Hard Earned, and two other works-in-progress - In the Game, about “how race, gender and class impact, the life of  a soccer coach and the young women he is committed to helping, andGeneration Food, about how a worldwide broken down food distribution system enables billions of people to be overweight, while at the same time billions go hungry - will be sneak-previewed at the Gene Siskel Film Center in downtown Chicago, on Friday May 2nd, starting at 8:30PM.

Tickets are now currently on sale; to get yours and to find out more info about the screening program, go HERE.

IndieWIRE Shadow and Act: on Cinema of the Diaspora | Sneak Preview of Kartemquin Films’ Documentary-In-Progress ‘Raising Bertie’ In Chicago 5/2

Making an Impact

Making an Impact

Margaret Byrne (BFA, 1998): UIC to Nigeria to Sundance to MacArthur Grant

“In the stories I tell, I hope to bring forward the essence of life in both it’s triumphs and struggles, “  Byrne said about her current work, “because they’re interrelated and in documentary, the most remarkable part is the relationships you make because you have been granted a unique license to witness who they are.”