Rachel Dickson is an independent documentary filmmaker based in Chicago. Before working in film, she worked as a print and radio journalist in Latin America. She is currently the Supervising Producer of The School Project, a series of short documentaries and webisodes about public education collaboratively produced by Kartemquin Films, Kindling Group, Media Process Group, Siskel/Jacobs Productions, and Free Spirit Media.
She is also a producer on ’63 Boycott, a Kartemquin production directed by Gordon Quinn, and has worked in various capacities on a handful of Kartemquin projects, including research, translation, media management, camera, and sound. Those projects include Hard Earned, Almost There, The Homestretch, In the Game, and The Prosecutors. Last year she was a producer for Central Standard on Education, WTTW/ Channel 11’s first web series. She is currently directing her own short verite film on school closings called Closed for Good.
Rachel is a proud graduate of Chicago Public Schools. She studied International Studies and Spanish at Kenyon College in Ohio, and has since lived abroad in Colombia, Guatemala, Venezuela, and Cuba. She studied Cinematography at the University of Antioquia in Colombia. Her second home is in Medellin, Colombia.
Tracye A. Matthews
Tracye A. Matthews is a historian, curator, and documentary filmmaker. She is currently the associate director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago, where she served as a Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in 2004-2005.
Matthews was the media curator for the Teen Chicago Project (2004) at the Chicago Historical Society (CHS—now Chicago History Museum). In 2003, she curated Harold Washington: The Man and The Movement, a major exhibition at CHS commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the election of Chicago’s first Black mayor. Dr. Matthews previously served as a public historian and project coordinator of Neighborhoods: Keepers of Culture, also at the Chicago Historical Society. In 2006, Dr. Matthews served on the steering committee for the National Museum of Mexican Art’s (NNMA) groundbreaking exhibition, The African Presence in Mexico: From Yanga to the Present. She also produced a video installation and organized scholarly symposiums on Afro-Mexican studies at both the NNMA and the DuSable Museum of African American History. In 2010, she wrote the historical script for the National Urban League’s Centennial Exhibition, which is currently touring the U.S.
Matthews’ other involvement in documentary film and video projects includes work at the awardwinning ROJA Productions, TV Gals Productions and Firelight Media in New York City; and Our Film Works, Exhibit Media, Juneteenth Productions and the Morten Group in Chicago. She has also served on review panels for the National Black Programming Consortium and the Independent Television Service (ITVS). Presently, Matthews is in pre-production on a semi-autobiographical documentary exploring adoption in African American communities.
Matthews was previously an assistant professor in the Africana Studies Department at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her work has been published in numerous anthologies and journals including Race and Class, Sisters in Struggle: African American Women in the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement, The Black Panther Party Reconsidered, and Black Women in the United States: An Historical Encyclopedia. She is currently writing a book on the gender and sexual politics of the Black Panther Party.
Ms. Matthews earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and master’s and doctorate in American History from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
Gordon Quinn—Artistic Director and founding member of Kartemquin Films—has been making documentaries for 50 years. In his first film, Home for Life, heralded as “an extraordinarily moving documentary” by Roger Ebert, he established the direction of his life and career: storytelling that examines the broader culture through the unfolding lives of real people.
A longtime activist for public and community media, Quinn was integral to the creation of ITVS, public access television in Chicago, The Documentary Filmmakers Statement of Best Practice in Fair Use, and in forming the Indie Caucus to hold PBS accountable. Quinn has inspired an immeasurable number of media makers whose films have won numerous awards and left a lasting impact on millions of viewers.
With Kartemquin, Gordon has created a legacy that inspires young filmmakers and provides a unique structure for the collaborative creation of high-quality, social-issue documentaries. Kartemquin’s best-known film to date, Hoop Dreams (1994), executive produced by Quinn, was released theatrically to unprecedented critical acclaim.
Gordon continues his legacy of excellence in filmmaking with Minding the Gap and America to Me, both executive produced by Quinn and both world premiering at Sundance Film Festival 2018. Quinn also executive produced the 2018 Academy Award® nominated films Edith+Eddie and Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.
About the Film
On October 22, 1963, more than 250,000 students boycotted the Chicago Public Schools to protest racial segregation. Many marched through the city calling for the resignation of School Superintendent Benjamin Willis, who placed trailers, dubbed ‘Willis Wagons,’ on playgrounds and parking lots of overcrowded black schools rather than let them enroll in nearby white schools. Blending unseen 16mm footage of the march shot by Kartemquin founder Gordon Quinn with the participants’ reflections today, ’63 Boycott connects the forgotten story of one of the largest northern civil rights demonstrations to contemporary issues around race, education, school closings, and youth activism.