Gadget Girls & ’63 Boycott w/ Risé Sanders-Weir & Gordon Quinn

NR, 60 minutes


GADGET GIRLS & ’63 BOYCOTT screen at the Art as part of our new series: “Stories from the City, Stories from the State: An Illinois Filmmaker Showcase.” The screening will be followed by a discussion with the Directors — Risé Sanders-Weir and Gordon Quinn, respectively — who will be in town for the event. The “Stories from the City, Stories from the State” series spotlights five films by five Illinois filmmakers.



Women and girls have been historically underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. Former Harvard President Larry Summers suggested in 2005 that this underrepresentation was due to innate differences between men and women; that women are genetically less proficient in math and science. The reality is that girls are statistically on par with boys early on. It is during the teen years that girls fall behind.

What propels that decline? Peer pressure. It subtly turns girls away from the hard sciences in middle school and high school, just as they have the chance to get good at it. GADgET Camp introduces middle school girls – some of whom have never even wielded a screwdriver – to what you can do with math and science skills. The film follows the campers as they complete their own designed and executed “gadget”. The girls also reveal the social pressures they encounter when they express an interest in the hard sciences. GADgET Camp is on a mission to build self-confidence one drill bit at a time.



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. (2016, a film by Rachel Dickson, Tracye A. Matthews, & Gordon Quinn, 31 mins, NR, DCP)

“While the 1963 boycott did not achieve its specific demands, it is clear from the recollections of multiple participants that it sparked something, including a desire to achieve personal educational goals, a long-term interest in community activism and school improvement, and an awareness of injustices that weren’t just happening in another part of the country.” Mark Walsh, Education Week

“‘63 BOYCOTT is a timely look backward as the U.S. public education system stands vulnerably in the crosshairs of public officials who seem determined to destroy it.” –Marilyn Ferdinand,


About Gordon Quinn

 Artistic Director and founding member of Kartemquin Films, Gordon Quinn has been making documentaries for over 50 years. Roger Ebert, of the Chicago Sun Times, called his first film Home for Life (1966) “an extraordinarily moving documentary.” With Home for Life Gordon established the direction he would take for the next four decades, making cinema vérité films that investigate and critique society by documenting the unfolding lives of real people.

At Kartemquin, Gordon created a legacy that is an inspiration for young filmmakers and a home where they can make high-quality, social-issue documentaries. Kartemquin’s best known film, Hoop Dreams, executive produced by Gordon, was released theatrically to unprecedented critical acclaim. Its many honors include: the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, The Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, Chicago Film Critics Award; Best Picture, Los Angeles Film Critics Association; Best Documentary and an Academy Award Nomination.

Other films Gordon has made include Vietnam, Long Time Coming, Golub, 5 Girls, Refrigerator Mothers, and Stevie. Gordon executive-produced The New Americans, The Homestretch and Raising Bertie, to name a few.

Gordon is a supporter of public and community media, and has served on the boards of several organizations including The Illinois Humanities Council, Chicago Access Network Television, and The Public Square Advisory Committee, The Illinois Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. A key leader in creating the Documentary Filmmakers Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use, Gordon encourages filmmakers to educate themselves on the tenets of the fair use doctrine, frequently speaking to the media, legal, and educational communities about this fundamental right.

As well executive producing all of Kartemquin’s in-progress films, he is currently developing ’63 Boycott, which chronicles Chicago’s biggest ever civil rights march––the Chicago School boycott of 1963.

Gordon has won numerous awards throughout his career, including three Emmy awards. He has been honored by the International Documentary Association (IDA) with their 2015 Career Achievement Award; was the recipient of the Hot Springs Documentary Festival’s 2014 Career Achievement Award; was honored with a special tribute at the 2015 Houston Cinema Arts Festival; received CIMMfest’s 2016 BAADASSSSS Award, which honors distinguished careers and lifetime achievement in movies and music; was honored by the 2016 St. Louis International Film Festival’s Maysles Brothers Lifetime Achievement Award in Documentary.


About Risé Sanders-Weir

Risé Sanders-Weir is a filmmaker and film educator. Currently she is Kartemquin Film’s Director of Production. She is series producer for their upcoming 10-hour America to Me series that will air on STARZ in the fall of 2018. This in-depth look at inequity in academic achievement between black and white students premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018.

Sanders-Weir has directed and produced documentaries for the past 20 years. Her work has been recognized with Emmy and Hugo awards as well as nominations for an NAACP Image award and an MPSE Golden Reel award. Her work has been seen on PBS, History, National Geographic, CNBC, A&E, The Weather Channel, MSNBC and others.

For ten years she was Executive Producer at Vagabond Audio, providing audio post for radio/TV/web/film. She has created audio tours for museums and other institutions, such as the Getty Museum, the Smithsonian, MOMA, Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Art Institute of Chicago. She has taught filmmaking and film history at both Triton College and Columbia College Chicago.

Sanders-Weir received a BA from Washington University in St. Louis and an MFA in Film/Video at Columbia College Chicago. She lives in Oak Park, IL.


The Stories from the City, Stories from the State series is presented with support from

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