Sparking democracy through documentary since 1966, Kartemquin is a collaborative community that empowers documentary makers who create stories that foster a more engaged and just society.
Our films have received four Academy Award® nominations and won several major prizes, including five Emmys® and two Peabody Awards. Recognized as a leading advocate for independent public media, Kartemquin has helped hundreds of artists via its filmmaker development programs.
Recent productions include 2019 Oscar® nominee Minding the Gap, and 2018 Oscar® nominees Abacus: Small Enough to Jail and Edith + Eddie, and 2018's best reviewed TV series, America to Me. Other recent productions include the Emmy-winning Life Itself, The Homestretch, The Interrupters, and The Trials of Muhammad Ali, the Dupont award-winning series Hard Earned; and Raising Bertie, All the Queen’s Horses, Keep Talking, and ‘63 Boycott.
Kartemquin is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization based in Chicago. www.kartemquin.com
A ferocious kill on the Serengeti… dire warnings about endangered species… These clichés of nature documentaries ignore a key feature of the landscape: villagers just off-camera, who navigate the dangers and costs of living with wildlife on a daily basis. When seen at all, rural Africans are often depicted as the problem – they poach animals and encroach on habitat, they spoil our myth of wild Africa.
Milking the Rhino tells a more nuanced tale of human-wildlife coexistence in post-colonial Africa. The Maasai tribe of Kenya and Namibia's Himba – two of Earth's oldest cattle cultures – are in the midst of upheaval. Emerging from a century of "white man conservation," which turned their lands into game reserves and fueled resentment towards wildlife, Himba and Maasai communities are now vying for a piece of the wildlife-tourism pie.
Community-based conservation, which tries to balance the needs of wildlife and people, has been touted by environmentalists as "win-win." The reality is more complex. "We never used to benefit from these animals," a Maasai host of a community eco-lodge explains. "Now we milk them like cattle!" His neighbor disagrees: "A rhino means nothing to me! I can't kill it for meat like a cow." And when drought decimates the grass shared by livestock and wildlife, the community's commitment to conservation is sorely tested.
Charting the collision of ancient ways with Western expectations, Milking the Rhino tells intimate, hopeful and heartbreaking stories of people facing deep cultural change.