Gordon Quinn, Co-Founder of Kartemquin Films, Diagnosed With COVID-19

Gordon Quinn - Getty - H 2020
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He has produced documentaries including the Oscar-nominated 'Hoop Dreams' and 'Minding the Gap.'

Gordon Quinn, a producer and co-founder of Kartemquin Films, the Chicago-based company behind such acclaimed documentaries as Hoop Dreams and Minding the Gap, has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Quinn, 77, was put on a ventilator at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago after apparently contracting the virus at the March 1-4 Australian International Documentary Conference in Melbourne, according to a note posted Thursday by friend Jenny Rohrer.

"Please pray, wish hard or do whatever you can to bring good health back to this wonderful man," she wrote.

With Quinn as artistic director, Kartemquin was honored with an institutional Peabody Award last year for "its commitment to unflinching documentary filmmaking and telling an American history rooted in social justice and the stories of the marginalized."

Quinn was an executive producer on the Oscar-nominated Hoop Dreams (1994), which followed the lives of William Gates and Arthur Agee, two Chicago inner-city high school basketball stars, for five years. 

He also exec produced Minding the Gap (2019), directed by Bing Liu; that doc received an Oscar nom (and an Emmy nom) as well.

Born in 1942 in Washington, D.C., Quinn was one of several University of Chicago graduates who launched Kartemquin in 1966. (The company's name comes from bits of the surnames of Stan Karter, Jerry Temaner and Quinn.)

He directed and co-produced Kartemquin's first film, Home for Life (1967), about an elderly man and woman making the transition to living in an assisted-care facility.

Quinn worked on dozens of other documentaries, including The Last Pullman Car (1983), Vietnam, Long Time Coming (1998), Stevie (2002), No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson (2010), The Trials of Muhammad Ali (2013) and Life Itself (2014).