Google Hangouts with Guilherme Becker of Brazil and Gordon Quinn and Peter Kuttner of Kartemquin Films

I’m back.

It’s been a hectic January, with plenty of posting for Hoy, applying for various options, selling On My Teacher’s Shoulders and traveling to New York for my last Dart Society board meeting.

We’ve also been pushing the video front at Hoy.

Under the vision of Fernando Diaz, and with the help of our ace videographers Samuel Vega and Tino Morales, we’ve been recording a lot of Google Hangouts with various newsmakers and pundits.

Earlier this week I spoke with Guilherme Becker. He’s a Brazilian journalists who shared heartbreaking details of the Kiss Nightclub fire.

Guilherme spoke movingly about what had happened and of the responsibility he feels as a journalist to continue to inform the public and the world of the latest developments.

We also spoke with Gordon Quinn and Peter Kuttner of Kartemquin Films.

For those who don’t know, Kartemquin has been around for close to 50 years, making documentary films that tell the stories of social issues, movements and struggles.

Gordon produced Hoop Dreams, which is on my short list of favorite movies of all time, while Peter has worked on many projects, including an important film about former Chicago Police Department Commander John Burge.

Burge, who is currently serving a prison term, was responsible for the torture of close to 100 black and Latino men. The methods he and others used to extract confessions were very similar to those use in apartheid South Africa.

Burge’s misdeeds were exposed by John Conroy, the venerable reporter for the Chicago Reader. Conroy’s work eventually pushed former Gov. George Ryan, who was released from prison this week, to call a moratorium on the death penalty in Illinois-a decision that led to Ryan’s being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize shortly before his indictment on corruption charges.

Here is the video of the conversation with Gordon and Peter. It was one of many moments when I feel particularly grateful to do the work that I do.

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