Private Project

Story & Pictures By

STORY & PICTURES BY is the first feature documentary to take audiences behind the scenes of the new golden age of children’s picture books. Featuring Christian Robinson, Yuyi Morales, and Mac Barnett - whose work is often inspired by the difficult realities of childhood, our society, and their own lives - the film also uses rare archival and stop-motion paper animation to show why classics such as Goodnight Moon, Where the Wild Things Are, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and The Snowy Day changed the art form and stand the test of time. The film reveals that the best picture books push boundaries, champion the marginalized, and provide children with windows and mirrors, even when their own lives are not fairy tales.

  • Gordon Quinn
    Executive Producer
    Artistic Director and founder of Kartemquin Films, Gordon’s documentaries include Home for Life, Taylor Chain, The Last Pullman Car, Golub, Hoop Dreams, Vietnam, Long Time Coming, Stevie and The New Americans. Recently he directed Prisoner of Her Past, A Good Man and 63'Boycott, shortlisted for the Oscar. He was EP on The Interrupters, The Trials of Muhammad Ali, The Homestretch, Life Itself , and America To Me and Oscar nominated Edith and Eddie, Abacus, and Minding The Gap. Gordon helped create the Documentary Filmmakers Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use and speaks on Public media, Fair Use, and documentary ethics. He has been honored with numerous career achievement awards including by the IDA in 2015.
  • Eli Olson
    Editor
    Eli Olson is an Emmy® Award winning documentary filmmaker and storyteller. Most recently, Eli had four films she edited: From Baghdad to the Bay, Time for Ilhan, I Am Maris and Who Killed Lt. Van Dorn? Lt. Van Dorn won the Active Cinema Audience Award at Mill Valley Film Festival; Baghdad to the Bay won Best Documentary at Cinequest 2018, and Time for Ilhan was an official selection for the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. Eli won an Emmy® for her work on My Flesh and Blood (HBO), which also took Best Documentary honors as well as the Audience Award and Best Director prize at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. She also edited and co-directed Stories from Tohuku, which took the Jury Prize at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and later aired on PBS.
  • Robin Mortarotti
    Director of Photography
    Robin Mortarotti is an award-winning filmmaker with over thirty-five years experience as a director of photography, producer, and editor on feature, documentary, commercial, and promotional films. He has been the recipient of numerous national and international awards including: a C.I.N.E. Golden Eagle; a local daytime Emmy; an Academy Award nomination for Enrique’s Story, produced for the California State Library Literacy Services and narrated by James Earl Jones; a Llibre Award for over two decades of outstanding creative work and public service on behalf of literacy, libraries, books and reading; and a Telly Award for Give Where You Live for local area food banks.
  • Kartemquin Films
    In Association With
    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. Kartemquin's films have received four Academy Award® nominations, and won six Emmys® and three Peabody Awards, among several more major prizes. In 2019, Kartemquin was recognized with an Institutional Peabody Award for "its commitment to unflinching documentary filmmaking and telling an American history rooted in social justice and the stories of the marginalized." Recognized as a leading advocate for public media, Kartemquin has helped hundreds of artists via its filmmaker development programs and championing of documentary. Kartemquin is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization based in Chicago.
  • William Ryan Fritch
    Composer
    William Ryan Fritch is an award winning composer, multi-instrumentalist, and producer. Since 2008, he has scored and/or contributed original music to over a hundred documentary and narrative films, many of which have been recognized and celebrated by festivals and organizations such as The Independent Spirit Award winning "The Waiting Room" and the 2016 Academy Award and Emmy nominated documentary "4.1 Miles." His compositions and songs have been featured in films, shows and miniseries for Netflix, HBO, Amazon, AMC, National Geographic, NBC, Hulu, CBS, IFC, Showtime, Discovery, and PBS. In addition to his commissioned film work he has created music for dozens of national ad campaigns, including multiple Webby and Tribeca X award winning works for Square, Google and Dropbox. As a recording artist and songwriter he has released nearly 30 albums of his unique amalgam of folk, contemporary classical, and experimental music through the respected independent record label Lost Tribe Sound. The distinctly raw, textured and organic sound of his music comes from his peculiar talents as an instrumentalist and hands - on arranger; using a vast and varied array of live, acoustic and analog instrumentation to fully realize his scores.
  • Emma Hsu Jackson
    Associate Producer
    Emma Hsu Jackson is a producer, assistant editor, and documentary filmmaker. She has experience producing and editing story-driven content for documentaries, podcasts, non-profit organizations, and political campaigns. Additionally, she produced, shot, and edited a short film for the temporary exhibition “Camilla’s Purse” at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
  • Yuyi Morales
    Key Cast
    http://www.yuyimorales.com/2.htm
  • Christian Robinson
    Key Cast
    https://www.theartoffun.com/
  • Mac Barnett
    Key Cast
    https://www.macbarnett.com/books
  • Korelan Matteson
    Producer
    Korelan Matteson has worked as a writer, director, producer, development executive, and show-runner of non-fiction television and documentary films for two decades. Her last feature documentary, “They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead”, directed by Morgan Neville for Netflix, told the tale of Orson Welles’s final, unfinished film and premiered at Telluride and Venice. She also produced, “Nobody Speak: Trials of The Free Press” for director Brian Knappenberger, which premiered at Sundance. Her television credits include series for Discovery, Science Channel, ABC, FX, ESPN, Travel Channel, A&E and NatGeo.
  • Tim Horsburgh
    Producer
    Tim Horsburgh is an independent producer and distribution consultant. Current clients include National Geographic Documentary Films, covering the production and distribution of films such as FIRE OF LOVE, THE TERRITORY, WE FEED PEOPLE, TORN, THE FIRST WAVE, THE RESCUE, BECOMING COUSTEAU and FAUCI. Between 2009-2021 he held various roles at Kartemquin Films, a period in which the organization received three Academy Award nominations, won five Emmy Awards, and was the recipient of an Institutional Peabody Award. As Kartemquin’s Director of Film Strategy, he managed an annual slate of 20+ original documentaries, covering acquisitions, development, financing, creative guidance, production management, business affairs, marketing and distribution on titles including MINDING THE GAP, EDITH+EDDIE, and ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL. Tim's experience covers the theatrical, broadcast, and digital releases of over 60 completed films, series, and shorts; founding and managing artist development programs; leading advocacy movements on behalf of the independent documentary field; and teaching and consulting on audience engagement and impact campaign strategies.
  • Joanna Rudnick
    Director
    Joanna Rudnick is an Emmy-nominated director and producer. In her directorial debut In the Family (POV|PBS), produced by Kartemquin Films, she told her personal story about coming to terms with learning that she had a BRCA mutation that greatly increases a woman’s risk for breast and ovarian cancer. The film was the first to cover the world of predictive genetic testing via a vérité treatment, and was screened as part of the successful effort to pass the Genetic Information Non Discrimination Act (GINA) as well as challenge gene patenting, a case that went to the Supreme Court. Her producing credits include: Bill T. Jones: A Good Man (American Masters|PBS); Crossfire Hurricane (HBO); duPont-award winning Hard Earned (Al Jazeera America) and Robert Capa in Love and War (PBS,BBC) which premiered at Sundance and was the presenting film for the 2003 Emmy award for Outstanding Nonfiction Series. Joanna received funding for In the Family from ITVS as the director and for Bill T. Jones: A Good Man as the lead producer.
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Genres:
    Documentary, Animation, Children, Arts and Artists, Education
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 24 minutes 30 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    December 15, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    1,200,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    Mexico, United States
  • Language:
    English, Spanish
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital 4K
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
Director Biography - Joanna Rudnick

Joanna Rudnick is an Emmy-nominated director and producer. In her directorial debut In the Family (POV|PBS), produced by Kartemquin Films, she told her personal story about coming to terms with learning that she had a BRCA mutation that greatly increases a woman’s risk for breast and ovarian cancer. The film was the first to cover the world of predictive genetic testing via a vérité treatment, and was screened as part of the successful effort to pass the Genetic Information Non Discrimination Act (GINA) as well as challenge gene patenting, a case that went to the Supreme Court. Her producing credits include: Bill T. Jones: A Good Man (American Masters|PBS); Crossfire Hurricane (HBO); duPont-award winning Hard Earned (Al Jazeera America) and Robert Capa in Love and War (PBS,BBC) which premiered at Sundance and was the presenting film for the 2003 Emmy award for Outstanding Nonfiction Series. Joanna received funding for In the Family from ITVS as the director and for Bill T. Jones: A Good Man as the lead producer.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

I wanted to create Story & Pictures By, both because I have been making films like this for my entire career and because, as a parent of two young children, I realized how much I wanted to know about the art form that first exposed my children to the narratives of their world.

All of the documentaries I have worked on in my decades-long career actively engage with ideas of family, the importance of the arts in society, human health and wellness, social justice, and youth issues. My first feature documentary In the Family (PBS|POV) took a personal look at the effect that testing positive for the BRCA gene had on me as well as the bioethical implications of the new medical technology. As a producer on Bill T. Jones: A Good Man (PBS | American Masters), we followed an artist at the peak of his craft, weaving together his creative process with his philosophical thoughts about challenging his audiences to think about race, equality, and the legacy of Abraham Lincoln. As a supervising producer on Crossfire Hurricane (HBO), I helped trace the history of the Rolling Stones on their 50th anniversary. In my short documentary On Beauty (Kartemquin Films), I again followed an artist, fashion photographer Rick Guidotti, as he brought the glitz and glamor of his former career to capturing photos of young people with physical differences to change the way we see beauty.

As a human and parent, when I see my kids come home from active shooter drills or hear the rhetoric they pick up on the playground or on social media, I am reminded of the importance of art to help make sense of a world that can feel out of our control especially for one of the most marginalized communities: children. In a hectic, digital, and distanced world, I noticed that the one time during the day where I really spent time with my kids, where we put down devices, and when they opened up to me was when we read picture books together at night. We could talk about the hard and confusing things going in the news or the hard and confusing things that have been bothering them in their lives. For example, my non-binary child brought home Julian is a Mermaid in first grade. It’s a book about a boy dressing up as a girl and seeking acceptance from his grandmother. This story was our gateway to talk about gender and how my child felt in their body. Spending all this intimate time with these books made me wonder: who were the people creating them and how did these stories become so different from the picture books of my childhood - so much more representational and honest? That led me straight to Christian, Yuyi, and Mac.

I followed these artists from 2018-2022, a time of great upheaval in this country. We were there as Yuyi Morales navigated the anti-immigrant rhetoric that was the center of a presidential platform in her books “Dreamers” and “Bright Star”; Christian Robinson shared for the first time his personal story of visiting an incarcerated parent in “Milo Imagines the World” and spoke openly to a childhood audience about the importance of protest during the Black Lives Matter uprising in the wake of the killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd; and Mac Barnett created an online book club experience for children sheltering at home during COVID 19. I realized that these creators were the ones who were helping children make sense of their world and if we were to understand these times through the eyes of children, we could do so by following their lead.