Ingrid Roettgen

Ingrid Roettgen

September 4, 2018

Ingrid Roettgen (2016).

Ingrid left Truman State University and moved to Chicago, IL the day after graduation. She works in post-production at the documentary production company Kartemquin Films and also freelances as an editor. Her focus is on social-justice filmmaking that inspires others to take action. She believes in community organizing, loves to make good food, and spoils her pets way too much.


What year did you graduate and what was your concentration?

I graduated in May of 2016 with a concentration in Public Communication.

What extra-/co-curricular activities did you do?

Oh gosh, I was involved in so much. Within the COMM department I worked with TMN, most notably as the Executive Producer of TMN-TV and then as the Digital Director for TMN Online. I had a radio show with KTRM, I was involved in some environmental groups on campus, worked with the Physics Department doing astrophotography, was involved in Students for Middle East Peace…and…well, I’m sure there are others I can’t remember!

Ingrid with the 2014-2015 media managers.

Did you go to grad school? If so, where?  Was it immediately after you left Truman or did you wait?  Why?

No, I didn’t. I haven’t taken the option off the table completely, since I may eventually decide to pursue a MFA in Documentary Filmmaking or something similar to hone my skills more sharply. But, a master’s degree necessary for the work I am doing right now.

What was your first job after graduation?

Perk of working for a filmmaker? You get to go to Sundance (2018).

I was brought on to the Kartemquin Films team as an intern the summer after I graduated, and was hired after the internship ended. Kartemquin Films is a non-profit documentary production company in Chicago with a focus on creating social justice focused documentaries. KTQ is most known for the ‘90s basketball documentary Hoop Dreams, but has over 60 films in their catalog that have won countless awards over the 50+ years they’ve been in existence.

What work do you do/What are you doing now?

I work in the post-production department at Kartemquin doing a wide variety of different things— no one day ever looks the same as another! Recently I’ve started assistant editing one of our upcoming films, and I manage distribution traffic for films both domestically and internationally.  I also oversee the Kartemquin archive by inventorying and managing preservation of 18,000+ elements that span Kartemquin’s half-century of independent documentary filmmaking.

Outside of my salaried work, I also occasionally freelance as an editor or as general post-production assistance on other films and podcasts.

How has your Liberal Arts/COMM education helped you?

Filmmaking is a peculiar field because you use it as a discipline to bring attention to other topics— race, religion, history, environmentalism, mental health, etc. So, I think my liberal arts degree gave me a well-rounded perspective and worldview through which I can tell well-rounded stories.

My greatest takeaways from the Communication major are the ability to effectively tell stories, actively listen to and empathize with others, and think on my feet. The experience I gained working in journalism is invaluable to the work I am doing now.

Ingrid working on a story for TMN (2014).

Which class did you dislike at the time you took it, but now you’re grateful you took it?

COMM 353: Public Relations. Oof. That class convinced me I did not want to work in PR. With that said, being able to write a press release and put together a media kit is a really important skill.

What was your greatest accomplishment at Truman?

Ingrid and her team in the Media Center during the 2016 Iowa Caucuses.

I’d have to say working in a leadership position at the Truman Media Network. Though it sometimes felt like swimming against an amazingly strong current, working with TMN taught me a lot about leadership, collaboration, and working under pressure.

I think the best example of that was when TMN went to the Iowa Caucuses in 2016, where we worked alongside professional journalists to cover candidate events and rallies. It was so much work and a lot of sleepless nights to crank out as much coverage as we did, but we pushed ourselves to meet professional standards and those ended up being some of the best stories we created all year.

On a more personal note, I consider just getting through four years of intense academic work while having a job and a lot of extracurricular commitments and managing personal life stuff as an accomplishment in and of itself. I was lucky to have the support to accomplish as much as I did.

Why is Truman a good place for a student to study?

Truman really puts academics first; not just the institution, but even the students take academics very seriously. If you legitimately enjoy learning and being in school, you’ll fit right in at Truman.

On top of that, Truman is affordable, and having very little student loan debt when entering your post-academic life is a huge burden off your shoulders.

Lastly, Truman has great professors that really listen and care, and is a definitely the place to be if you’re looking for an atypical, quirky college experience.

Ingrid in the Middle East (2015).

What would you say a COMM student should absolutely do while at Truman?

Study abroad. Truman offers some great opportunities to study abroad and really immerse yourself in another place, not as a tourist, but as a student. We all love Kirksville, but it’s important to get out into the big wide world and expose yourself to different people and face new challenges. It can be a financial stress, but there are scholarships available and it’s definitely worth the effort to try to find funds to support a study abroad experience.


What advice would you give someone who wants to go into the same line of work as you?

Just start making movies! About anything. Carry your camera around everywhere. Find any excuse you can film and create. Edit silly little music videos with your friends or spend your summer vacation making travel videos. Give yourself time to experiment, learn new technology, build your skills as a filmmaker while there’s little pressure and you can pursue your own creative ideas.

Ingrid and friends at the Kartemquin Fall Festival (2016).

What do you miss most about campus/Kirksville?

The campus life in general. Having all your friends living within walking distance, walking across campus on a sunny day and seeing people you know hanging out on the quad, always having interesting events going on in the evenings, late nights in Pickler. Oh, and the flexibility of a student schedule (as in, only having classes on Tuesday and Thursday and getting to have long weekends).

What tag line would you create for the COMM department at Truman?

Hahaha. “Burke.”

(Editor’s note: Bit of an inside joke. Come to campus and we’ll explain.)

If you could come back to Truman and teach a class for a semester, what would be its title and what would it be about?

“Balance doesn’t mean tolerance: Ethical storytelling for today’s journalists”

For a long time, I thought that being “fair and balanced” as a journalist/storyteller meant you had to put up with hateful, bigoted, or harmful views in your story to effectively “cover both sides of the issue.” But there are better, more powerful ways to tell an honest and well-rounded story than giving a platform to hatred without effectively critiquing it and labeling it as such.

What did we not ask that you think is important for people to know?

People in your prospective field want to mentor you, especially if you have a connection through a professor or relative or friend. Don’t be afraid to talk to professionals in the field you want to be in and ask them for help and advice! As long as you take them seriously and value their time, they’ll value yours, too. 

If you would like to learn more of Ingrid’s story, you can follow her on Twitter.


If you want to learn more about the Department of Communication, contact us!