Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Announces the Full Line-up for the 28th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival (November 4 – 27) Tickets and Passes on Sale

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Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Announces the Full Line-up for the 28th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival (November 4 – 27) Tickets and Passes on Sale

October 19
21:50 2022
The annual Black Harvest Film Festival (Nov 4-27) in Chicago hosted by the Gene Siskel Film Center of The School of The Art Institute of Chicago has announced its full program line up, including film screenings, special events, Q&A’s and more! Tickets and passes are now on sale!

Chicago – The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Gene Siskel Film Center is pleased to announce the full festival schedule for its 28th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival, which will take place in person at the Gene Siskel Film Center from November 4 through November 20 and virtually from November 21 – 27.

The festival’s month-long showcase of Black stories will feature 19 feature films; 4 short film programs; and over 15 separate in-person and virtual filmmaker and cast appearances, alongside several anniversary screenings, restorations, and a multitude of receptions and special events.

This year’s festival will be dedicated to the Film Center’s dear friend Sergio Mims (1955 – 2022), the co-founder of the festival and its longtime co-programmer and consultant. Sergio passed away on Tuesday, October 4, 2022.


Sergio Mims and Barbara Scharres, co-founders of the Black Harvest Film Festival

In memory of Mims, Rebecca Fons, Gene Siskel Film Center’s Director of Programming said, “Earlier this summer, Black Harvest Film Festival co-Founder Sergio Mims and I met for our regular, bi-weekly meeting to discuss the film submissions we’d been watching in consideration for this year’s 28th Festival. ‘I love what I’m seeing,’ Sergio commented. ‘Lots of joy, lots of Black joy.’ This year’s Black Harvest Film Festival is dedicated to Sergio, who passed away Tuesday, October 4, 2022, and is a tribute to the glorious cinematic celebration that he built.”

“And he was right; the lineup is joyful, not just in the stories presented, but in the artists highlighted and the parties planned. The 28th Festival is a tribute to Sergio’s dogged determination to suggest the best for our screens, to ensure emerging filmmakers were in the same spotlight as the established auteurs, and his efforts to make local filmmakers feel like stars, and our audience to feel like a family. We will miss him immensely – his bold opinions, his wit, his knowledge, and his camaraderie – and dedicate each moment of Black Harvest to his memory.” 

Gene Siskel Film Center Executive Director Jean de St. Aubin said, “The Black Harvest Film Festival has always been a reunion of filmmakers and film lovers. This year, with the passing of Sergio Mims, it will be bittersweet. But we rejoice in what Sergio has created – a month-long celebration of Black storytelling that has thrived for 28 years and counting. I look forward to seeing our loyal BHFF audience, welcoming new friends, and sharing Sergio stories, along with those on the screen. Please join us in celebrating the full range of the Black experience on film.”


Still from VOODOO MACBETH

Feature films this year include the insightful, family-friendly JASMINE IS A STAR, about a sixteen-year-old girl with albinism (lack of pigment in hair, skin, and eyes) determined to make it big as a professional model; the powerful psychological horror film, NANNY, which follows a recent Senegalese immigrant hired  to care for the children of an affluent New York couple; the riveting VOODOO MACBETH , recounting the true story of a young Orson Welles who turns his vision for a Haitan-themed “Macbeth” into a reality in 1937 when an all-Black cast performs the classic Shakespearian play in Harlem; and the gripping doc, REWIND AND PLAY, exposing the casual racism and disrespect jazz pianist Thelonious Monk encountered on French TV in his 1969 visit to Paris, alongside glorious concert footage from his exceptional show at the 3,000-seat Salle Pleyel concert hall.

Film restorations and anniversary screenings include the 50th anniversary, 4K-restoration of Sidney Poitier’s directorial debut, BUCK AND PREACHER, a savvy revisioning of the classic Western; the 4K digital restoration of the long-lost, independently financed Black thriller, SOLOMON KING, featuring a killer Soul-Funk soundtrack and incredible clothes from director Sal Watts’s own Mr. Sal’s Fashion stores; and a 35mm screening of the crafty comedy COOLEY HIGH, presented in memoriam for Black Harvest Film Festival co-founder Sergio Mims – preceded by a tribute to Mims. 

The Film Center will screen four original shorts programs: SISTERS IN SCENE, six stories of culture, Black femininity, self-expression, and survival; FROM THE BLOCK, showcasing homegrown and homemade Chicago talent; CINE LADO A LADO (“CINEMA SIDE BY SIDE”), presenting voices and stories that express the complexities of a multi-faceted African identity from Latine-identifying perspectives/artists; and FIGURES AND GUARDIANS, a powerful and emotional program featuring the figures, guardians, mothers, and fathers that have raised us.

Opening Night of Black Harvest is always a reunion of filmmakers, film lovers, and film supporters. This year’s program, taking place on Friday, November 4, will be hosted by NBC/5’s LeAnn Trotter and feature a bounty of four short films in a Black Harvest Feast. The evening will include a tribute to Sergio Mims, the presentation of Black Harvest Film Festival Legacy Award to Chicago casting director and author Sharon King, and the announcement of the winners of The Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Black Harvest Film Festival Prize. After the presentations, guests will enjoy a celebratory reception in our gallery/cafe.

The Film Center will close out the in-person portion of the festival on Sunday, November 20 with a 30th-anniversary, Closing Night screening of Reginald Hudlin’s playful romantic comedy BOOMERANG, featuring Eddie Murphy and Halle Berry.

From November 21 – 27, audiences can enjoy Black Harvest at Home. Whether patrons miss a film during our in-person festival or are searching for great films to watch over the Thanksgiving holiday, Black Harvest is proud to offer a program of official selections virtually, which they can watch from the comfort and convenience of their own home.

Black Harvest Film Festival individual tickets and festival passes are available for purchase as of Monay, October 17 at 10am. 

Tickets for regular in-person and virtual film presentations are $12, with Film Center members paying only $6 per ticket. Students with valid school ID pay $7, and SAIC students, staff, or faculty pay $5 for regular film presentations. 

Black Harvest Film Festival passes cost $60 and can be redeemed for six (6) regular in-person or virtual film presentations (excluding Opening Night). Film Center members will pay only $30 for the 6-film Black Harvest festival pass. 

Opening Night tickets are $50 (general audience), with Film Center member and student tickets on sale for $30. Tickets include the screening, Q&A, and special reception. 

The following is a list of the complete Black Harvest Film Festival line-up, with in-person/theatrical showtimes listed in black and virtual screenings noted in green. Please note showtimes and guest appearances are subject to change.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE INDIVIDUAL FILMS HERE.

FEATURE FILM PROGRAMS:


Still from JASMINE IS A STAR

JASMINE IS A STAR

2022, dir. Jo Rochelle

USA, 58 min. 

In English / Format: Digital

Saturday, November 5 at 4:00 PM

Saturday, November 19 at 5:15 PM

Jasmine is a sixteen-year-old with albinism (lack of pigment in the hair, skin, and eyes) who is determined to make it big as a professional model in her hometown of Minneapolis, while attempting to go unnoticed in every other aspect of her teenage life. As her family supports her best they can, Jasmine learns to untap her talents, embrace her identity, and find her voice. Available virtually November 21-27. Director Jo Rochelle scheduled to attend Saturday, November 19.

THE INSPECTION

2022, dir. Elegance Bratton

USA, 95 min. 

In English / Format: Digital

Saturday, November 5 at 8:00 PM

In Elegance Bratton’s deeply moving film inspired by his own story, a young, gay Black man, rejected by his mother and with few options for his future, decides to join the Marines, doing whatever it takes to succeed in a system that would cast him aside. But even as he battles deep-seated prejudice and the grueling routines of basic training, he finds unexpected camaraderie, strength, and support in this new community, giving him a hard-earned sense of belonging that will shape his identity and forever change his life.

MARIAN ANDERSON: THE WHOLE WORLD IN HER HANDS

2022, dir. Rita Coburn Whack 

USA, 64 min.

In English / Format: Digital

Sunday, November 6 at 6:15 PM

In this inspiring documentary from Emmy winner, and BHFF alum Rita Coburn Whack (MAYA ANGELOU: AND STILL I RISE), the life and legacy of Marian Anderson, the gifted American contralto, best known for her performance at the legendary Freedom Concert at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, is explored. With unprecedented access to the Marian Anderson Estate, the film draws on rare archival footage, audio recordings, and Anderson’s extensive personal correspondence to family and friends (including W.E.B. DeBois, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Shirley Chisholm) to reveal the woman behind the icon. Available virtually November 21-27. Director Rita Coburn Whack scheduled to attend.

THE FIRST STEP

2021, dir. Brandon Kramer 

USA, France, 90 min. 

In English / Format: Digital 

Wednesday, November 9

On election night 2020, progressive activist and political commentator Van Jones spoke boldly regarding Donald Trump’s victory, noting on CNN, “This was a whitelash against a changing country…against a Black president, and that’s the part where the pain comes.” Produced in association with Kartemquin Films, THE FIRST STEP intimately documents Jones as he faces a divided America (divided on politics, culture, and even what they think of Jones) to controversially work across party lines on landmark criminal justice reform and a more humane response to the addiction crisis. Attempting to be a bridge builder in a time of extreme polarization takes Van and a coalition of unlikely allies deep into the inner workings of a divisive administration, internal debates within both parties, and the lives of frontline activists fighting for their communities. Available virtually November 21-27. Directors Brandon and Lance Kramer, composer Joshua Abrams and editor Leslie Zimmer scheduled to attend.


Still from MARS ONE

MARS ONE

2022, dir. Gabriel Martins

Brazil, 115 min. 

In Portuguese with English subtitles / Format: Digital

Friday, November 11 at 4:00 PM

Saturday, November 12 at 8:30 PM

In this tender and warm film the Martins, a lower-middle-class Brazilian family of optimistic dreamers must depend on one another while they manage the individual struggles, and the pressures of the world – including the election of right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro. A standout at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and Brazil’s submission to the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film consideration, MARS ONE is a quietly powerful film about the bonds of family, about what it means to dream and to fall in love, and how – even in the most challenging of times – home is where the heart beats.


Still from SHUT UP AND PAINT

REWIND & PLAY, preceded by SHUT UP AND PAINT

2022, dir. Alain Gomis

France, Germany, 64 min.

In English and French with English subtitles / Format: Digital

Saturday, November 12 at 4:00 PM

Sunday, November 20  at 1:00 PM

In 1969, famed jazz pianist Thelonious Monk performed at the 3,000-seat Salle Pleyel concert hall in Paris. Before the concert, he recorded an episode of the French television show “Jazz Portrait,” hosted by pianist Henri Renaud. In this daring work of non-fiction filmmaking, director Gomis examines not the interview, but the raw archival footage – the moments not seen by the television audience – where it becomes painfully clear that the host and producer are only interested in the musician if he plays voiceless and silently, without speaking about his experiences as a Black artist during a time of social and political unrest. Despite the oppression,  Monk plays on – his music, now in the context of REWIND & PLAY, all the more exceptional. Preceded by SHUT UP AND PAINT.


Still from THE AFRICAN DESPERATE

THE AFRICAN DESPERATE + reception

2022, dir. Martine Syms

USA, 100 min. 

In English / Format: Digital

By Martine Syms

Saturday, November 12 at 6:00 PM

This engagingly scathing debut feature from SAIC alum Syms (BFA 2007) captures 24-hours in the life of Palace, a recent MFA grad. After a bizarre final critique from the micro-aggressive, all-white faculty, Palace plans to boycott graduation and head home to Chicago, but her plans quickly change. Frenzied and fresh, singular and shrewd, THE AFRICAN DESPERATE is a psychedelic, kaleidoscopic odyssey of art and identity. Director and artist Martine Syms scheduled to attend.

SUBJECTS OF DESIRE

2021, dir. Jennifer Holness

Canada, 101 min. 

In English / Format: Digital

Sunday, November 13 at 1:00 PM

Monday, November 14 at 6:15 PM

In this thought-provoking and eye-opening documentary, Holness comprehensively and unwaveringly explores the conventions, contradictions and representations of Black female beauty in history, culture and media. Alongside compelling archival footage and personal interviews, SUBJECTS OF DESIRE uses the 50th Anniversary of the Miss Black America Pageant – a pageant that was created as a political protest – as a backdrop to deconstruct what we understand about race and the power behind beauty. Content consideration: themes of racism, colorism and sexual assault. Available virtually November 21-27. Director Jennifer Holness scheduled to attend. 

GET OUT ALIVE + pre-reception for local filmmakers

2021, dir. Roger Ellis

USA, 104 min. 

In English / Format: Digital

Sunday, November 13 at 7:00 PM

In January 2020, Chicago multimedia artist Nikki Lynette’s celebrated stage play “Get Out Alive” premiered in the LookOut Series at Steppenwolf Theatre, before the pandemic shut the stages of the city down. Electric and thrilling, this film adaptation of the show uses storytelling, song, dance and visual media to Nikki’s offbeat and honest approach to share her mental health journey. GET OUT ALIVE is an unapologetic celebration of Black life, and a love letter to Black culture led by an intersectional team of queer, Black, trans, and women creatives. Content consideration: themes of depression, suicide and racism. Artist Nikki Lynette, director Roger Ellis, and additional cast and crew scheduled to attend.

NANNY

2022, dir. Nikyatu Jusu

USA, 97 min. 

English and Wolof with English subtitles / Format: Digital

Tuesday, November 15 at 5:45 PM

In this psychological horror fable of displacement, Aisha (Anna Diop), a woman who recently emigrated from Senegal, is hired to care for the daughter of an affluent couple (Michelle Monaghan and Morgan Spector) living in New York City. Haunted by the absence of the young son she left behind, Aisha hopes her new job will afford her the chance to bring him to the U.S., but becomes increasingly unsettled by the family’s volatile home life. As his arrival approaches, a violent presence begins to invade both her dreams and her reality, threatening the American dream she is painstakingly piecing together. Followed by a pre-recorded Q&A with director Nikyatu Jusu, moderated by Arionne Nettles, Lecturer and Director of Audio Journalism Programming at Medill.


Still from VOODOO MACBETH

VOODOO MACBETH, preceded by REDBIRD

2021, dirs. Dagmawi Abebe, Victor Alonso-Berbel & Roy Arwas

USA, 108 min. 

In English / Format: Digital

Wednesday, November 16 at 5:30 PM

Friday, November 18 at 3:15 PM

Before CITIZEN KANE, leading Broadway actress Rose McClendon and producer John Houseman convince an untested 20-year-old Orson Welles to direct Shakespeare’s Macbeth with an all-Black cast in Harlem. Reimagined in a Haitian setting, this revolutionary 1936 production, which came to be known as “Voodoo Macbeth,” would change the world forever, but the road to opening night proves to be a difficult one. Orson and Rose clash over everything from scene blocking to crew hires, while Houseman contends with a congressman hell-bent on shutting down what he deems “communist propaganda.” The cast and crew must overcome political pressures, protests, and clashing personalities to realize their groundbreaking vision. Preceded by REDBIRD. Available virtually November 21-27.


Still from OUTTA THE MUCK

OUTTA THE MUCK

2022, dirs. Bhawin Suchak, Ira Mckinley

USA, 79 min.

In English / Format: Digital

Thursday, November 17 at 8:30 PM

Saturday, November 19 at 1:00 PM

Family, football and history come to life in an intimate portrait of the Dean family, longtime residents of the historic town of Pahokee, Florida. As we take a journey back home, with filmmaker Ira McKinley, to the land of sugarcane, he reconnects with his niece Bridget and nephew Alvin and explores their shared family history that spans seven generations. Told through stories that transcend space and time, OUTTA THE MUCK presents an intimate portrait of a community that resists despair with love, remaining fiercely self-determined, while forging its own unique narrative of Black achievement. Available virtually November 21-27.

Co-director Bhawin Suchak and producer Darian Henry scheduled to attend.

THE CAVE OF ADULLAM

2022, dir. Laura Checkoway

USA, 94 min. 

In English / Format: Digital 

Friday, November 18 at 6:00 PM

At the Cave of Adullam Transformational Training Academy (CATTA) in Detroit, martial arts sensei Jason Wilson prioritizes emotional health over physical strength, endeavoring to give young Black boys the opportunity to speak and be heard, and to be vulnerable without judgment or fear. In this compassionate and inspiring documentary, four students – Daniel, Gabe, Kevin and Tamarkus – navigate young adulthood, process their grief, and confront their inner demons. Winner of Best Documentary Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival, and executively produced by Laurence Fishburne, THE CAVE OF ADULLAM is a heartwarming and powerful portrait of love.

OUR FATHER, THE DEVIL

2022, dir. Ellie Foumbi

USA, France, 108 min. 

In French with English subtitles / Format: Digital 

Friday, November 18 at 8:30 PM

Sunday, November 20 at 3:45 PM

African refugee Marie Cissé (Babetida Sadjo, in an astounding debut) works as the head chef at a retirement home in a sleepy mountain town in the south of France. Her simple but satisfying life is upended by the arrival of Father Patrick (Souléymane Sy Savané), an African priest who she recognizes as the warlord who slaughtered her family. As he further endears himself to her community and within the place she now calls home, Marie Cissé must decide her next move. A daring exploration of fear, trauma and revenge, Foumbi’s feature directorial debut is a fearless and explosive modern-day thriller, rightly the winner of top awards at the American Black Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival, among others.

RESTORATIONS AND ANNIVERSARY SCREENINGS:


Still from CHI-RAQ

50/50: CHI-RAQ

2015, dir. Spike Lee

USA, 127 min. 

In English / Format: Digital

Monday, November 7 at 6:00 PM

In this ambitious adaptation, Spike Lee reimagines Aristophanes’ “Lysistrata,” adapting the ancient Greek comedy to a musical set on the streets of Chicago. Lysistrata (Teyonah Parris), the girlfriend of gang leader Chi-Raq (Nick Cannon) persuades the women of the South Side to abstain from sex until their men agree to put down their weapons and end the senseless cycle of violence.

BUCK AND THE PREACHER

1972, dir. Sidney Poitier

USA, 102 min. 

In English / Format: 4K Digital

Wednesday, November 9 at 6:00 PM

Well established as an actor (he had won the Best Actor Academy Award for LILIES IN THE FIELD six years prior), Sidney Poitier marked his directorial debut with this spirited and affecting homage/revisioning of the classic Western. Poitier stars as the sturdy and serious Buck, a soldier-turned-trail-guide, helping emancipated slaves find settlements in the West following the end of the Civil War. Alongside him is actor-producer Harry Belafonte as the mischievous Preacher, who joins forces with Buck to thwart a gang of bounty hunters attempting to bring the freed slaves back to Louisiana. BUCK AND THE PREACHER’s savvy political commentary is woven into every frame of Poitier’s vision, presenting a film that 50 years on is a rallying cry of Black liberation.

Fringe Benefits: SOLOMON KING, preceded by A LITTLE CLOSURE

1974, dirs. Jack Bomay, Sal Watts

USA, 110 min 

In English / Format: 4K Digital restoration 

Friday, November 11 at 9:00 PM

Unseen in nearly 45 years, the long-lost, independently financed Black urban crime/action film SOLOMON KING was shot in Oakland, CA in 1973 with a cast of mostly non-professional actors, killer Soul-Funk soundtrack and incredible clothes from Sal Watts’s own Mr. Sal’s Fashion stores. The film was restored with the full cooperation and support of the filmmaker’s widow Belinda Burton-Watts, utilized the only surviving complete print of the film from the collection of the UCLA Film & TV Archive, and the original 35mm soundtrack elements (which had been stored in Burton-Watts’s closet for several decades). Preceded by the short film A LITTLE CLOSURE (dir. Xavier Burgin, 13 min.). 

COOLEY HIGH

1975, dir. Michael Schultz

USA, 107 min. 

In English / Format: 35mm

Wednesday, November 16 at 8:00 PM

In 1964 on Chicago’s near north side, high school graduation is weeks away for carefree aspiring poet Preach (Glynn Turman) and his best friend, local basketball hero Cochise (Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs). As average teenagers, their final days of high school are defined by dance parties, late-night spins on the streets of the city, and the promise of blossoming love. But as young Black men, growing up is not simple, and when a seemingly harmless outing goes awry, their hopes and dreams – and very lives – hang in the balance. Director Shultz and screenwriter Eric Monte – who grew up in Chicago’s Cabrini-Green housing project – present an authentic coming-of-age story and a timeless story of Black lives that is equal parts delicate, innocent, bitter and true. 

COOLEY HIGH is presented in memoriam for Black Harvest Film Festival co-founder Sergio Mims. Film will be preceded by a tribute to Mims. 


Still from MALCOM X

MALCOM X

1992, dir. Spike Lee

USA, Japan, 202 min. 

In English and Arabic with English subtitles / Format: 35mm 

Saturday, November 19 at 7:15 PM

One of the most consequential and crucial voices of the civil rights movement, Malcolm X’s legacy is brought to life in Spike Lee’s sweeping and dynamic biopic, released 30 years ago this weekend. Anchored by an extraordinary, Academy-Award nominated performance by Denzel Washington, Lee draws on the civil rights leader’s autobiography to craft a complete portrait of the man – from his childhood marked by white-supremacist violence to his crusade for Black liberation. Co-starring Angela Bassett in a powerful performance as Malcolm X’s wife, Betty Shabazz and brought to vivid, colorful life through the costumes by Ruth E. Carter (also Academy Award nominated for her work on the film), MALCOLM X is a definitive story of resistance that demands the big screen, celluloid experience.

SHORT FILM PROGRAM:


Still from REDBIRD

Opening Night: A Black Harvest Feast: Friday, November 4 

REDBIRD 

2021, dir. Dagmawi Abebe, USA, 15 min. In English / Format: Digital 

A young, emerging African American rodeo rider living in a small town in Oklahoma must choose between his personal life or chasing after his dream of becoming a full-time rider in Dagmawi Abebe’s gorgeous exploration of home.

FANMI

2021, dirs. Sandrine Brodeur-Desrosiers, Carmine Pierre-Dufour Canada, 15 min. 

In French with English / Format: Digital 

Heart-broken following a break-up, Martine receives the unexpected visit of her mother, Monique. During this short stay, these two very different women will have one last chance of getting closer to one another before they run out of time.

BERMUDA 

2022, dir. Lorenzo Leyva, USA, 22 min. In English / Format: Digital 

In Lorenzo Leyva’s hilarious and heartfelt BERMUDA, Toni is turning 25 and still living with her controlling family, when she decides she needs to embrace her womanhood and her sexuality, and find her freedom.

ALONE TOGETHER 

2021, dir. c. Craig, USA, 14 min. In English / Format: Digital 

Isolated in an assisted living facility with only her caretaker, a grandmother battles her loneliness and fading memory as she searches for human connection through a series of family Zoom calls.

SISTERS IN SCENE

2021-22, dir. various

USA, Burkina Faso, 92 min. 

In English and French with English subtitles / Format: Digital

Sunday, November 6 at 4:00 PM

Thursday, November 17 at 6:00 PM

Six stories of culture, Black femininity, self-expression and survival, SISTERS IN SCENE is a powerful program made by Black female filmmakers. In CURRENCY, Lucretia Stinnette compassionately deptics stability and survival in sex work (13 min.). When the condom breaks in Halima Lucas’ charming PLAN LMNOP, Jo and Rashaad unpack their anxieties (6 min.). In Shayla Racquel’s darkly comedic thriller THE LIFTED, rescue meets revenge when two girlfriends tail a suspicious Lyft driver (24 min.). Akilah Walker glimpses into the psyche and isolation of a Black woman living in Hollywood with IVAR TUNNEL: SHOOK ONES (10 min.). From Burkina Faso, filmmaker Leslie TÔ portrays a father and daughter relationship from the point of view of young Miriam in EN ROUTE (9 min.). And in LITTLE TRUMPET, Megan Trufant Tillman powerfully explores boyhood and the Black coming-of-age story in a new light (30 min.). Content consideration: mature language and imagery, sexual assault. Available virtually November 21-27. Select filmmakers scheduled to attend. 

FIGURES & GUARDIANS

2020-22, dir. various

USA, Kenya, Senegal, Canada, 112 min. 

In English and Swahili, French and Haitian Kreyòl with English subtitles / Format: Digital

Tuesday, November 8 at 5:45 PM

Saturday, November 12 at 1:00 PM

The figures, guardians, mothers, and fathers that have raised us to be who we are today are celebrated in this powerful and emotional program of short films. Chicago filmmaker Donald Conley documents the lives and legacies of his grandmothers in MATRIARCH (30 min.). In JOY’S GARDEN, Ngwatilo Mawiyoo proves that a home where love can grow takes time, and comes in many forms (14 min.). A young girl observes her father’s traditions and comes of age in Ramata-Toulaye SY’s ASTEL (24 min.). Sandrine Brodeur-Desrosiers and Carmine Pierre-Dufour explore a mother and daughter who have one last chance of getting closer to one another before they run out of time (15 min.). In Brandon McKnight’s ROADMARKS, Kory turns back to street-fighting to raise cash for his daughter’s music school (15 min.). And in C. Craig Patterson’s ALONE TOGETHER, a grandmother battles her loneliness and fading memory as she searches for human connection through a series of family Zooms during lockdown (14 min.). Available virtually November 21-27. Select filmmakers scheduled to attend. 

CINE LADO A LADO

2020-22, dir. various

USA, Canada, 103 min. 

In English and Spanish, French and Haitian Kreyòl with English subtitles / Format: Digital

Thursday, November 10 at 6:00 PM

Tuesday, November 15 at 8:15 PM

With common threads, spiritual voyages, and music to our ears, the power of community and cultural preservation allows for new paths in storytelling with CINE LADO A LADO (“CINEMA SIDE BY SIDE”), presenting voices and stories that express longing for a faraway land and the complexities of a multi-faceted African identity from Latine-identifying perspectives and artists. In RED VELVET (19 min.) Danielle Gibson presents a quirky and stylized twist on mixed cultures and identities. The language of music breaks boundaries of communication in Christine Rodriguez’s FUEGO (16 min.). In Dwayne LeBlanc’s CIVIC (19 min.) Booker takes his first trip back home L.A., returning to the place that holds his origins and the people who shaped him. Cultural traditionalism, family and gender expression are explored in Ley Comas’ personal documentary NI AQUÍ / NI ALLÁ (16 min.) A teen visits his aunt’s horse ranch and learns about more than just his roots in Casiano Roman Hamer’s BERROS (20 min.); and a dream of dancing meets the hardships of strenuous labor in Stacy Pascal Gaspard’s magical SOÑADORA (13 min.). Available virtually November 21-27. Select filmmakers scheduled to attend. 

FROM THE BLOCK

2020-22, dir. various

USA, Kenya, Senegal, Canada, 112 min. 

In English and Swahili, French and Haitian Kreyòl with English subtitles / Format: Digital

Friday, November 11 at 6:30 PM

Sunday, November 13 at 4:00PM + post-reception

Homegrown and homemade, Chicago talent is on display in this dynamic and diverse program that showcases a range of genres spliced together for one uniquely moving local lineup. In Lorenzo Leyva’s hilarious and heartfelt BERMUDA (22 min.), Toni is turning 25 and still living with her controlling family, when she decides she needs to embrace her womanhood and her sexuality, and find her freedom. In the bold SILENCE OF CLARITY (21 min.), director Amir George crafts a sci-fi marvel where individuals cope with their stutters through a radical form of therapy. Director Charlene A. Carruthers matches history with poetry in THE FUNNEL (17 min.) when Chicagoan Trina, in an attempt to recollect her family’s history, encounters a familiar spirit, which opens her eyes and heart to a new gift. In Taylor Dominique Mason’s SANTÉ (13 min.), the De la Torre children barely know one another. When their father dies, the siblings come together to decide where to spread his remains, reopening old wounds and restoring old memories. Shiloh Tumo Washington’s BROTHER, WHERE ARE YOU? (17 min.) is a powerful invocation of the work of James Baldwin, the words of Ghassan Kanafani and the images of Gordon Parks, when upon receiving a letter from his incarcerated brother, a man is forced to reckon with the faltering relationship and his own losses. Content consideration: themes of racism and imagery of lynching. Available virtually November 21-27. All filmmakers scheduled to attend both screenings.

SPECIAL EVENTS:

PROJECT RAINBOW PROGRAM

Saturday, November 5  at 2:00 PM

Youth, students, and audiences of all ages are invited to attend this free program of the Chicago made short film UPTOWN BLUES (19 min.) and Black Harvest Official Selection JASMINE IS A STAR (58 min.), presented by Project Rainbow, a new Cook County-created, family-focused initiative, under the leadership of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, to address the educational barriers exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Films will be followed by a reception with light snacks. Select works in the program will also be available on Project Rainbow’s free app for families and audiences to enjoy at home. Presented as a collaborative program between Cook County, Urban Gateways and the Gene Siskel Film Center’s Black Harvest Film Festival. Learn more about Project Rainbow at projectrainbow.cookcountyil.gov 

WHAT’S YOUR STORY? THE COMMUNITY FILM WORKSHOP’S 50 YEAR JOURNEY

2022, dir. Derek Grace 

USA, 30 min. 

In English / Format: Digital 

Sunday, November 6 at 2:00 PM

The origins and history of Chicago’s crucial Community Film Workshop are lovingly documented in this portrait of the South Side film training organization, now celebrating its 50th anniversary as a the home where the careers of many underrepresented filmmakers have found their voice and gotten their start. Join the Black Harvest Film Festival for a celebration of CFW with this special film screening, followed by a discussion with director Grace, and Margaret Caples, CFW Executive Director. Available virtually November 21-27. Director Derek Grace, subject Margaret Caples and special guests scheduled to attend.

BULLY

Saturday, November 19  at 4:00 PM

2022, dir. David Mahmoudieh

USA, 19 min. 

In English / Format: Digital 

BULLY focuses on lonely teenager Mike (Rodney Jackson-Brown). Abused by his alcoholic father John (Terry Crews), Mike is pushed to his breaking point when a school bully ruins his chance to take his crush Cole (Ariel Winter) to prom. Presented by Kids In The Spotlight, a Los Angeles organization that helps foster youth heal and grow from trauma through the power of storytelling and filmmaking. In the KITS flagship Script-to-Screen program, foster youth ages 12-22 write, cast, and star in their own short films, telling their stories their way. Actor Rodney Jackson Brown scheduled to attend. 

CLOSING NIGHT OF IN PERSON PROGRAMMING

BOOMERANG

1992, dir. Reginald Hudlin

USA, 117 min. 

In English and French with English subtitles / Format: Digital

Sunday, November 20  at 7:00 PM

A cocky ad executive, Marcus (Eddie Murphy) has a reputation as a ladies’ man. However, Marcus gets a taste of his own medicine when a merger finds him working under the beautiful Jacqueline (Robin Givens), who has a similarly cavalier attitude about romance. Marcus and Jacqueline become involved, but he is put off by her noncommittal approach to their relationship. Meanwhile, Marcus also begins to develop feelings for the pretty Angela (Halle Berry), who is more thoughtful than Jacqueline.

About the Black Harvest Film Festival

The 28th Black Harvest Film Festival – Chicago’s annual showcase for films that celebrate, explore, and share the Black, African American and African Diaspora experience – will be held November 4 through 20 in person at the Gene Siskel Film Center, with select titles and programs available November 21 through 27 online. The Festival curates both short and feature length films, proudly presenting influential creators and emerging talent of color side by side. Programming spans across various genres, providing entertaining content for movie lovers of all ages! It is an incredible opportunity to have fun, be enlightened and support the enrichment and success of Black film.

About the Gene Siskel Film Center

Since 1972, the Gene Siskel Film Center, a public program of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, has presented critically acclaimed cinema to an annual audience of 85,000. The Film Center’s programming includes annual film festivals that celebrate diverse voices and international cultures, premieres of trailblazing work by today’s independent filmmakers, restorations and revivals of essential films from cinema history, and insightful provocative discussions with filmmakers and media artists. Altogether, the Film Center hosts over 1,500 screenings and 200 filmmaker appearances every year. The Film Center was renamed the Gene Siskel Film Center in 2000 after the late, nationally celebrated film critic, Gene Siskel.

Visit siskelfilmcenter.org to learn more and find out what’s playing today.

About the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

For more than 150 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has been a leader in educating the world’s most influential artists, designers, and scholars. Located in downtown Chicago with a fine arts graduate program ranked number two by U.S. News and World Report, SAIC provides an interdisciplinary approach to art and design as well as world-class resources, including the Art Institute of Chicago museum, on-campus galleries, and state-of-the-art facilities. SAIC’s undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate students have the freedom to take risks and create the bold ideas that transform Chicago and the world—as seen through notable alumni and faculty such as Michelle Grabner, David Sedaris, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Hunt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Cynthia Rowley, Nick Cave, and LeRoy Neiman.

Learn more at saic.edu

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Country: United States
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