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Best of Black Harvest Film Festival in the Chicago Public Library 2018

For the past 23 years, the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago has presented the Black Harvest Film Festival. It is the Midwest’s largest and longest-running festival dedicated to telling stories of the black experience. 2018 marks the 24th year of the festival.

For the past six years, in partnership with the Chicago Public Library and the Chicago Tribune Foundation, the Gene Siskel Film Center has shown highlights of previous festivals to create Best of Black Harvest Film Festival in the Chicago Public Library. Now in its seventh year, this summer program invites residents to experience these highlights at Chicago Public Library branches. Attendees will participate in film discussions after each screening, and will have a chance to receive complimentary tickets to this year’s Black Harvest Film Festival at the Gene Siskel Film Center (which takes place August 4 - 30). Refreshments will be provided.

All library screenings are free and open to the public. Seating is first-come first-served, until capacity is reached.

For more information about the program, please contact Keisha Chavers: kchavers@artic.edu
Here are Chicago Public Library locations holding Best of Black Harvest Film Festival screenings:

  • Friday, June 29 @ 2pm - Bessie Coleman
  • Wednesday, July 11 @ 5:30pm - Legler


2017, Tristan Hanson and Arlen Parsa, USA, 42 min.

This concise and illuminating documentary with Ronit Bezalel (70 ACRES IN CHICAGO) as supervising producer recounts the fight to maintain affordable housing in the historic neighborhood at the time of Chicago's ill-fated bid to host the 2016 Olympics.

Arlen Parsa, Tristan Hanson + special guests, including Valencia Hardy from Housing Bronzeville, will appear for post-film discussion on July 11 @ Legler.

  • Monday, June 25 @ 5:30pm - Greater Grand Crossing
  • Tuesday, June 26 @ 5:30pm - Frederick Douglass
  • Wednesday, June 27 @ 5:30pm - Legler


2017, Anton Deshawn, USA, 78 min. With Andre Truss, Brian Smith.

The dialogue has a snappy comic edge in this Chicago-made feature that takes aim at the wacky human drama inside the fictional call center, Ora-tel. Marcus Jones (Truss) is the top-performing survey supervisor, and he's jockeying for a promotion unaware that dirty tricks and insider connections will seal the deal for his rival. The survey scripts are suddenly peppered with rude queries and suspicion falls on Marcus. Did he or didn't he?

Anton Deshawn will appear for post-film discussion on June 25 @ Greater Grand Crossing.

  • Tuesday, July 10 @ 5:30pm - Frederick Douglass
  • Friday, July 13 @ 2pm - Bessie Coleman
  • Monday, July 23 @ 5:30pm - Greater Grand Crossing


2017, Stanley Nelson, USA, 84 min.

Director Nelson (BLACK PANTHERS) examines the legacy of historically Black colleges and universities, covering such topics as the post-Civil War "contraband schools;" the opposed educational visions of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois; the Golden Age of the 1930s-40s; the activist 1960s; and the recent challenges faced by a still-thriving institution.

  • Monday, July 9 @ 5:30pm - Greater Grand Crossing
  • Tuesday, July 17 @ 5:30pm - Frederick Douglass
  • Wednesday, July 18 @ 5:30pm - Legler
  • Friday, July 20 @ 2pm - Bessie Coleman


Shahari Moore, USA, 15 min.
A tribute to Gwendolyn Brooks, the Chicago-based poet who was the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize.

Shahari Moore will appear for post-film discussion on July 20 @ Bessie Coleman Branch.

2017, Patrick James Thomas, USA, 24 min. With Evan Moses, Candice Johnson.
A young boy plans for the fateful day when he will meet his real father and learns how to become a man in the process.

2017, David Weathersby, USA, 23 min.
Independent "Neo Soul" music groups strive to keep the Soul scene alive and well in Chicago.

David Weathersby will appear for post-film discussion on July 17 @ Frederick Douglass Branch.

2017, Derek Dow, USA, 13 min.
A daughter's plan to impress her visiting mom with her trendy new apartment hits a comic snag when her rascally brother shows up, too.

2016, Jason Honeycutt, USA, 15 min.
A little girl's schoolmates don't believe that her mom is a superhero until it's amazingly proven to be true.