fbpx Black Harvest Production Grants 2018 | Gene Siskel Film Center

Commissioning New Short Work in Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Black Harvest Film Festival 2019

ENTRY DEADLINE: June 18, 2018 at 5:00 pm CST
The five filmmakers chosen will be announced on Closing Night of the Black Harvest Film Festival, August 30, 2018
The commissioned films will premiere, in August 2019

The Gene Siskel Film Center at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago seeks proposals for production grants for new short films to be screened at the Opening Night festivities of the 25th Anniversary of the Black Harvest Film Festival in August of 2019. Five projects will be selected by a panel of jurors. Subject to the completion of a formal written agreement, the selected projects will receive funding for production costs and filmmaker fees in the amount of $10,000 - $13,000, depending on the project. Filmmakers will retain ownership of their films.

Proposals will be accepted from African American filmmakers who currently reside in the Midwest which is comprised of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.


  • The deadline for applications is June 18, 2018 at 5 PM CST.
  • Submit required documents, via link above; screenplay or treatment of the film, including a budget, and production timeline along with proof of residency.
  • Projects must be new, unproduced work.
  • Submit a link to at least one but no more than three sample(s) of past work.
  • Final project should be 5 to 20 minutes in length.
  • Projects that connect to the cultural arts ecosystem of Chicago and the greater Midwest, utilizing local artists, performers and musicians will be given greater consideration, and funding.


Chloe Gbai
A native of New York, Chloe Gbai is a filmmaker/producer whose work centers around issues of race, immigration, and gender. She works as the Shorts & Streaming Producer at American Documentary, spearheading their POV Shorts Initiative. Chloe is currently a resident of Meerkat Media Collective.

Eve Ewing
Dr. Eve L. Ewing is a sociologist of education and a writer from Chicago. She is the author of Electric Arches and Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago's South Side and the co-author (with Nate Marshall) of No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks.

Mike Plante
Mike Plante has worked for film festivals as a programmer since 1993 and at the Sundance Film Festival since 2001, where he is currently a Senior Programmer for shorts. He also publishes the Cinemad blog and makes feature documentaries when he's not totally broke.

Pemon Rami
International film producer/director, African Academy Award nominee, African People's Choice Awards nominee, former Director of Educational and Public Programs at the DuSable Museum of African American History, former Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee Member, Illinois Humanities Council Road Scholar, and former National Endowment for the Arts Evaluator.

Gordon Quinn
Artistic Director and founding member of Kartemquin Films, Gordon Quinn has been making documentaries for over 50 years. With his first film HOME FOR LIFE (1966) Gordon established the direction he would take for the next four decades, making films that investigate and critique society by documenting the unfolding lives of real people.

Jackie Stewart
Jacqueline Stewart is Professor of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago. Her research and teaching explore African American film cultures, as well as the archiving and preservation of moving images. She is also the Director of the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at UofC and is co-curator of the L.A. Rebellion Preservation Project at the UCLA Film and Television Archive.

Cleo Wilson
Serving as Executive Director of the Playboy Foundation 1982 to 2000, Cleo Wilson oversaw charitable activities and corporate affairs programs. In addition to awarding grants to nonprofit organizations, Wilson reviewed documentary films for funding and created the Playboy Foundation Freedom of Expression Award at the Sundance Film Festival.


The Black Harvest Film Festival is Chicago's annual showcase for feature length and short films that tell stories, raise questions, or touch on issues that relate to the African American, Black African, and African diasporic experience.


The Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago is a vibrant cultural destination that attracts a diverse and creative audience. The Film Center presents over 400 films in 1,600 presentations with 200+ filmmaker appearances each year. Over 85,000 patrons visit the Film Center annually for the best international, classic and independent cinema.