17th Annual Black Harvest International Festival of Film and Video

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  1. 17th Annual Black Harvest
  2. International Festival of Film and Video

The Gene Siskel Film Center welcomes you to a most exciting new edition of the Black Harvest International Festival of Film and Video, from August 5 through September 1. Throughout the month, our screen comes alive with stories and images of the black experience on film and video. This vibrant showcase specializes in presenting new work by independent filmmakers from Chicago and around the world. As always, the festival features a bountiful array of personal appearances by filmmakers for audience discussion. There are special events and parties, too, so see individual film listings for details, and check back often for updates.

Tickets are sure to be in short supply for the festival’s opening night on August 5, when Golden Globe-winning, Emmy-nominated actress and playwright Regina Taylor receives this year’s Deloris Jordan Award for Excellence in Community Leadership. NBC 5’s LeeAnn Trotter MCs the program, A Black Harvest Feast, which includes Chicago filmmaker Evan Allen-Gessesse introducing his short film ERIC’S HAIRCUT.

We’re proud that Black Harvest continues the tradition of giving special prominence to Chicago talent. This year’s festival includes sixteen feature films and thirty shorts. A solid 40% of the films were made in the Chicago area or involve artists or subjects particular to our region. Features with Chicago connections include: INFILTRATING HOLLYWOOD: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE SPOOK WHO SAT BY THE DOOR; KISS AND TELL: BLACK ROMANCE IN FILM; OVERCOME; PHUNNY BUSINESS: A BLACK COMEDY; PREACHER; and SEPARATED AT BIRTH.

Among the festival’s special events are special advance screenings of BEING ELMO: A PUPPETEER'S JOURNEY, an engaging profile of Kevin Clash, the African American Muppeteer who brings the beloved character Elmo to life; and VIVA RIVA!, an action-packed neo-noir thriller from the Congo. For those working to get a film off the ground, on Sunday, August 14, we offer the panel discussion How to Get a Movie Made, a free DIY workshop covering every aspect of production for the aspiring independent filmmaker.

Throughout the festival, the Gene Siskel Film Center gallery features the show Nan je m’ gade (Through my eyes), an exhibition of photographs shot by Haitian children with disposable cameras, curated by School of the Art Institute of Chicago student Jackie Furtado.

The Black Harvest Film Festival is supported by the Chicago Community Trust; the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; American Airlines; and the Alphawood Foundation. Special thanks to festival consultant Sergio Mims, our Black Harvest Community Council, and the many filmmakers who help make this festival possible.

--Barbara Scharres


Family Friendly Films!

For your convenience, we have designated programs that are Family Friendly with the symbol FF.

Purchase a Black Harvest festival pass for $50!

Six movies for less than the price of five, plus a free small popcorn with each film. Turn your pass in at the end of the festival for a $5 discount on a Gene Siskel Film Center membership. A $92 value for $50!

A Black Harvest Feast

  • Opening Night Films!

Showtimes

Fri, Aug 5th at 7:30pm
Fri, Aug 5th at 8:00pm
Average: 3.9 (11 votes)
  1. A Black Harvest Feast
  1. 2009-11, Various directors, USA, 70 min.

Enjoy a sneak preview of the 2011 “harvest” through an exciting selection of five short films conveying the spirit and vibrant feeling of the month-long festival. In Evan Allen-Gessesse's autobiographical ERIC'S HAIRCUT (2011, 6 min.), a young boy's trip to the barber becomes a painfully funny ordeal. In Clair Breton’s touching BRUCIE (2009, 8 min.), a dad foresees that his junkyard rambles with his tomboy daughter will end with the advent of womanhood. In Rosalyn Coleman’s THE TRUTH ABOUT BEAUTY AND BLOGS (2010, 13 min.), a Webcam diva seeks to get her groove back after her man posts himself as “single” on Facebook. In THREE PRAYERS FOR JUNE (2010, 16 min.), Inna Braude brings comedy, high drama, and Vodou rituals to the story of a woman’s attempt to conceive. The casual hook-up culture of a college campus comes in for some spoofing in Raafi Rivero’s THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GUMMY BEARS (2010, 24 min.). Various video formats. (BS & MR)

Director Evan Allen-Gessesse and producer Barbara Allen of ERIC'S HAIRCUT, director Raafi Rivero and producer John Marshal of THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GUMMY BEARS, and Kelechi Ezie, actress and writer of THE TRUTH ABOUT BEAUTY AND BLOGS, will be present.

Special admission prices for this program: General Admission $25; Students $20; Members $15. Proceeds from this screening benefit the educational programs of the Gene Siskel Film Center. No free passes, blue tickets, or Black Harvest festival passes will be valid for this screening.

Please note: The 8:00 pm screening includes all of the films in the program and the reception in the gallery/café, but does not include the presentation of the award to Regina Taylor.

Update 8/5: Tickets for both the 7:30 and 8:00 screenings are SOLD OUT.

PHUNNY BUSINESS: A BLACK COMEDY

  • Closing Night Film!

Showtimes

Sat, Aug 27th at 5:45pm
Thu, Sep 1st at 7:30pm
Thu, Sep 1st at 7:45pm
Average: 4.8 (6 votes)

Chicago connection!
Filmmakers in person!

  1. PHUNNY BUSINESS:
  2. A BLACK COMEDY
  1. 2010, John Davies, USA, 84 min.

Once upon a time on Chicago’s near South Side, the comedy club All Jokes Aside functioned as a veritable “star factory,” launching the careers of comics including Steve Harvey, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Jamie Foxx, MoNique, Bernie Mac, Carlos Mencia, and many more. The brainchild of Raymond Lambert, the club was major on the national scene and a powerhouse of black talent, but, in many ways, it was Chicago’s best-kept secret. After a decade, the club fell victim to the economy and the twists of local politics, but the legend lives on in this dynamic documentary narrated by John Ridley. HDCAM video. (BS)

Producer/writer Raymond Lambert and DP/editor Brian Kallies will be present for audience discussion at both screenings. Director/writer John Davies and Producer Reid Brody will join them for Thursday's closing-night screening, hosted by Brian Babylon. Chicago-born and a fixture in Chicago's rich comedy community, Babylon hosts and produces the radio show Morning AMp on Vocalo.org, a sister station of WBEZ91.5. After the Thursday show, the audience is invited to a reception hosted by Whole Foods Market in our gallery/café.

See video

The Thursday, September 1 show at 7:30 PM is SOLD OUT in our large theater.
Due to popular demand, we have added another show at 7:45 in our other theater. PHUNNY BUSINESS will be simulcast in both theaters at 7:45 (a brief introduction will precede the film in the large theater).

BEING ELMO: A PUPPETEER’S JOURNEY

Showtimes

Sun, Aug 7th at 3:00pm
Average: 4.4 (5 votes)

Special advance screening!

  1. BEING ELMO:
  2. A PUPPETEER’S JOURNEY
  1. 2011, Constance Marks, USA, 80 min.

Muppets nostalgia fans, this one’s for you! Filmmaker Constance Marks provides an in-depth profile of Kevin Clash, the African American Muppeteer who has for decades been bringing the beloved character Elmo to life. From a childhood in Baltimore, where he demonstrated an early talent for designing puppets, to his evolving work with Jim Henson and Sesame Street, this is truly a behind-the-scenes look at a quiet, unassuming artist who is utterly transformed in the creation of manic Elmo. Winner of the Special Jury Prize: Documentary at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. HDCAM video. (BS) FF

Official site: www.BeingElmo.com

CRIME AFTER CRIME

Showtimes

Sun, Aug 28th at 5:00pm
Average: 4 (2 votes)
  1. CRIME AFTER CRIME
  1. 2010, Yoav Potash, USA, 93 min.
  2. With Dee Kelly Barrett, Anthony Belcher

"Riveting and devastating."
—New York Magazine

"[Potash's] moral outrage is magnificent...makes it difficult to leave the theater with dry eyes and an untouched heart."
—Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times

Described by its director as a cross between ERIN BROCKOVICH and PRECIOUS, this gripping documentary tells of Deborah Peagler, a young black woman who in 1983 was sentenced to life imprisonment for the contract killing of her brutally abusive boyfriend. A 2002 law regarding domestic-violence victims enables her case to be reopened, and two dedicated young lawyers--one an Orthodox Jew, both with personal experience of abuse--agree to defend Peagler, now a model prisoner and inspiration to her sister convicts. They uncover a hair-raising history of false testimony, strong-arm prosecutorial tactics, suppressed evidence, cover-ups, and double-crosses, as they fight to obtain long-deferred justice before it is too late. HDCAM video. (MR)

See video

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF McKINLEY NOLAN

Showtimes

Sun, Aug 14th at 5:30pm
Tue, Aug 16th at 6:30pm
Average: 5 (7 votes)
  1. THE DISAPPEARANCE OF
  2. McKINLEY NOLAN
  1. 2010, Henry Corra, USA, 77 min.

In 2005, a ghost appears on the streets of Tay Ninh. Vietnam veteran Dan Smith finds himself face-to-face with a man who seems to be McKinley Nolan, a black G.I. who defected in 1967 and whose trail has long since vanished. Nolan's Texas family has never given up hope, and his brother Mike accompanies Smith back to Southeast Asia in an attempt to unravel the mystery. As the search leads from Vietnam to the jungles of Cambodia, this haunting documentary movingly measures its missing person against a vastly larger convocation of ghosts. DigiBeta video. (MR)

Director Henry Corra and producer Jeremy Amar will be present for Q&A following the Tuesday screening. They are tentatively scheduled to appear on Sunday.

See video

Comments

amazing, hunting movie, not to be missed

DWB: DATING WHILE BLACK

Showtimes

Fri, Aug 12th at 8:30pm
Tue, Aug 16th at 8:15pm
Average: 5 (5 votes)

Van Elder in person!

  1. DWB: DATING WHILE BLACK
  1. 2010, Van Elder, USA, 97 min.
  2. With Brandon Fobbs, Eddie Goines

In this wry romantic comedy, dating divides the world into players and suckers. At least that’s how it looks to hapless Eric, newly dumped by his fiancée and facing the daunting prospect of getting back into the game under the calculating tutelage of his buddy Alex, a cynical lady’s man. Lessons learned, sort of, he lurches into encounters with dates including an imperious buppie princess and a blacker-than-black white chick, wondering if being himself might be the best solution. Actor Brian Fobbs brings an appealing homespun quality to the role of Eric, effectively underlining director Elder’s pointed but affecting look at the perils of romance from a male point of view. DVCAM video. (BS)

Due to a scheduling conflict, Director Van Elder will not be present for audience discussion on Friday as previously announced. We apologize for any inconvenience.

How to Get a Movie Made

  • Festival panel discussion

Showtimes

Sun, Aug 14th at 3:00pm
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Free admission!

  1. How to Get a Movie Made

Our Black Harvest panel discussion, which annually debates issues relating to black filmmaking, will dissect the process of making a film, from getting the money to casting, production, post-production, and distribution. Black Harvest festival consultant Sergio Mims heads up a panel of filmmakers to include directors Darryl Pitts (KISS AND TELL), Daniel Willis (C'MON GET HAPPY), Messiah Equiano (A TEST OF FAITH), and others TBA. The audience is invited to participate with questions in this provocative forum. (BS)

INFILTRATING HOLLYWOOD

Showtimes

Sun, Aug 21st at 5:30pm
Thu, Aug 25th at 6:15pm
Average: 4.8 (8 votes)

Chicago connection
Filmmakers in person!

  1. INFILTRATING HOLLYWOOD:
  2. THE RISE AND FALL OF
  3. THE SPOOK WHO SAT
  4. BY THE DOOR
  1. 2010, Christine Acham and Clifford Ward, USA, 57 min.

Ivan Dixon's 1973 cult classic THE SPOOK WHO SAT BY THE DOOR has been called "the most radical of the blaxploitation films of the '70s" (Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader). Set in Chicago and based on the controversial novel by Chicagoan Sam Greenlee, it tells of an African American CIA employee who uses his guerrilla training to organize a black revolution. This fascinating documentary tracks down the surviving participants to tell the story behind the making of the film, including its unorthodox money-raising strategies, its location-shooting in Gary, Indiana, after permission was denied in Chicago, and the pressure applied by the FBI to squelch its release after a successful opening. DigiBeta video. (MR)

Directors Christine Acham and Clifford Ward and novelist Sam Greenlee will be present for audience discussion at both screenings.

See video

KISS AND TELL: BLACK ROMANCE IN FILM

Showtimes

Fri, Aug 26th at 6:15pm
Mon, Aug 29th at 8:15pm
Average: 5 (5 votes)

Chicago connection
Darryl Pitts in person!

  1. KISS AND TELL:
  2. BLACK ROMANCE IN FILM
  1. 2011, Darryl Pitts, USA, 71 min.
  2. Narrated by Sheryl Lee Ralph

Hollywood hasn't always been receptive to the subject, but black actors and filmmakers have managed to create a remarkable number of memorable romantic moments in the movies. A star-studded line-up of over 70 actors, directors, and producers (including Diahann Carroll, Ernie Hudson, Regina King, Nia Long, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Lynn Whitfield, Vanessa Williams, and many more) enthusiastically expound on the topic, picking their favorite moments, defining the key elements of a romantic film, identifying icons (Dorothy Dandridge, Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington), and celebrating the resurgence of black romance in the 1990s (BOOMERANG, WAITING TO EXHALE, LOVE JONES). DVCAM video. (MR)

Director Darryl Pitts will be present for audience discussion and NBC 5 Chicago anchor Art Norman will be Master of Ceremonies on Friday.

Note:
A misprint in our ads than ran in the Chicago Defender and N'DIGO this week indicates KISS AND TELL is playing on Sunday, August 21 at 5:30. This showtime is NOT correct.

KISS AND TELL is playing Friday, August 26 at 6:15 and Monday, August 29 at 8:15 as originally scheduled. We apologize for any inconvenience.

MONEY MATTERS

Showtimes

Mon, Aug 15th at 8:00pm
Thu, Aug 18th at 6:30pm
Average: 5 (3 votes)

Ryan Richmond in person!

  1. MONEY MATTERS
  1. 2010, Ryan Richmond, USA, 89 min.
  2. With Aunjanue Ellis, Terri Abney

Blooming into lively and intelligent womanhood, Monique “Money” Matters chafes under her single mother’s stern discipline and religious fervor in this coming of age family drama with a surprising twist. A new friendship with a gang girl opens the door to love, a secret that Money knows she must keep, even as she begins to probe the mysterious cloud of guilt that hangs over her birth and her mother’s past relationships. In this first feature, winner of the Urban World Film Festival’s HBO Screenplay Competition, director Richmond brings the force of authentic emotion to a complex story. HDCAM video. (BS)

Director Ryan Richmond will be present for audience discussion on Monday.

OVERCOME

Showtimes

Fri, Aug 19th at 8:30pm
Tue, Aug 23rd at 8:15pm
Average: 4.8 (4 votes)

Chicago connection
Filmmakers in person!

  1. OVERCOME
  1. 2011, Dion Strowhorn Sr. and Simeon Henderson, USA, 53 min.
  2. With Victor Edwards, Sheree Bynum

LOVE LOCKDOWN
2010, Nadia Hallgren, USA, 19 min.

With Chicago grit, OVERCOME pits youthful hope against the despair generated by a shattered family. Young Chris Mitchell, a talented dancer, has big dreams in his head--and the daily reality of his parents’ drug addiction in his face. His grades are slipping, his personal life takes a disastrous dive, and yet a concerned teacher (Simeon Henderson) refuses to give up on him. Chris, in turn, refuses to give up on his mother (a powerful performance by Sheree Bynum). Their future as a family hangs in the balance as a critical dance audition looms. Mini-DV video.

Preceded by LOVE LOCKDOWN: Young mother Shoshana strives to hold her little family together while waiting and hoping for the return of her fiancé, who faces a 20-year sentence on a drug charge. HDCAM video. (BS)

Co-directors Dion Strowhorn Sr. and Simeon Henderson and producer Susan Strowhorn of OVERCOME will be present at both screenings for audience discussion.

See video

Comments

We are so very excited to have "OVERCOME" premiere at the 2011 Black Harvest International Festival of Film & Video in Chicago. Our hope is that it moves someone to realize, they can OVERCOME any adversity they may be faced with in this everyday struggle we call LIFE! We look forward to seeing everyone soon! Many THANKS to the Gene Siskel Film Center for giving us this platform and allowing us to share our vision!

Peace & Blessings,
Dion & Susan Strowhorn - 9x18ProductionS

Congrats to all the filmmakers. Mad love to all the Chicago filmmakers and actors.

Lawrence Lee Wallace

PREACHER

Showtimes

Sun, Aug 28th at 3:00pm
Tue, Aug 30th at 6:00pm
Average: 4.8 (5 votes)

Chicago connection
Daniel Kraus in person!

  1. PREACHER
  1. 2011, Daniel Kraus, USA, 73 min.

Chicago-based documentary director Kraus adds a new chapter in his ongoing Work Series (which includes SHERIFF, MUSICIAN, and PROFESSOR) with this warm profile of a self-taught Pentecostal preacher, Bishop William Nowell, the feisty, dapper, electric guitar-playing 72-year-old shepherd of a small working class flock in rural Virginia. Kraus’s laid-back method puts Nowell in the forefront, shaping the portrait through his own routine of counseling, gathering food for the poor, and ministering to one and all through the infectious sounds of gospel music. DigiBeta video. (BS) FF

Director Daniel Kraus will be present for audience discussion at both screenings.

See video

THE PRUITT-IGOE MYTH

Showtimes

Sun, Aug 7th at 5:15pm
Thu, Aug 11th at 6:15pm
Average: 4.4 (5 votes)
  1. THE PRUITT-IGOE MYTH
  1. 2011, Chad Freidrichs, USA, 83 min.

"Superb...an uncommonly artful example of film journalism."
—Robert Koehler, Variety

Don't let the ungainly title throw you; THE PRUITT-IGOE MYTH is one of the best documentaries of the year. Its subject is St. Louis's Pruitt-Igoe housing project--built in 1956 as a beacon of decent affordable housing for a largely black inner-city population, demolished in 1974 as a symbol of the futility of public housing. This hard-headed, heart-breaking film lucidly debunks the myths and searches out the true causes of the project's failure, while at the same time evoking the human costs through interviews with former occupants who speak movingly of the dream that Pruitt-Igoe represented and the tragedy of its decay. HDCAM video. (MR) FF

Benjamin Bolcom, composer of the soundtrack for THE PRUITT-IGOE MYTH will introduce both screenings.

See video

Comments

Never have a seen a documentary that was so moving and quite telling of urban housing policy in this country. The film should have an encore showing. it is that good.

Yes, I would love to see it!

SEPARATED AT BIRTH

Showtimes

Sat, Aug 6th at 8:30pm
Wed, Aug 10th at 8:15pm
Average: 3 (8 votes)

Chicago connection
Filmmakers in person!

  1. SEPARATED AT BIRTH
  1. 2010, Armand Scott, USA, 100 min.
  2. With Sati Word, Benjamin Gardner

The ambience and spirit of Chicago’s South Side pervade this drama of the differing destinies of a pair of twins separated at birth, and a teacher’s tale pulls it all together with some larger life lessons. Simon grows up a cherished princeling, the only child of middle class parents who shower him with every advantage. Andre survives as the neglected son of a violently dysfunctional family, scrambling for something to call his own. Fate will bring them together in a way that will change them both forever. DVCAM video (BS)

Director Armand Scott (Saturday) and actor Sati Word (Wednesday) will be present for audience discussion.

Black History—Lost and Found

  • Shorts program

Showtimes

Mon, Aug 22nd at 8:00pm
Average: 5 (38 votes)

Filmmakers in person!

  1. Black History—Lost and Found
  1. 2010-11, Various directors, USA/Angola, 86 min.

Five thought-provoking examples of the kind of history you won't find in books: Natasha Ngaiza's charming A CREATION STORY (2011, 10 min.) weaves together live-action and claymation to explain the origins of African hair. Rob Underhill's WOLF CALL (2010, 12 min.) provocatively casts a black actor in multiple white roles in a recreation of Look reporter William Bradford Huie's 1956 interview with the two men acquitted of murdering Emmett Till. Mário Bastos's ALAMBAMENTO (2010, 15 min.) is a taut tale of a young Angolan man on his way to deliver his bride's dowry when disaster strikes. Kwesi Davis's unusual animated film TAKE TOO LONG (2010, 17 min.) follows a young couple through the casual chaos of Katrina-devastated New Orleans. Camille S. DeBose's “GOOD HAIR” AND OTHER DUBIOUS DISTINCTIONS (2011, 32 min.) uses personal reminiscences and scholarly expertise to examine African American attitudes toward hair. Various video formats. (MR)

Camille S. DeBose, director of “GOOD HAIR” AND OTHER DUBIOUS DISTINCTIONS, and Hassan Said, producer of ALAMBAMENTO, will be present for audience discussion.

Comments

very happy to see ALAMBAMENTO playing in Chicago :)

I'm so grateful to all who attended the screening tonight (I'm sure I speak for all the filmmakers). It was lovely to share good films and good conversation. We couldn't have asked for a more wonderful audience with whom to share our work.

Best,
Camille

The Chicago Connection

  • Shorts program

Showtimes

Sat, Aug 20th at 8:15pm
Sun, Aug 21st at 8:00pm
Thu, Aug 25th at 8:15pm
Average: 5 (5 votes)

Filmmakers in person!

  1. The Chicago Connection
  1. 2009-11, Various directors, USA, 89 min.

Seven films featuring Chicago talent: In Evan Allen-Gessesse's autobiographical ERIC'S HAIRCUT (2011, 6 min.), a young boy's trip to the barber becomes a painfully funny ordeal. In Daniel Willis's C'MON GET HAPPY (2010, 6 min.), a young woman's visit to a revival meeting has an unexpected outcome. In Derek Dow's intense SUICIDAL THOUGHTS (2011, 6 min.), a young man struggles with the suicidal impulse that claimed his father. In Joe Rubino's well-acted LOST ONES (2009, 13 min.), a drunken night-on-the-town draws three youths toward a fatal act of violence. Taj McCord's BREATHING ROOM (2009, 30 min.) tells a complex story in which the worlds of theater, drug-dealing, and TV journalism intersect. Shahari Moore and Christine List's SWIMMIN' LESSON (2011, 9 min.) is a young father's poetic, powerfully acted account of his son's fate during Hurricane Katrina. In Messiah Equiano's impassioned A TEST OF FAITH (2010, 19 min.), a Bible College student's resolve to enter a notorious neighborhood seems foolish...but is it? Various video formats. (MR)

The following guests will appear at both screenings:

Director Daniel Willis (C'MON GET HAPPY)
Co-directors Shahari Moore and Christine List
(SWIMMIN' LESSON)
Director Messiah Equiano (A TEST OF FAITH)
Producer Barbara Allen (ERIC'S HAIRCUT)
Producer Hugh Grady (BREATHING ROOOM)
Actor/producer Tirf Alexius (BREATHING ROOM)
Writer/actor/producer Jeremy Collins (LOST ONES)

The Saturday 8:15 show is SOLD OUT.

Additional show added on Sunday, August 21 at 8:00

Comments

The 'Lost Ones' is a GREAT FILM! Raw edgy with realistic acting!

You must see Eric's Haircut. I think everyone can relate to having a bad haircut.

Love African American Style

  • Shorts program

Showtimes

Fri, Aug 19th at 6:15pm
Wed, Aug 24th at 8:30pm
Average: 5 (3 votes)

Filmmakers in person!

  1. Love African American Style
  1. 2010-11, Various directors, USA, 84 min.

Six films look at love’s ups and downs. A funeral is fraught with family tensions in James Bland’s COCOA LOVE (2010, 11 min.) when the deceased happens to be a fluffy pooch. The dating game begins anew for a recently jilted man in Kevin Hope’s WHAT NOW (2010, 6 min.). Two girlfriends reexamine the futility of waiting for “him” to call in Sandrel "Sanicole" Young’s THE “WHAT” FACTOR (2011, 6 min.). In Maba Ba’s PARAMOUR (2010, 16 min.), a fashion designer betrayed by his partner finds new love to be a career builder. In THREE PRAYERS FOR JUNE (2010, 16 min.), Inna Braude brings comedy, high drama, and Vodou rituals to the story of a woman’s attempt to conceive. The casual hook-up culture of a college campus comes in for some spoofing in Raafi Rivero’s THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GUMMY BEARS (2010, 24 min.). Various video formats. (BS)

Directors Kevin Hope (WHAT NOW), Maba Ba (PARAMOUR), and actors Keith Thirus and Jahmela Biggs (COCOA LOVE) will be present for audience discussion at both screenings.

Sex African American Style

  • Shorts program

Showtimes

Fri, Aug 26th at 8:30pm
Wed, Aug 31st at 8:45pm
Average: 3.4 (21 votes)

Filmmakers in person!

  1. Sex African American Style
  1. 2010-11, Various directors, USA, 84 min.

Naughty or nice, you decide! Somebody’s past is as plain as day when old friends meet in Lyndon McCray’s BABY DADDY MEMOIRS (2010, 6 min.). A mouse in the house poses a test of manhood in Kiara C. Jones’s MEN OR MICE (2010, 16 min.). He wants romance; she just wants a hook-up, in Tahir Jetter’s CLOSE (2010, 8 min.). A college professor learns a devilish lesson when he gives a failing student a break in Dion Strowhorn Sr.’s NUMBER 37 (2010, 16 min.). In Rosalyn Coleman's THE TRUTH ABOUT BEAUTY AND BLOGS (2010, 13 min.), a Webcam diva seeks to get her groove back after her man posts himself as “single” on Facebook. Maurice L. Dortch employs comedy to examine the perils and spiritual pleasures of abstinence before marriage in DON’T BITE THE APPLE (2011, 20 min.). Various video formats. (BS)

Director Lyndon McCray, executive producer/creator Al Thompson and producer Brian Rolling (BABY DADDY MEMOIRS), director Dion Strowhorn Sr. and actor Simeon Henderson (NUMBER 37), and co-directors Eugene Bush and Maurice Dortch and actor Corey Hendrix (DON’T BITE THE APPLE) will be present for audience discussion at both screenings.

The Friday show at 8:30 is SOLD OUT.

Comments

This was a great group of shorts. The title seems a little explicit for what could just be considered, 'Relationships: African-American Style'. I believe Don't Bite The Apple was the only short with a non-nude sex scene in it.

Urban Visions

  • Shorts program

Showtimes

Tue, Aug 9th at 8:15pm
Average: 3.8 (4 votes)
  1. Urban Visions
  1. 2009-10, Various directors, USA/UK, 85 min.

Tough and tender themes merge in these urban sketches. In Clair Breton’s BRUCIE (2009, 8 min.) a dad’s foresees that his junkyard rambles with his tomboy daughter will end with the advent of womanhood. In Delphine Suter’s EASY MADE HARD (2009, 15 min.), an elderly father and his wayward son meet violently for what may be the last time. A desperate son attempts to save his mother from a toxic relationship in Cole Wiley’s QUIETLY (2009, 17 min.). In KATRINA’S SON by Ya’ke Smith (2010, 15 min.), a runaway boy tracks down the mom who abandoned him in the wake of Katrina. In GRACE by Steve Mondesir (2009, 30 min.), redemption begins with friendship when a man allows a pregnant former girlfriend to crash at his apartment. Various video formats. (BS)

THE THREE-WAY

Showtimes

Sat, Aug 13th at 8:30pm
Thu, Aug 18th at 8:15pm
Average: 4.6 (9 votes)

Filmmakers in person!

  1. THE THREE-WAY
  1. 2011, Julian A. Renner, USA, 86 min.
  2. With Karmia Berry, Delance Minefee

Within minutes of Tasha’s shocked discovery of the evidence of her boyfriend Mike’s presumed unfaithfulness, the situation escalates by means of a suspicious phone call and the arrival of a flirtatious co-worker with an overnight bag. Tasha calls in reinforcements in the form of her two aggressively supportive BFFs Dee and Fiona, and it becomes crystal clear that someone is cheating; the question is who? Deceptions, misunderstandings, recriminations, and betrayals are all thrown into the mix in this rude and raucous comedy of love’s errors. HDCAM video. (BS)

Selected members of the cast will be present for audience discussion on Saturday. Director Julian Renner will be present on Thursday.

THE UPSETTER: THE LIFE AND MUSIC OF LEE SCRATCH PERRY

Showtimes

Sat, Aug 27th at 8:00pm
Tue, Aug 30th at 8:15pm
Average: 5 (2 votes)

Music mavens in person!

  1. THE UPSETTER:
  2. THE LIFE AND MUSIC OF
  3. LEE SCRATCH PERRY
  1. 2008, Ethan Higbee and Adam Bhala Lough, USA, 95 min.
  2. Narrated by Benicio Del Toro

"Fascinating...not just for Reggae fans."
—Vanity Fair

He invented Reggae. He invented dub. He made Bob Marley a star. He wrote/produced "Police and Thieves," "Soul Rebel," "Disco Devil," and countless other hits. He worked with The Clash, Beastie Boys, Paul McCartney, and many more. THE UPSETTER is a film portrait of one of the most influential and prolific musicians of our time, tracing his remarkable life from poor Jamaican childhood through early successes, founding of the legendary Black Ark recording studio, ganja-and-booze-fueled decline, and recent comeback. Generous clips of classic performances demonstrate the astonishing breadth of Perry's creativity, while interviews from different periods of his life give ample evidence of his unique speaking style and outsized personality. HDCAM video. (MR)

John Corbett and Peter Margasak will be present for audience discussion on Saturday. Chicago-based writer/curator Corbett is co-owner of Corbett vs. Dempsey Gallery and director of an as-yet-unfinished documentary about Lee Scratch Perry. Margasak has been a staff music writer at the Chicago Reader since 1995; he is also a regular contributor to DownBeat Magazine and NPR's "All Things Considered."

See video

VIVA RIVA!

Showtimes

Thu, Aug 11th at 8:15pm
Average: 4.2 (5 votes)

Special advance screening!

  1. VIVA RIVA!
  1. 2010, Djo Tunda Wa Munga, Congo/France/Belgium, 98 min.
  2. With Patsha Bay Mukuna, Manie Malone

"One of the best neonoirs from anywhere in recent memory."
—Eric Hynes, Time Out New York

"Frenetic, sleazy, and entertaining as all hell."
—Alison Whitmore, The Onion

A gas shortage is gripping Kinshasa, and the cocky young crook Riva (Mukuna) has stolen a shipment of the stuff. Hot on his heels is the sadistic, white-suited kingpin Cesar. Caught in the crossfire are a tough-as-nails army officer, her lesbian lover, a local ganglord, his willowy red-headed moll, and seemingly half the population of Kinshasa. There's plenty of sex, plenty of violence, and plenty of cynicism in this high-octane thriller that paints a vivid picture of a dog-eat-dog world where everything is for sale. Special advance screening courtesy of Music Box Films. In French and Lingala with English subtitles. 35mm. (MR)

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YELLING TO THE SKY

Showtimes

Fri, Aug 12th at 6:30pm
Wed, Aug 17th at 8:15pm
Average: 5 (4 votes)
  1. YELLING TO THE SKY
  1. 2011, Victoria Mahoney, USA, 96 min.
  2. With Zoë Kravitz, Tim Blake Nelson, Jason Clarke

Zoë Kravitz (X-MEN: FIRST CLASS), Jason Clarke (PUBLIC ENEMIES, “The Chicago Code”), and Oscar-nominated Gabourey Sidibe (PRECIOUS) form the core of a stellar cast in this debut feature by director Mahoney, named by Filmmaker Magazine as one of the “25 new faces of independent film.” Biracial Sweetness O’Hara (Kravitz) learns fierceness beyond her years, facing down a loving dad who becomes a monster when he’s drinking, and adopting the tough demeanor of a drug dealer at school just to survive. Both startlingly violent and unexpectedly tender, the story raises Sweetness and her family out of chaos and into hope. 35mm. (BS)

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The Wednesday show is SOLD OUT.

Comments

I've been to countless film festivals in the City and have seen countless independent and international films over the years- about 60. This film by far, was the most disappointing. With a cast like Zoe Kravitz and Gabourey Sidibe, I had such high expectations. I tried to see it the first night and it was sold out. I got tickets in advance for the second showing, but then I understood why it was sold out. The theatre only seated maybe 40 people as opposed to the larger theater's available at Siskel.

I thought that maybe I was being biased because I had such high expecations until the lady next to me, a much older lady said, this is horrible. I had to agree and told her that i thought I was the only one. Very disappointing. I truly hope in the future that there are BETTER films played at Black Harvest. I love supporting films in this capacity, especially through Black Harvest, but I will definitely take caution the next time I see a film. Thanks.

PHUNNY BUSINESS: A BLACK COMEDY

Showtimes

Fri, Nov 4th at 8:00pm
Sat, Nov 5th at 8:30pm
Sun, Nov 6th at 4:45pm
Fri, Nov 11th at 8:30pm
Mon, Nov 14th at 8:15pm
Average: 5 (3 votes)

Back by popular demand!
Raymond Lambert in person!

  1. PHUNNY BUSINESS:
  2. A BLACK COMEDY
  1. 2010, John Davies, USA, 84 min.

Once upon a time on Chicago’s near South Side, the comedy club All Jokes Aside functioned as a veritable “star factory,” launching the careers of comics including Steve Harvey, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Jamie Foxx, MoNique, Bernie Mac, Carlos Mencia, and many more. The brainchild of Raymond Lambert, the club was major on the national scene and a powerhouse of black talent, but, in many ways, it was Chicago’s best-kept secret. After a decade, the club fell victim to the economy and the twists of local politics, but the legend lives on in this dynamic documentary narrated by John Ridley. HDCAM video. (BS)

Producer/writer Raymond Lambert will be present for audience discussion at the November 4 & 11 screenings. DP/editor Brian Kallies will be present on November 4 & 5.

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BEING ELMO: A PUPPETEER’S JOURNEY

Showtimes

Fri, Nov 25th at 3:15pm
Sat, Nov 26th at 6:30pm
Sun, Nov 27th at 3:00pm
Mon, Nov 28th at 6:00pm
Wed, Nov 30th at 8:00pm
Thu, Dec 1st at 6:15pm
Average: 4.8 (6 votes)

First Chicago run!

  1. BEING ELMO:
  2. A PUPPETEER’S JOURNEY
  1. 2011, Constance Marks, USA, 80 min.

"A delightful, feel-good movie by any measure. See it in a room full of kids and you'll be smiling for days."
—Arthur Ryel-Lindsey, Slant Magazine

"A rare documentary that will connect across generations and cultures to delight viewers worldwide for years to come.”
—Justin Lowe, The Hollywood Reporter

Muppets nostalgia fans, this one’s for you! Filmmaker Constance Marks provides an in-depth profile of Kevin Clash, the African American Muppeteer who has for decades been bringing the beloved character Elmo to life. From a childhood in Baltimore, where he demonstrated an early talent for designing puppets, to his evolving work with Jim Henson and Sesame Street, this is truly a behind-the-scenes look at a quiet, unassuming artist who is utterly transformed in the creation of manic Elmo. Winner of the Special Jury Prize: Documentary at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. HDCAM video. (BS)

Official site: www.BeingElmo.com

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