18th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival

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  1. 18th Annual
  2. Black Harvest Film Festival

The Gene Siskel Film Center welcomes you to our biggest and most exciting event of the summer: the latest edition of the “Black Harvest Film Festival,” August 3-30. The commitment, imagination, and creativity of independent directors from throughout the U.S. and the world bring stories and images of the black experience to life. As always, filmmakers from the Chicago area are especially front and center in our festival, and filmmaker appearances abound. Be sure to check back here for updates on additional guests and special events, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

The festival kicks off with the don’t-miss opening night, as NBC 5’s LeeAnn Trotter MCs the festive program “A Black Harvest Feast,” which includes the presentation of this year’s Deloris Jordan Award for Excellence in Community Leadership to a couple whose generosity has impacted thousands of Chicagoans, Diane and Quintin Primo. Filmmakers appearing on the program include director Angel Kristi Williams (THE CHRISTMAS TREE), actress Lolita Brinkley (WHITE SUGAR IN A BLACK POT), and producer/actress Diandra Lyle (MISSION: MOM-POSSIBLE).

“Action! The Real Deal About Filmmaking: Money, Casting, Production, and Distribution” (August 25), this year’s edition of the ever-popular “Black Harvest” panel discussion and DIY workshop, will cover every aspect of production for the aspiring filmmaker and feature down-to-earth tips and practical information from our guest producers and directors.

Many filmmakers from around the U.S. will be appearing for discussion and networking, including a significant number of our own Chicago-based filmmakers. Feature films made in Chicago include the documentary THE CURATORS OF DIXON SCHOOL, the drama ENGLEWOOD, and the action drama FATHER’S DAY. Eleven short films boast Chicago directors.

Among the festival’s special events are special advance screenings of BALLPLAYER: PELOTERO and our closing night film BROOKLYN CASTLE. BALLPLAYER: PELOTERO explores the tension-fraught high-stakes process of recruiting young talent in the Dominican Republic by American pro baseball clubs. A game of another sort is the subject of BROOKLYN CASTLE, in which a failing Brooklyn middle school initiates a chess program and develops the nation’s newest chess prodigies in the process.

“People of Color,” a joint exhibition by School of the Art Institute of Chicago graduates Charles Anthony Lewis, Jr., and Christina Long, runs July 16-September 23 in our Gallery/Café.

The “Black Harvest Film Festival” is supported by the Chicago Community Trust; the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; and the Alphawood Foundation. Special thanks to festival consultant Sergio Mims, our Black Harvest Community Council, and to 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!

In the Gene Siskel Film Center Gallery/Café

On display July 16—September 23: "People of Color" | Visit our Gallery/Café page for more information

A Black Harvest Feast

  • Opening Night Films

Showtimes

Fri, Aug 3rd at 6:30pm
Average: 4.8 (6 votes)

Filmmakers in person!

  1. A Black Harvest Feast
  1. 2011-12, Various directors, USA, 67 min.

Enjoy a sneak preview of the 2012 “harvest” through five short films conveying the spirit of the month-long festival. In Derek Dow’s dark farce THIS AIN’T YO MOVIE (2012, 6 min.), a frustrated director goes to extreme lengths to make the film his way. A broke dad makes a risky choice to please his little girl in THE CHRISTMAS TREE (2012, 12 min.) by Angel Kristi Williams. Could an old family recipe have aphrodisiac qualities? Mohamed Dione’s MAFFE TIGA (2011, 21 min.) tells the tale. A mother is faced with the toughest decision of her life in Rachel I. Johnson’s WHITE SUGAR IN A BLACK POT (2011, 18 min.), and the tooth fairy gets a boost close to home in Morocco Omari’s MISSION: MOM-POSSIBLE (2011, 10 min.). Various video formats. (BS & MR)

Director Angel Kristi Williams (THE CHRISTMAS TREE) and producer/actress Diandra Lyle (MISSION: MOM-POSSIBLE) 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.

UPDATE: 8/2 9:00AM
Tickets are now SOLD OUT!

BROOKLYN CASTLE

  • Closing Night Film

Showtimes

Sun, Aug 26th at 3:15pm
Thu, Aug 30th at 6:30pm
Average: 4 (2 votes)
  1. BROOKLYN CASTLE
  1. 2012, Katie Dellamaggiore, USA, 101 min.

“Irresistibly uplifting…crowd-pleasing.”
—Joe Leydon, Variety

“A modern day fairy tale.”
—Sarah Shelton, MTV

Kings, queens, and knights come to the rescue of a winning crew of Brooklyn inner-city middle school students when chess becomes their game of choice and their overwhelming obsession. BROOKLYN CASTLE follows the dramatic story of how a new chess program at a failing school becomes the driving force in the lives of at-risk kids, most from families below the poverty level. The chess team of I.S. 318 scales the heights of the chess world, becoming the top-rated junior high team in the nation. Prodigy players including Rochelle, Justus, Pobo, and Alexis are poised for the opportunities of a lifetime just as their school’s hard-won success is threatened by budget cuts. Special advance screening courtesy of Abramorama. HDCAM video. (BS) FF

After the Thursday show, the audience is invited to a reception hosted by Whole Foods Market in our gallery/café.

Executive Producer Robert McLellan will be present at both shows for audience discussion. On Sunday, he will be joined by Bill Hall, Executive Director of the US Chess Federation. On Thursday, he will be joined by David Heiser of Renaissance Knights, a program currently teaching chess in Chicago Public Schools.

See video

Action! The Real Deal About Filmmaking: Money, Casting, Production, and Distribution

Showtimes

Sat, Aug 25th at 5:30pm
Average: 4 (2 votes)

Festival panel discussion
Free admission!

  1. Action!
  2. The Real Deal About Filmmaking:
  3. Money, Casting, Production,
  4. and Distribution

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 William L. Cochran (ENGLEWOOD), Natasha Parker (THE LOST ONE, THE PACKAGE), Kristi Angel Williams (THE CHRISTMAS TREE), and Ken Wyatt (COLORED CONFEDERATES). The audience is invited to participate with questions in this provocative forum. (BS)

Comments

This is a must attend event for filmakers, directors, & those trying to make it in the industry!!

BALLPLAYER: PELOTERO

Showtimes

Sun, Aug 12th at 5:30pm
Mon, Aug 13th at 6:30pm
Average: 4.5 (2 votes)
  1. BALLPLAYER: PELOTERO
  1. 2011, John Paley, Ross Finkel, Trevor Martin
  2. USA, 76 min.
  3. Narrated by John Leguizamo

“The Americans may have invented baseball, but we know how to play it.” Roughly 20% of current pro ball players hail from the Dominican Republic. The thought-provoking documentary BALLPLAYER follows two top young prospects who, like thousands of others, pursue the multimillion-dollar signing bonuses that represent a parachute out of poverty for them and their families. But this inspirational scenario is complicated by the murky mix of exploitation and opportunism that underlies the Dominican system, rife with rumors of age-faking and identity-fraud. Accusations tarnish the reputations of the film’s protagonists and threaten to destroy the dream that they have staked everything on. Special advance screening courtesy of Strand Releasing. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. HDCAM video. (MR) FF

See video

BLACK GIRL LOST

Showtimes

Wed, Aug 8th at 8:15pm
Thu, Aug 9th at 6:30pm
Average: 3.7 (7 votes)

Mary McCallum in person!

  1. BLACK GIRL LOST
  1. 2012, Mary McCallum, USA, 80 min.
  2. With Mary McCallum, Molly Breen

Playwright, theater director, and actress McCallum brings her recent stage production to the screen in this pressure-cooker drama that tackles the timely issue of missing children and the way it is affected by race. The teenage daughter of Cassandra (McCallum) goes missing at the same time that a high-profile case involving a missing white girl is monopolizing the media’s attention. McCallum’s intense performance and effective use of close shots keep the tension taut as the case grows more complex, involving police bias, a charged confrontation with the mother of the white girl, possible negligence on the part of Cassandra’s second husband, and her own guilt-filled memories of her alcoholic past. HDCAM video. (MR)

Director/writer/actress Mary McCallum will be present for audience discussion at both screenings.

CHI-CHI, TALES FROM THE BASS LINE

Showtimes

Sun, Aug 5th at 5:15pm
Mon, Aug 6th at 6:15pm
No votes yet
  1. CHI-CHI,
  2. TALES FROM THE BASS LINE
  1. 2012, Barrie Gavin, UK, 46 min.

Two portraits of women of color who forged unconventional paths to musical excellence: Chi-chi Nwanoku is a virtuoso of one of the most challenging musical instruments, the double bass. The effervescent and indomitable Chi-chi recounts the hurdles she faced growing up as a mixed-race child and scaling the musical establishment in Britain, interspersed with luscious performances of Haydn, Berlioz, Elgar, Dvorak, and others.

Preceded by
T’AIN’T NOBODY’S BIZNESS
2011, Robert Philipson, USA, 29 min.

An overview of such early blues divas as Ma Rainey, Alberta Hunter, and Bessie Smith, whose independent spirit was reflected in their unconventional sexuality as well as in their groundbreaking music. Both in DigiBeta video. (MR)

View the trailer for T'AIN'T NOBODY'S BIZNESS below.

See video

THE CONTRADICTIONS OF FAIR HOPE

Showtimes

Sun, Aug 19th at 5:15pm
Mon, Aug 20th at 8:15pm
Average: 4.9 (9 votes)

Filmmakers in person!

  1. THE CONTRADICTIONS OF FAIR HOPE
  1. 2012, S. Epatha Merkerson
  2. and Rockell Metcalf, USA, 67 min.
  3. Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg

This fascinating documentary sheds light on a unique Southern institution: “benevolent societies,” formed by ex-slaves after the Civil War to provide health care, religious services, and proper burials for rural blacks who had no other recourse. With its original functions co-opted and its membership dwindling, the Fair Hope society in Alabama now thrives in only one, troubling area: the use of its land for a bacchanalian annual festival featuring guns, drugs, moonshine, and prostitution.

Preceded by two history-themed shorts: SAUDADE (2012, Evita M. Castine, USA, 6 min.), the atmospheric tale of a woman haunted by visions from a dark past, and HARRIET RETURNS (2011, Marquis Smalls, USA, 9 min.), in which Ms. Tubman visits the present to discover that slavery is not dead. Various video formats. (MR)

Co-Directors/executive producers S. Epatha Merkerson and Rockell Metcalf, producer Kelly Glover (THE CONTRADICTIONS OF FAIR HOPE), and directors Marquis Smalls (HARRIET) and Evita M. Castine (SAUDADE) will be present for audience discussion at both screenings.

See video

THE CURATORS OF DIXON SCHOOL

Showtimes

Sun, Aug 12th at 3:00pm
Thu, Aug 16th at 6:00pm
Average: 4.5 (16 votes)

Chicago connection
Pamela Sherrod Anderson in person!

  1. THE CURATORS OF DIXON SCHOOL
  1. 2011, Pamela Sherrod Anderson, USA, 80 min.

Public schools don’t have to be a minefield of metal detectors, minimal expectations, and mind-numbing routine. An alternative exists right here in Chicago, at the Dixon Elementary Public School in the Chatham neighborhood, where former principal Joan Crisler and her successor Sharon Dale have implemented the idea that art should be an integral part of the learning environment, with museum-quality works openly adorning the halls. The results, in terms of student performance and morale, have been spectacular, but, as this inspiring but pragmatic documentary demonstrates, there are no miracle solutions: Crisler’s protégé Carol Briggs has an uphill battle applying the same approach at another school, and recent budget cuts have left even the most successful programs vulnerable to the axe. HDCAM video. (MR) FF

Director Pamela Sherrod Anderson will be present for audience discussion at both screenings.

Comments

Really looking forward to this!

All children deserve the best and I am proud to be a part of this story.

What a great film and opportunity to meet the Curators of Dixon School Thursday evening. Real Men Charities, Inc., looks forward to a long-lasting relationship with these phenomenal and decicated teachers who fill the school with love in the form or art and accept the self-appointed duty to be keepers of the culture and pass it on to our youth.

ENGLEWOOD (THE GROWING PAINS IN CHICAGO)

  • Additional show added!

Showtimes

Fri, Aug 17th at 8:30pm
Thu, Aug 23rd at 8:15pm
Thu, Aug 30th at 9:00pm
Average: 4.5 (19 votes)

Chicago connection
William L. Cochran in person!

  1. ENGLEWOOD
  2. (THE GROWING PAINS IN CHICAGO)
  1. 2012, William L. Cochran, USA, 94 min.
  2. With David Cowan, William L. Cochran

The urgency of BOYZ N THE HOOD gets updated to the 2000s and transplanted to the Chicago neighborhood of Englewood in William L. Cochran’s powerful directing debut. Cochran boldly blends humor, romance, tragedy, and hope in this tale of three friends struggling to get through their last year of high school amid street violence, peer pressure, and family dysfunction. Cochran himself tackles the main role of Dennis, whose antisocial behavior conceals a talented poet. His new girlfriend Toya can see through his thug exterior, but her encouragement might not be enough to steer him past disaster. Digital video. (MR)

Director William L. Cochran will be present for audience discussion at both screenings.

Update 8/25
By popular demand, we have added a third and final show on Thursday, August 30, at 9:00 pm. Director William L. Cochran will be present for audience discussion. Tickets go on sale at 7:00PM on Saturday, August 25.

See video

Comments

This was a very impressive film from such a young playwrite. The writing and story was strong and the acting was very powerful. I was very impressed with Mr Cochran's work and hope to see it take off.

Sold Out twice! This was a great film!

FATHER'S DAY

Showtimes

Mon, Aug 27th at 8:30pm
Wed, Aug 29th at 6:15pm
Average: 4.3 (7 votes)

Chicago connection
Filmmakers in person!

  1. FATHER’S DAY
  1. 2010, Sidney Mansa Winters, USA, 74 min.
  2. With Cordell Al-Ruh, Chris Welch

Iraq war vet Calvin (Al-Ruh) returns home to fight his resentful ex for visitation rights to their 9-year-old son. A hard-won day of father-son bonding at a quiet fishing spot is transformed into an action-packed nightmare when the boy’s backpack unknowingly becomes the repository for a disc belonging to corporate hackers on the run. A crew of hired assassins is unleashed and the frightened boy experiences a new side of his dad as the two run for their lives through the deep woods. Shot entirely in Chicago. DigiBeta video. (BS)

Producer William Pierce and associate producer/actor Simeon Henderson will be present for audience discussion at both screenings.

On Monday, August 27, at 7:00 pm, Real Men Cook hosts the pre-show reception for FATHER'S DAY for all ticketholders to that screening. The Real Men Charities, Inc. mission is to build healthy families and communities in neighborhoods such as Englewood to reduce obesity, teach healthy cooking, share home economics strategies and lend mental health support. Information: http://www.realmencook.com/Chicago.html.

Comments

Honoring Sidney Mansa Winters, and all of the creative energy his Colleagues, Actors, Actresses and Bussiness Associates put into this film. It's manefestation is truly a blessing.

Jetta & Family

It's truly a blessing to have another Chicago westside man ,SIDNEY MANSA WINTERS, to come full circle in the competitive world of movie making. Looking forward to the screening of FATHER DAY'S, Monday Aug 27, and the pre-show reception.
LESTER A. & Family

RIP SIDNEY WINTERS. GREAT MIND>

HIGH CHICAGO

Showtimes

Mon, Aug 6th at 8:15pm
Tue, Aug 7th at 8:15pm
Average: 4.6 (7 votes)
  1. HIGH CHICAGO
  1. 2011, Alfons Adetuyi, Canada, 98 min.
  2. With Colin Salmon, Karen Leblanc

A windswept northern mining town is the background to this tale of winners and losers when a man who schemes on a grand scale but lives small makes a risky leap for the big time. Sam (Salmon), 42 years old, a hard-drinking father of three, ex-Navy man, ex-miner, and soon to be ex-husband, takes to gambling at poker full time to bankroll his crazy plan to open a drive-in theater in Africa. A commanding performance by charismatic actor Salmon, who made his reputation in three James Bond films, makes Sam never less than compelling to watch as his life comes close to spiraling out of control in the grip of his cherished dream. HDCAM video. (BS)

See video

THE KILL HOLE

Showtimes

Tue, Aug 28th at 8:30pm
Wed, Aug 29th at 8:30pm
Average: 4 (5 votes)

Filmmakers in person!

  1. THE KILL HOLE
  1. 2011, Mischa Webley, USA, 92 min.
  2. With Chadwick Boseman, Tory Kittles

This thriller takes on issues from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as traumatized vet Lt. Samuel Drake (Boseman) is haunted by one very dirty secret from his past. Living on the margins of Portland as a taxi driver, Drake soon comes to realize that he remains the pawn of the Army’s venal independent contractors. He receives one final order: search out and take out the renegade fellow vet (Kittles) who was witness to his crime. The tense manhunt is set in the spectacular Oregon wilderness, where the face-to-face meeting of two hardened killers makes for an unpredictable resolution. The cast also includes Billy Zane and Peter Green. HDCAM video. Preceded by BATTLE BUDDY (2011, Gerald McMurray, USA, 15 min.): a female soldier struggling with basic training endures the grudging help of another recruit. DigiBeta video. (BS)

Director Mischa Webley and producer Zach Hagen will be present for audience discussion at both screenings.

See video

Comments

"The Kill Hole" was one of the best films I have ever seen at Black Harvest; no, I shouldn't limit it to film festivals...it was one of the best films I have ever seen. It needs distribution now...incredible writing, cinematography, acting...superb all around.

THE LAST FALL

Showtimes

Fri, Aug 24th at 8:30pm
Tue, Aug 28th at 6:30pm
Average: 4.5 (6 votes)
  1. THE LAST FALL
  1. 2012, Matthew A. Cherry, USA, 97 min.
  2. With Lance Gross, Nicole Beharie

The envy of family and friends, hunky football player Kyle Bishop (Gross) is hiding a secret that shames him: his NFL team has unceremoniously dumped him. He slinks back home to mom, broke and unemployed at the age of 25. Director Cherry, a former NFL wide receiver, entertainingly reveals the unknown side of a pro sports career as Kyle puzzles over how to earn a living when all he knows is football. For his actively dating mother, wary sister, and hometown friends, life has moved on without him. A chance meeting with his former sweetheart, now the single mom of a young son, becomes a very particular kind of wake-up call. Digital video. (BS)

See video

LUCKY

Showtimes

Tue, Aug 14th at 6:15pm
Thu, Aug 16th at 8:15pm
Average: 4 (2 votes)
  1. LUCKY
  1. 2011, Avie Luthra, South Africa/UK, 100 min.
  2. With Sihle Dlamini, Jayashree Basavaraj

An emotionally engrossing tale in which a destitute boy’s progress through a hostile environment is rendered with Dickensian brio, LUCKY uses superior storytelling and vivid characterizations to comment on social and ethnic tensions in post-apartheid South Africa. Lucky, a recently orphaned 10-year-old boy, leaves his rural village for the sprawling city of Durban, where he is exploited by a venal uncle and reluctantly protected by an aging but formidable Indian woman with a inbred suspicion of blacks. The two outcasts warily form a bond, as Lucky struggles to get an education and to find the man who might be his long-lost father. In Zulu, English, and Hindi with English subtitles. 35mm. (MR)

See video

THE NEXT DAY

Showtimes

Fri, Aug 10th at 6:15pm
Sat, Aug 11th at 8:30pm
Average: 4 (5 votes)

Producer and star DeAnna Dawn in person!

  1. THE NEXT DAY
  1. 2011, Alfred Robbins, USA, 82 min.
  2. With DeAnna Dawn, Alfred Robbins

A relationship that begins with a one-night stand leaves a man and a woman linked by the consequences in ways that will both reveal and change them. Desiré (Dawn), outgoing and strikingly beautiful, meets withdrawn, taciturn Will (Robbins) in a bar, and their first night ends on a harsh note of misunderstanding. The glow of attraction masks problems that lie beneath the surface: her past in abusive relationships, his anger issues and inability to connect. The casual hookup has hooks into their future when Desiré shows up at Will’s house a few weeks later for an unanticipated disclosure. HDCAM video. (BS)

DeAnna Dawn, producer and star of THE NEXT DAY, will be present for audience discussion at both screenings.

See video

Family Matters

  • Shorts Program

Showtimes

Fri, Aug 10th at 8:30pm
Mon, Aug 13th at 8:15pm
Average: 4.8 (4 votes)

Filmmakers in person!

  1. Shorts Program: Family Matters
  1. 2010-12, Various directors, USA, 90 min.

In good times and bad, family is at the core of life in these eight shorts. Gender roles are child’s play in PLAY PRETEND (2011, 5 min.) by Rashida McWilliams. A stalled car is a metaphor for the relationship of two sisters in Marie-Françoise Theodore's GOING FORWARD IN REVERSE (2011, 5 min.). The tooth fairy gets a boost close to home in Morocco Omari’s MISSION: MOM-POSSIBLE (2011, 10 min.). Family interaction is a lost cause once a guy gets his hands on “Lost” episodes in Natasha Parker’s THE LOST ONE (2011, 10 min.). A broke dad makes a risky choice to please his little girl in THE CHRISTMAS TREE (2012, 12 min.) by Angel Kristi Williams. A controversial custom leaves a family divided in Christoph Nassif’s WHAT TO BRING TO AMERICA (2010, 15 min.). Lamont Stephens’s JUNIOR AND THE SAINT (2011, 15 min.) builds a father and son bond, and a mother is faced with the toughest decision of her life in Rachel I. Johnson’s WHITE SUGAR IN A BLACK POT (2011, 18 min.). Various video formats. (BS)

Directors Rashida McWilliams (PLAY PRETEND) and Marie-Francoise Theodore (GOING FORWARD IN REVERSE) will be present for audience discussion at both screenings.

Love African American Style

  • Shorts Program

Showtimes

Fri, Aug 24th at 6:30pm
Sat, Aug 25th at 8:30pm
Average: 4.2 (5 votes)

Filmmakers in person!

  1. Love African American Style
  1. 2010-12, Various directors, USA, 77 min.

Six films look at love’s ups and downs. Love endures in ANNIVERSARY (2012, 4 min.) by Anthony Jameson. A very personal photo may or may not convey the right message in THE MARRIED BACHELOR (2012, 6 min.) by Marquis Smalls. A mom’s matchmaking intentions lead to a revelation in Nijla Mumin’s TWO BODIES (2011, 10 min.). Romance needs some special coaxing in AIDE-DE-CAMP (2011, 17 min.) by Emma Octavia. Could an old family recipe have aphrodisiac qualities? Mohamed Dione’s MAFFE TIGA (2011, 21 min.) tells the tale. A chance meeting between childhood friends prompts some soul-searching in CHOICES (2010, 19 min.) by Ryan Miningham. Various video formats. (BS)

Directors Anthony Jameson (ANNIVERSARY), Mohamed Dione (MAFFE TIGA), and Karen Cox (AIDE-DE-CAMP), and producer/writer/actor Wiley B. Oscar (CHOICES) will be present for audience discussion at both screenings.

Made in Chicago

  • Shorts Program

Showtimes

Sat, Aug 4th at 8:30pm
Thu, Aug 9th at 8:30pm
Average: 4.8 (8 votes)

Filmmakers in person!

  1. Made in Chicago
  1. 2011-2012, Various directors, USA, 82 min.

Seven films featuring Chicago talent: In Derek Dow’s dark farce THIS AIN’T YO MOVIE (2012, 6 min.), a frustrated director goes to extreme lengths to make the film his way. In Vaun Monroe’s A BLIND EYE (2011, 6 min.), a tawdry dressing room is the last stop in a father’s search for his missing daughter. Created by students in the Precious Blood Theatre Program, Eric Walker’s ONE SHOT (2012, 8 min.) dramatizes the dangers of gun possession. Natasha Parker’s THE PACKAGE (2011, 9 min.) stars Morocco Omari as a would-be playa whose lines aren’t getting any bites. In Allesandra Pinkston’s harrowing THE TESTAMENT OF KARMA (2011, 14 min.), a frantic mother has to face the truth about her missing son. In Dion Strowhorn Sr.’s REDIAL (2012, 20 min.), a straying husband gets an unexpected anniversary present. Heaven and earth meet in Corey Harvey’s ISHMAEL (2012, 20 min.), when an alcoholic husband is granted a sobering vision of the future. Various video formats. (MR)

Director Dion Strowhorn Sr. and producer Susan Strowhorn (REDIAL) will be present for both screenings; producer Cory Lewis (ISHMAEL) and director Alessandra Pinkston (THE TESTAMENT OF KARMA) on Saturday; directors Derek Dow (THIS AIN’T YO MOVIE) and Eric Walker (ONE SHOT) on Thursday.

Watch the REDIAL trailer here.

Comments

We are BLESSED and HONORED to join you again for the third year at Black Harvest Film Festival with REDIAL. It's ALWAYS a Celebration of beautiful people & beautiful films! We THANK our Cast, Crew, Family & Friends For their continued Love & Support! Congratulations to this years talented group of filmmakers ;-)
Peace & Blessings,
The Strowhorns ~ 9x18ProductionS

Urban Visions

  • Shorts Program

Showtimes

Tue, Aug 21st at 8:30pm
Wed, Aug 22nd at 8:30pm
Average: 4.8 (6 votes)

Filmmakers in person!

  1. Urban Visions
  1. 2010-2012, Various directors, USA, 82 min.

Humor, crime, and romance are all part of the urban landscape in these six sketches: In the satiric NGUTU (2011, Daniel Valledor and Felipe del Olmo, 5 min.), an immigrant street vendor struggles until he figures out what his Spanish customers really want. In Anayo Amuzie’s OKECHUKWU (2011, 17 min.), a lonely Nigerian artist’s bus trip across L.A. leads to a romantic connection in a Himalayan restaurant. In Choice Skinner’s BROTHERLY LOVE (2011, 17 min.), three brothers face a difficult decision when the youngest commits a crime of violence. A vengeful pimp, a record producer’s son, and a girl with a heavenly voice come together in the exciting chase through a church that climaxes Vaun Monroe’s CHICAGO BLUES (2012, 24 min.). In Dana Verde’s LOCK AND KEY (2010, 10 min.), an aging musician’s advice to a young man has a hidden motive. In Eric Kolelas’s fast-paced thriller FIFTY PENCE (2011, 13 min.), a British visitor to Paris has second thoughts about the “package” he is
supposed to deliver. Various video formats. (MR)

Directors Dana Verde (LOCK AND KEY) and Eric Kolelas (FIFTY PENCE) will be present for audience discussion at both screenings.

SINGLE HILLS

Showtimes

Fri, Aug 17th at 6:30pm
Sat, Aug 18th at 8:30pm
Average: 4.3 (9 votes)
  1. SINGLE HILLS
  1. 2011, Wilkie Cornelius, USA, 75 min.
  2. With J. Kyle Manzay, Krystal Hill

The male fear of commitment is at the heart of this romantic drama of love, loss, and the attempt to recoup a dream. Jay (Manzay), a young filmmaker, enjoys the status quo of his loosely defined relationship with longtime girlfriend Lisa (Hill). Taking it to the next level is just not on his agenda. To his surprise, Lisa takes all the love, laughter, and those hopes for a future right out of his life and straight to a more receptive man, leaving him adrift in the dating scene. Colorful locations in Brooklyn’s hippest neighborhoods form the backdrop to love’s perils as Jay rethinks his options. HDCAM video. (BS)

Director Wilkie Cornelius will be present for audience discussion at both shows.

See video

Comments

Wilkie I am proud of your commitment,dedication and discipline u have displayed in the production of this masterpiece.be encouraged brother in all your pursuit and dreams...and remember ..with God on your side nothing shall be impossible! Station agt. jagdeo howard beach...

WHITE SCRIPTS AND BLACK SUPERMEN + COLORED CONFEDERATES

Showtimes

Sun, Aug 26th at 5:15pm
Mon, Aug 27th at 6:00pm
Average: 4.6 (5 votes)

Ken Wyatt and Brian Babylon in person!

  1. WHITE SCRIPTS AND
  2. BLACK SUPERMEN
  1. 2011, Jonathan Gayles, USA, 52 min.

In WHITE SCRIPTS AND BLACK SUPERMEN, filmmaker Gayles revisits the comic books of his boyhood with a critical eye to examine superheroes such as Lothar, Whitewash Jones, Waku, Prince of the Bantu, The Black Panther, The Falcon, and many more shaped by racial stereotypes. Copious illustrations and film clips add to a colorful discussion that includes prominent artists, comic book writers, cultural critics, and academics including Stanford W. Carpenter, professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. HDCAM video.

Preceded by
COLORED CONFEDERATES:
MYTH OR MATTER OF FACT?

2012, Ken Wyatt, USA, 40 min.

“Trust me, you won’t see this chapter in your history book,” comments director Wyatt, who probes the whys and the hows in this provocative documentary. HDCAM video. (BS) FF

Ken Wyatt, director of COLORED CONFEDERATES, will be present for audience discussion on Sunday.

Brian Babylon, host/producer of the radio show “Morning AMP” on Vocalo.org, a sister station of WBEZ 91.5 FM; Terry Gant, owner of Third Coast Comics; and Stanford Carpenter, School of the Art Institute of Chicago Assistant Professor of Visual and Critical Studies and Chairman of the Board of the Institute for Comic Studies, will be present at the Monday screening.

View the trailer for COLORED CONFEDERATES here.

View the trailer for WHITE SCRIPTS AND
BLACK SUPERMEN below.

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WOLF

Showtimes

Tue, Aug 14th at 8:15pm
Wed, Aug 15th at 8:15pm
Average: 4.5 (12 votes)

Ya’Ke Smith in person!

  1. WOLF
  1. 2012, Ya’Ke Smith, USA, 86 min.
  2. With Jordan Cooper, Eugene Lee, Irma P. Hall

Smith’s impressive short film KATRINA’S SON was a highlight of the 2011 BHFF. WOLF, his first feature, was one of the most acclaimed films of the 2012 SXSW Film Festival. Smith draws exceptional performances from his cast to tell the morally complex story of a troubled teenage boy who has been involved in a sexual relationship with the respected preacher of his parents’ church. The boy’s father wants revenge, the church wants a cover-up, and the boy is torn between self-loathing and lingering loyalty to his seducer. There are no easy answers or obvious villains in this compelling drama that handles a touchy subject with subtlety and compassion. HDCAM. (MR)

Director Ya’Ke Smith and producer Ralph Lopez will be present for audience discussion at both screenings.

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Comments

5 stars. Great acting, great story line, great directing!

THE CURATORS OF DIXON SCHOOL

Showtimes

Sun, Nov 25th at 3:00pm
Thu, Nov 29th at 6:00pm
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Back by popular demand!
Pamela Sherrod Anderson in person!

  1. THE CURATORS OF DIXON SCHOOL
  1. 2011, Pamela Sherrod Anderson, USA, 80 min.

“★★★ A positive, sunny new documentary by Pamela Sherrod Anderson...It doesn't lecture. The art carries the film's message.”
—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Public schools don’t have to be a minefield of metal detectors, minimal expectations, and mind-numbing routine. An alternative exists right here in Chicago, at the Dixon Elementary Public School in the Chatham neighborhood, where former principal Joan Dameron Crisler and her successor Sharon Dale have implemented the idea that art should be an integral part of the learning environment, with museum-quality works openly adorning the halls. The results, in terms of student performance and morale, have been spectacular, but, as this inspiring but pragmatic documentary demonstrates, there are no miracle solutions: Crisler’s protégé Carol Briggs has an uphill battle applying the same approach at another school, and recent budget cuts have left even the most successful programs vulnerable to the axe. HDCAM video. (MR)

Director Pamela Sherrod Anderson will be present for audience discussion at both screenings.

BROOKLYN CASTLE

Showtimes

Sat, Jan 26th at 3:00pm
Sun, Jan 27th at 3:00pm
Wed, Jan 30th at 6:00pm
Average: 5 (3 votes)

Back by popular demand!

  1. BROOKLYN CASTLE
  1. 2012, Katie Dellamaggiore, USA, 101 min.

“A marvelous documentary... I don't know diddly about chess, and I still loved it.”
—Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

“Irresistible... It’s deeply satisfying watching these public school, hard-knock kids win, and Ms. Dellamaggiore knows it.”
—Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

Kings, queens, and knights come to the rescue of a winning crew of Brooklyn inner-city middle school students when chess becomes their game of choice and their overwhelming obsession. BROOKLYN CASTLE follows the dramatic story of how a new chess program at a failing school becomes the driving force in the lives of at-risk kids, most from families below the poverty level. The chess team of I.S. 318 scales the heights of the chess world, becoming the top-rated junior high team in the nation. Prodigy players including Rochelle, Justus, Pobo, and Alexis are poised for the opportunities of a lifetime just as their school’s hard-won success is threatened by budget cuts. HDCAM video. (BS)

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