Black Harvest Film Festival 2018

August 4 - 30, 2018

From August 4 through 30, the Gene Siskel Film Center welcomes one and all to our 24th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival, a month-long celebration of the stories, dreams, history, and legacy of African Americans and the African diaspora, as interpreted by independent filmmakers from around the U.S. and abroad. Filmmaker appearances are the pride and joy of Black Harvest, so join us for the festival's many enlightening post-film discussions with directors, producers, writers, and cast members. Cheer on filmmakers in the early stages of promising careers and savor the insights of those with a seasoned perspective.


The festival opens on Saturday, August 4, with the shorts program A Black Harvest Feast. LeeAnn Trotter of NBC 5 Chicago hosts a show that includes presentation of the Deloris Jordan Award for Excellence in Community Leadership to Pemon Rami and Maséqua Myers. Immediately after the show, the audience is invited to a reception across the street at the Joffrey Tower.


Our closing night on Thursday, August 30, celebrates the 25th anniversary of Rusty Cundieff's savvy rap satire FEAR OF A BLACK HAT, screening in a rare 35mm print. Multi-talented director/writer/actor Cundieff (director of the upcoming Universal release TALES FROM THE HOOD 2) will be present for audience discussion. Filmmaker recipients of the 2019 production grants for the Black Harvest 25th Anniversary Project will be announced at this show.


More than thirty filmmakers are scheduled to be present for discussion at screenings throughout the festival, with additional pending. Special events include a personal appearance by former talk show host Dick Cavett, discussing his 53-year friendship with Muhammad Ali with director Robert S. Bader, at the Sunday, August 5, screening of ALI & CAVETT: THE TALE OF THE TAPES. A special advance screening of David Schalliol's THE AREA (returning to the Film Center for a run September 14-20) provides a searing look at a community's valiant struggle against a railroad's land grab in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood.

Features shot in Chicago also include Logan Hall's sci-fi inflected drama ANIMATOR and Lawrence Lee Wallace's revenge satire PIECES OF DAVID. Documentaries include CHI-TOWN, an exhilarating saga of basketball ambition by Nick Budabin. Pamela Sherrod Anderson's THE G FORCE explores the phenomenon of grandparents challenged to become parents to their grandchildren. David Weathersby's THE COLOR OF ART covers a range of issues surrounding inclusion for artists of color in the Chicago art scene; the screening will include a panel representing artists, collectors, and gallery personnel.

— Barbara Scharres, Director of Programming

FF indicates a family-friendly film.

The Black Harvest Film Festival is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts; the Illinois Arts Council Agency; and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Special thanks to festival consultant Sergio Mims, our Black Harvest Community Council, and to the many filmmakers who help make this festival possible.

Announcing the inaugural Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Black Harvest Film Festival Prize

2018 marks the inaugural endowed Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Black Harvest Film Festival Prize. The prize will be awarded annually to a director of a Black Harvest Film Festival short film, chosen by a prestigious jury. Click here to learn more.

All films in the festival are eligible for the Black Harvest Audience Award; ballots available in our lobby.


OPENING NIGHT FILMS! Filmmakers in person!

Opening Night Celebration:

A Black Harvest Feast

2018, Various directors, USA, 70 min.


  • Sat, Aug 4th 7:00pm
Filmmakers in person! Chicago premiere!

Ali & Cavett: The Tale Of The Tapes

2018, Robert S. Bader, USA, 95 min.


  • Sun, Aug 5th 5:00pm
  • Mon, Aug 6th 8:00pm
Filmmakers in person! Chicago premiere!

Then There Was Joe

2018, Justin Warren, USA, 102 min. With Ray Grady, Justin Warren, James "Butch" Warren.


  • Tue, Aug 7th 8:00pm
  • Wed, Aug 8th 8:00pm

Chicago premiere!

Shorts program: International Visions

2016-2018, Various directors, Various nations, 98 min.


  • Thu, Aug 9th 8:00pm
Chicago premiere!

Green Days By The River

2017, Michael Mooleedhar, Trinidad & Tobago, 102 min. With Sudai Tafari, Anand Lawkaran, Vanessa Bartholomew, Nadia Kandhai.


  • Fri, Aug 10th 2:00pm
  • Thu, Aug 16th 6:15pm

Chicago premiere!

A Boy. A Girl. A Dream

2018, Qasim Basir, USA, 89 min. With Omari Hardwick, Meagan Good.


  • Fri, Aug 10th 6:30pm
  • Sat, Aug 11th 8:15pm

Filmmakers in person! Chicago premiere!


2018, Nick Budabin, USA, 82 min.


  • Fri, Aug 10th 8:30pm
  • Mon, Aug 13th 8:00pm
Filmmakers in person! Chicago premiere!

Shorts program: Made in Chicago

2017-2018, Various directors, USA, 90 min.


  • Sat, Aug 11th 5:15pm
  • Wed, Aug 15th 8:00pm


  • Sat, Aug 11th 1:00pm
  • Thu, Aug 16th 5:00pm
  • Mon, Aug 20th 5:00pm
Filmmakers in person! Chicago premiere!

The G Force

2018, Pamela Sherrod Anderson, USA, 58 min.


  • Sun, Aug 12th 3:00pm
  • Tue, Aug 14th 6:00pm