The Gene Siskel Film Center presents programming in the spirit of the Black Harvest Film Festival all year long!
2018, Logan Hall, USA, 99 min. With Levenix Riddle, MacKenzie Chinn.
"The supernatural premise dates back at least as far as W.W. Jacobs's 1902 horror story 'The Monkey's Paw,' but screenwriter Roberta Jones wisely pushes her narrative past the confines of genre and into more complicated emotional territory." - J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader
A Faustian premise gets a contemporary twist in present-day Chicago in this sci-fi-inflected tale in which a young artist discovers that he has the ability to change the past and direct the future. Neal (Riddle), struggling in his fledgling career as an illustrator, is taken under the wing of a mysterious animation professor who leads him to harness his talent to the mystical power of West African griots. Success, acclaim, and money arrive with the stroke of a pen, but Neal's new love Tina (Chinn) soon feels the sting of her man's dark side. Power over fate is a two-edged sword examined with a serious regard for the meaning of life and death in a script by Roberta Jones. DCP digital. (BS)
2018, Nick Budabin, USA, 82 min.
- Sat, Oct 27th 8:15pm
"An intimate and involving portrait...the 82-minute CHI-TOWN compensates for its size by making every shot count." - David Ehrlich, Indiewire
A documentary about a basketball hopeful from a disadvantaged South Side neighborhood is bound to draw comparisons to HOOP DREAMS, but this compelling portrait of former Marshall High star Keifer Sykes carves out its own identity. The film's five-year saga begins with the charismatic Sykes winding up his illustrious high-school career and heading for the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Only 5'11", Sykes uses dazzling moves and amazing vertical launch to forge a record-breaking career at Green Bay, but the height factor becomes more critical when he tries to break into the NBA. The most significant difference between HOOP DREAMS and CHI-TOWN is that the latter takes place in the age of THE INTERRUPTERS. The contrast between Sykes's sheltered campus life and his violence-plagued hometown neighborhood becomes increasingly acute as friends, teammates, and even his coach are felled by incarceration and gunfire. TV veteran Budabin's superbly edited first feature maintains a propulsive energy while striking a fine balance between exciting court action, intimate character study, and wider social context. Winner of the Audience Award at the 2018 Black Harvest Film Festival. DCP digital. (MR)