The Gene Siskel Film Center presents programming in the spirit of the Black Harvest Film Festival all year long!
My America Too
- Sat, Feb 20th 12:00pm
"An intriguing mix of theater, film and activism." – Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times
Ten writers were commissioned, by Baltimore’s Center Stage Theatre, to create plays set around the kitchen table, inspired by recent events in communities like Sanford, FL; Cleveland, OH; Ferguson, MO; Staten Island, NY; Baltimore, MD; and Charleston, SC. Six of the plays were filmed as pieces of street theater, guerrilla-style, at pivotal locations across the country bringing into searing focus topics that face Chicago today. Playwrights include Chicago’s Lydia R. Diamond as well as Larissa FastHorse, Neil LaBute, Kenneth Lin, Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder, and Kwame Kwei-Armah and Hana Sharif.
2015, Aviva Kempner, USA, 96 min.
"Rich and fascinating biography." – Daniel M. Gold, The New York Times
"Wholly engaging from its first frame to its last ... [Viewers] are guaranteed to leave the theater enlightened and perhaps more than a touch gobsmacked.” – Matt Fagerholm, RogerEbert.com
Before the appearance of this acclaimed documentary, Jewish philanthropist Julius Rosenwald had been largely forgotten – except within the African American community, where his massive influence remained widely appreciated. A Russian peddler’s son who made a fortune running Sears, Roebuck & Co., the Chicago-based Rosenwald resolved to share his wealth. Connecting the dots between Russian pogroms and Southern lynchings, he focused his largesse on education for African Americans. His ingeniously financed Rosenwald Schools (inspired by his friend Booker T. Washington) provided unprecedented learning opportunities for black children in rural communities. His Rosenwald Fund nurtured the careers of a veritable who’s who of “talented tenth” eminences: Langston Hughes, Marian Anderson, Jacob Lawrence, Gordon Parks, Ralph Bunche, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Maya Angelou...the list goes on and on. Director Kempner (THE LIFE AND TIMES OF HANK GREENBERG) creates a stirring tribute not only to a remarkable man but, even more so, to the leading figures of twentieth-century African American culture, an astonishing number of whom were empowered by Rosenwald’s generosity. DCP digital. (MR)