The Gene Siskel Film Center presents programming in the spirit of the Black Harvest Film Festival all year long!
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
2015, Stanley Nelson, USA, 116 min.
"Dense, comprehensive, yet brisk and vital... It’s superb filmmaking with a sure sense of its subject." – Ray Pride, Newcity
“Nelson enthusiastically conjures a sense of what it felt like to be a Panther and to be a young black person inspired by them” — John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter
“We had a swagger,” recalls a former member of the most confrontational and controversial political organization of its era. Founded in Oakland in 1966 in response to police harassment, the Panthers openly carried weapons, dressed sharply in black berets and leather jackets, implemented important social initiatives such as the Free Breakfast for School Children program, and boasted a majority of women members. Using rare footage unadulterated by the mainstream media and candid interviews culled from all sides of the struggle, celebrated documentarian Nelson (JONESTOWN, FREEDOM SUMMER) makes the first film to cover the Panthers’ whole story, from their heady beginnings to their downfall from internal dissension and FBI subversion. DCP digital. (MR)
2015, Kim Longinotto, UK, 98 min.
"You’ve probably never heard of her, but Brenda Myers-Powell is a star…she’ll have you by the heart within minutes." – Cath Clarke, Time Out London
"There are certain documentaries that thrive on a real-world version of movie-star magnetism…DREAMCATCHER has found itself something of a supernova." – Guy Lodge, Variety
Chicago’s meanest streets breed pitiless profit-making abuse of women and girls, but one courageous woman--volunteer counselor and former sex worker Brenda Myers-Powell--traverses her community, offering a way out of exploitation to prostitutes, young rape victims, and female prisoners. Award-winning filmmaker Longinotto (DIVORCE IRANIAN STYLE) creates a vibrant portrait of Myers-Powell, a dynamo with charisma to spare, as she relates one-on-one to women at risk, extending hope along with a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and non-judgmental real-world solutions. DCP digital. (BS)