The Gene Siskel Film Center presents programming in the spirit of the Black Harvest Film Festival all year long!
2018, Amanda Kopp and Aaron Kopp, Swaziland/Qatar/USA, 77 min.
“Deeply moving…a lyrical work that’s as bright and captivating as it is poignant.”--Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter
“Powerful…brilliant dramatic fairytale on par with any Pixar flick.”--Iquo B. Essien, Shadow and Act
The powerful magic of African storytelling tradition and the hard realities of poverty, epidemic, and violent conflict merge for a documentary-fiction hybrid tale stirringly and triumphantly fashioned by children. On an orphanage farm in Swaziland, South African storyteller Gcina Mhlophe leads five young orphans through the dynamic creation of an adventure story that will provide an outlet for channeling the trials, travails, and obstacles of their own young lives. The heroine they invent is Liyana--a fierce, brave girl of their own age, who sets out on a treacherous journey to rescue her twin baby brothers from child traffickers after her parents die of AIDS. Through gripping narration by the young authors, alternating with animation combining 3D sculpted characters and sumptuously rendered 2D backdrops that colorfully evoke the Swazi landscape and culture, Liyana comes to life, to cross jungle and desert, endure hunger, pain and sorrow, and bravely face the perils of crocodiles, hyenas, monsters, and thieves. Executive produced by Thandie Newton. DCP digital widescreen. (BS)
Chasing the Blues
2017, Scott Smith, USA, 77 min. With Grant Rosenmeyer, Jon Lovitz, Ronald L. Conner.
"Goofy and high-spirited." - Marilyn Ferdinand, Chicago Reader
"An extremely compelling and darkly comic ride." - Rick Kogan, Chicago Tribune
The 2 PM screening on Friday 10/12 is SOLD OUT!
Made in Chicago, this black-comic caper pays tribute to the city's musical legacy and its blues and bluesmen through a spirited fictional tale of a cursed record, based on a short story by Chicago writer Kevin Guilfoile. On the very day that Alan (Rosenmeyer of THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS), obsessed record collector and convicted felon, is released from prison, he resumes his search for the object that has been the holy grail of his life. Back in 1938, the wanted murderer Jimmy Kane Baldwin walked into a South Side studio and recorded a haunting (and haunted, it turns out) demo, then disappeared. A smarmy Southern lawyer (former SNL star Lovitz), a dotty widow (Anna Maria Horsford of A MADEA CHRISTMAS), and an arch-rival record-store owner (Conner of "Empire" and "The Chi") are among the conmen, musicians, killers, and goofballs who race through a saga that extends from the 1930s to the present, and plays like an urban legend. DCP digital. (BS)