Screening will be followed by a conversation with Aarin Burch, Zeinabu irene Davis, Jada-Amina, and Paige Taul. FREE SAIC student tickets will be released Sunday, September 10th.

Thursday, September 14, 6:00 p.m. | In 1976, an extraordinary group of Black feminist artists organized the first-ever Black women’s film festival: the Sojourner Truth Festival of the Arts. Four decades later, a new generation of artists, curators, and scholars have revived the festival. The University of Chicago’s Logan Center for the Arts hosted the first iteration in spring 2023; Gene Siskel Film Center hosts the second with a four-day series celebrating the rich legacy of Black feminist filmmaking.

INTERIOR LIVES opens the Film Center’s events by bringing together 10 exquisite films from the ‘80s, ‘90s, and today that foreground Black women’s interiority. Featuring works by Aarin Burch, Zeinabu irene Davis, Cheryl Dunye, Jada-Amina, S. Pearl Sharp, Cauleen Smith, Paige Taul, Yvonne Welbon, and Fronza Woods and a post-screening discussion with Burch, Davis, Jada-Amina, and Taul, moderated by Sarah Oberholtzer, Program Manager, Sisters in Cinema. 

Presented in partnership with the University of Chicago's Film Studies Center, Sisters in Cinema, and the Gene Siskel Film Center, with support from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE). The spring 2023 series was curated by Yvonne Welbon, Allyson Nadia Field, Monica Freeman, Hayley O’Malley, Michael W. Phillips, Jr., and Yvonne Welbon. The September 2023 series is curated by Allyson Nadia Field, Hayley O’Malley, and Yvonne Welbon.


DREAMS OF PASSION (Aarin Burch, 1989, 16mm, 4 minutes / In English)
Featuring contemporary dancers Matima Hadi and Debra Floyd, DREAMS OF PASSION explores creative and sexual desire between two Black women.

SPIN CYCLE (Aarin Burch, 1991, 16mm, 6 minutes / In English)
In this autobiographical look at filmmaking and romantic relationships, Aarin Burch ruminates on how to represent race, the ways her films might objectify women, and being pigeonholed as a Black lesbian filmmaker.

CYCLES (Zeinabu irene Davis, 1989, Digital Video, 16 minutes / In English)
Zeinabu irene Davis combines live action, animation, and still photography in this beautiful portrait of a woman taking stock of her life and performing acts of self-care.

JANINE (Cheryl Dunye, 1990, Digital Video, 9 minutes / In English)
In this candid self-portrait, Cheryl Dunye (THE WATERMELON WOMAN) tells the story of a fraught teenage friendship with a white upper-middle class girl. Through direct address and high school snapshots, Dunye relays the often painful process of searching for—and ultimately affirming—her Black lesbian identity.

I’M NOT GOING TO DIE, I’M GOING HOME LIKE A SHOOTING STAR (Jada-Amina, 2020, Digital Video, 15 minutes / In English) 
Taking its title from Sojourner Truth’s own words, Jada-Amina’s film explores the Black ecstatic through archival footage, Black cultural icons, and vignettes of loved ones. 

BACK INSIDE HERSELF (S. Pearl Sharp, 1984, Digital Video, 4 minutes / In English)
First place winner at the San Francisco Poetry Film Festival and the Black American Cinema Society’s Independent Film Awards, S. Pearl Sharp’s debut film is a visual poem on identity and the assertion of self, starring the magnetic actor Barbara O. Jones (DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST, BUSH MAMA). 

CHRONICLES OF A LYING SPIRIT (BY KELLY GABRON) (Cauleen Smith, 1992, 16mm, 6 minutes / In English) 
A fabulist short that traces a circuitous history from the Middle Passage to late-1980s, Cauleen Smith’s film concludes with an unflinching monologue about class privilege and artistic responsibility, declaring: “The only way I’m gonna get on TV is to make my own goddamn tapes and play them for myself, my sisters, my brothers. We will be seen, and we will be heard.”

10:28,30 (Paige Taul, 2019, Digital Video, 5 minutes / In English)
Part of the larger constellations of works concerning familial ties, 10:28,30 explores the relationships between Paige Taul, her twin sister, and their mother.

MONIQUE (Yvonne Welbon, 1991, Digital Video, 2 minutes / In English)
Yvonne Welbon reflects on a childhood experience of racism and considers how deeply it is ingrained in the fabric of society, pervasive enough to infect even children’s play.

FANNIE’S FILM (Fronza Woods, 1981, 16mm, 15 minutes / In English)
A portrait of a 65-year-old woman as she tells stories about her life while cleaning a Pilates studio. Challenging mainstream media’s stereotypes of women of color who earn their living as domestic workers, this seemingly simple documentary achieves a quiet revolution: the expressive portrait of a fully realized individual.


This event will have real-time captions (CART). For other accessibility requests, please visit or contact

SAIC Student Tickets

All CATE programs are free for SAIC students. Unless otherwise noted, SAIC student tickets are released five days prior to showtime. Tickets must be picked up in person from the Gene Siskel Film Center box office. A student ID is required.

Member Series Pass: Attend the series at a discounted rate - exclusively for Film Center members. The pass provides access to all eight screenings, with artists in conversation, for a special $40 rate. 

Purchase your pass today