From August 5 through 31, the Gene Siskel Film Center presents the 23rd Annual Black Harvest Film Festival, a vibrant month-long celebration of independent films that tell the stories and explore the images, heritage, and history of the worldwide black experience. The festival offers audiences in-depth post-film discussions with filmmakers, directors, writers, production personnel, and cast members. I’ve listed my top picks from the festival below. For the full schedule, click here to visit the Black Harvest Film Festival website. I hope to see you at the movies.
- Saturday, August 5 – Opening Night -7:30 p.m. A Black Harvest Feast – Co-hosts Felicia Middlebrooks and Christian Farr from NBC 5 Chicago. Che “Rhymefest” Smith and Donnie Smith will be awarded the Deloris Jordan Award for Excellence in Community Leadership – SOLD OUT
- Sunday, August 6 – TELL THEM WE ARE RISING: THE STORY OF BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES – 5:30 p.m. Producer Cyndee Readdean will be present and radio legend Richard Steele will be moderating. Margaret Caples, Exec. Dir. of Community Film Workshop will be honored; she is also co-founder of Diverse Voices in Docs at Kartemquin Films. Gordon Quinn, Artistic Dir., Kartemquin Films, will give her the award.
- Monday, August 7 – TELL THEM WE ARE RISING: THE STORY OF BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES – 8:00 p.m. – Producer Cyndee Readdean will be present and entrepreneur/producer Raymond Lambert (Morehouse graduate) will be moderating. Patty Greene from Southwest Airlines will be doing the introduction as they are a sponsor of the festival.
- Wednesday, August 9 – Monthly HBO sponsored Movie Club screening – For August, it is Shorts Program: WOMEN OF COLOR – 6:00 p.m. Filmmakers will be present. Bonnie DeShong, DuSable Museum, and radio legend, will moderate. Post-screening discussion will take place at Rosebud Prime, 1 S. Dearborn.
- Friday and Saturday, August 11 & 12 – WHITNEY: CAN I BE ME – 8:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. – This Whitney Houston documentary will premiere at Black Harvest before it airs on Showtime. Dance party featuring DJ I.N.C. after Friday’s screening.
- Saturday, August 12 – LET IT FALL: LOS ANGELES 1982-1992 -8:00 p.m. Director, Academy Award winner John Ridley will be present. Felicia Middlebrooks, the voice of CBS WBBM radio, will lead the discussion. (She is a new board member of the Gene Siskel Film Center).
- Sunday, August 13 at 5:15 p.m. and Wednesday, August 16 at 8:30 p.m. – Shorts Program: MADE IN CHICAGO I – local filmmakers highlighted including a short called A LOVE LETTER TO THE ANCESTORS FROM CHICAGO by Ytasha L. Womack and FEAR by Chan C. Smith.
- Friday, August 18 at 6:00 p.m. and Saturday, August 19 at 8:30 p.m. – Shorts Program: Love African American Style – six shorts look at the beautiful, daring, and terrifying things we do for love including a short called 90 Days by Chicago’s Own Nathan Hale Williams.
- Saturday, August 19 from 1:00-5:00 p.m. New for 2017 – Black Harvest Marketplace – Black-owned businesses will be selling their wares. Confirmed participants include Love Cork Screw, K-FLEYE, Brooks Permissions, aplumb, AHF Body Chemistry, Dana Todd Pope, KaZoom Publishing, NUM YUMMIES, and now Voted Most Creative. Looking for a few more. $50 per vendor space.
- Saturday, August 19 at 3:00 p.m. – Free Admission – Annual panel – Action! The Real Deal About Filmmaking
- Saturday, August 19 at 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, August 20 at 5:15 p.m. – 90 MINUTES OF THE FEVER – Actor Glenn Plummer will be present for both screenings. There will be a complimentary reception with food from BJ’s Market & Bakery on Sunday.
- Sunday, August 20 at 3:00 p.m. FAST BREAK: THE LEGENDARY JOHN MCCLENDON – ABC 7 sports anchor Jim Rose will moderate the discussion with Assoc. Producer Milton Katz.
- Friday, August 25 at 6:00 p.m. and Saturday, August 26 at 8:30 p.m. – DIVA DIARIES – Director/actress Tangi Miller will be present for both screenings. Deanna Burrell will moderate on Friday and Art “Chat Daddy” Sims will moderate on Saturday.
- Friday, August 25 at 8:30 p.m. and Saturday, August 26 at 6:00 p.m. – ON THE SLY: THE SEARCH FOR THE FAMILY STONE – Director Michael Rubenstone will be present for both screenings. Post-screening dance party featuring DJ I.N.C. after Friday’s screening. Richard Steele will lead the discussion on Saturday.
- Saturday, August 26 at 1:00 p.m. Master Class with Disney legend Floyd Norman – http://www.siskelfilmcenter.
- Saturday, August 26 at 3:15 p.m. FLOYD NORMAN: AN ANIMATED LIFE – Disney legend Floyd Norman will be present.
- Sunday, August 27 at 1:00 p.m. – Free Admission – The Realities of Screenwriting
- Sunday, August 27 at 5:00 p.m. and Tuesday, August 29 at 8:15 p.m. Shorts Program: MADE IN CHICAGO II – local filmmakers highlighted including Shahari Moore, Lonnie Edwards, David Weathersby, among others.
- Thursday, August 31 at 6:30 p.m. – Closing Night – 20th anniversary screening of love jones – Writer/director Theodore Witcher will be appearing. Post-screening reception courtesy of tesori trattoria & bar, Love Cork Screw, and MillerCoors. SOLD OUT
Deanna Burrell is the author of the best-selling novel, Single Girl Summer. Described as “Waiting to Exhale” meets “Sex and the City”, your summer won’t be complete without it. Click here to download Single Girl Summer now!
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