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The Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Black Harvest Film Festival, an annual showcase for films that celebrate, explore, and share the Black, African American, and African Diaspora experience, is upon us and this year’s lineup promises to be a good one. The fest is scheduled to run from November 3 through 16 and those two weeks are packed with not only a sold out opening night but several events and series you don’t want to miss. As we previously mentioned, this year’s Gene Siskel Film Center Black Harvest Film Festival is curated by Jada-Amina and Nick Leffel.
Black Harvest Film Festival celebrates “Revolutionary Visions,” the history, politics, and art honoring the remarkable legacy of revolutionary struggle across the diaspora, and the intersectionality of Black experiences worldwide.
From the relentless journey of the Middle Passage to the fight against apartheid and the Civil Rights struggle, the history of revolutionary thought is deeply woven into the fabric of our collective narrative. “Revolutionary Visions” beckon us to traverse Black imaginations that unfurl as a vast ancestral landscape of boundless creativity that transcends time and space.
Presenting Sponsor for the 29th Black Harvest Film Festival is Gilead Sciences Inc., Producing Sponsor are Allstate and Gallagher; Celebrity sponsor BMO Wealth Management. Foundation and support from: The Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Foundation, Art Works, National Endowment for the Arts, DCASE and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.
Screened exclusively at the Gene Siskel Film Center from November 3 through 16, this year’s festival proudly showcases 20 feature films, 10 short film programs, special presentations, and engaging discussions, in addition to a heartfelt tribute to the visionary director, John Singleton. Enjoy Q&A sessions, celebrations, and special events, with star appearances and special guests including directors, cast members, and a vibrant community of Black filmmakers and enthusiasts.
The 29th Black Harvest Film Festival celebrates “Revolutionary Visions,” the history, politics, and art honoring the remarkable legacy of revolutionary struggle across the Diaspora.
Black Harvest Film Festival Highlights
- Opening Night, November 3: NBC Chicago entertainment reporter LeeAnn Trotter will emcee the night, presiding over a showcase of select Black Harvest Film Festival short films and the announcement of the winners of The Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Black Harvest Film Festival Prize. Following the program, attendees are cordially invited to a reception in the lobby.
- John Singleton Retrospective: Honoring John Singleton’s cinematic legacy with a five-film retrospective. Filmmaker, scholar, and poet Justice Singleton, son of the late John Singleton, will join for an engaging in-person discussion.
- Chicago Premiere of MAXINE’S BABY: THE TYLER PERRY STORY: The festival will conclude on November 16 with the Chicago premiere of MAXINE’S BABY: THE TYLER PERRY STORY, a tender, intimate portrait of the billionaire writer, actor, filmmaker, studio head and media mogul, with directors Gelila Bekele and Armani Ortiz in person.
- A special presentation of Cord Jefferson’s satirical comedy AMERICAN FICTION, based on Percival Everett’s 2001 novel Erasure, starring Jeffrey Wright, Tracee Ellis Ross, Issa Rae, Adam Brody, Erika Alexander, and Leslie Uggams.
- Chicago Premiere of BLACK BARBIE: THE DOCUMENTARY: Chicago premiere of Lagueria Davis’s documentary showcasing the profound impact of Black Barbies on girls, followed by a virtual director Q&A.
- Screening of SYMBOL OF THE UNCONQUERED: Oscar Micheaux’s timeless 1920 silent film will be accompanied by a live, improvised, and electronic music score, performed by the talented trio of saxophonist Edward Wilkerson, and guitarists Jeff Parker and Jonathan Woods.
- Homegrown Stories: The Black Harvest Film Festival will proudly showcase several homegrown stories, including:
- Two collections of locally-made short films
- NO COP ACADEMY: A DOCUMENTARY, Caullen Hudson’s chronicle of the city of Chicago’s plan to build a state-of-the-art “cop academy.”
- KINKY AND LOVING IT, David Weathersby’s empowering documentary highlighting the transformative potential of reclamation, plus a post-screening kink vendor fair and reception.
You can purchase individual tickets and festival passes HERE.
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