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Coming Soon: Gene Siskel Film Center To Host Festival Showcase

Coming Soon: Gene Siskel Film Center To Host Festival Showcase

The Gene Siskel Film Center of the Art Institute of Chicago announced it will present The Gene Siskel Film Center Festival Showcase, celebrating Chicago’s vibrant film festival community from Friday June 28 through Sunday June 30. The Gene Siskel Film Center has always been a proud home or partner venue for over a dozen film festivals, and over the final weekend in June, the Film Center will spotlight films hand-selected by five of these thriving homegrown film festivals: the Black Harvest Film Festival, the Chicago Palestine Film Festival, the Chicago International Film Festival, the Chicago Underground Film Festival, and Doc10.

The weekend lineup looks like this:

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Friday, June 28, 6:00 p.m.
The Black Harvest Film Festival Presents MAX ROACH: THE DRUM ALSO WALTZES
2023 / Ben Shapiro, Sam Pollard / USA / 82 mins / In English

From the shadows of Jim Crow to the crescendo of the Civil Rights movement, the birth of jazz to the expanses of Hip Hop and beyond, American jazz drummer, composer, and bebop pioneer Max Roach’s life and legacy live on with a resounding and enduring rhythm. Featuring a vanguard of Black legends and luminaries including Roach himself, Abbey Lincoln, Questlove, Quincy Jones, Harry Belafonte, Sonny Rollins, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Abdullah Ibrahim, Randy Weston, and more, this documentary is a testament to musical atonement the midst of cultural evolution and social change. Originally presented at the 29th Black Harvest Film Festival in 2023, and recipient of the Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Black Harvest Film Festival Prize Honorable Mention. Get tickets

The Black Harvest Film Festival will be celebrating its 30th year in 2024 and continues on its mission to  unite filmmakers and audiences to showcase the power of Black cinema. This annual festival highlights emerging and established talents and historical narratives, enriching the landscape of Black culture. The 30th Black Harvest Film Festival will be held at the Gene Siskel Film Center November 8-21, 2024.


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Saturday, June 29, 12:00 p.m.
The Chicago Palestine Film Festival Presents FADIA’S TREE
2022 / Sarah Beddington / UK / 82 mins / In English and Arabic with English subtitles

While millions of birds migrate freely in the skies, a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon yearns for the ancestral homeland she is denied. She challenges Sarah, the Director, to find an ancient mulberry tree that stands as witness to her family’s existence—with only inherited memories, a blind man and a two-headed dragon as her guides. Along the way, Sarah meets with ornithologists whose observations on the homing instincts of the birds highlight the unresolved problems of the region. Spanning fifteen years, this story of a friendship that stays connected across a divided land and a fragmented people adopts a birds’ eye perspective to reflect on freedom of movement, exile and the hope of return. Originally presented at the 23rd Chicago Palestine Film Festival in 2024.  Get tickets

The Chicago Palestine Film Festival, founded in 2001, is an annual cultural event that serves as a vibrant platform for showcasing the rich and diverse narratives of Palestinian cinema. As the longest-running Palestine film festival in the world, the Chicago Palestine Film Festival, a program of the Middle East Charitable and Cultural Society Inc., a non-profit organization, stands as a testament to the power of collaborative storytelling.

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Saturday, June 29, 6:00 p.m.
The Chicago International Film Festival Presents HOLY MOTORS
2012 / Leos Carax / France, Germany, Belgium / 115 mins / In English and French and Chinese with English subtitles

Several lifetimes pass in the span of a few hours for Monsieur Oscar, a shadowy character who effortlessly transitions from one realm to the next. He is, in turn, captain of industry, assassin, beggar, monster, family man. This mysterious, hallucinatory epic has ignited passions around the world for its bold, exuberant style and the euphoric virtuosity with which it presents its surreal, impressionistic narrative. Winner of the Gold Hugo for Best Film and Silver Hugos for Best Actor (Denis Levant) and Best Cinematography (Yves Cape, Caroline Champetier) at the 48th Chicago International Film Festival.

Cinema/Chicago, the presenting organization of the Chicago International Film Festival, is a year-round non-profit cultural and educational organization dedicated to fostering better communication between people of diverse cultures through the art of film and the moving image. It aims to enrich Chicago’s cultural environment by presenting film in contexts that encourage discussion and debate. Get tickets


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Saturday, June 29, 8:30 p.m.

See Also
Photo image of the downtown landscape of chicago featuring tall buildings and the famous chicago cloud gate aka the bean in Millennium Park

From alienation and anthropogenic imprints to personal histories and psychogeography, this thought-provoking program pushes the boundaries of cinema through seven groundbreaking films, six of which won jury awards at the 2023 Chicago Underground Film Festival. In VERMIN OF THE VORTEX (dir. George Kuchar, 22 min, 1996, USA), partially shot at the 1996 edition of the festival, alienation in academia is explored beneath the chandeliered opulence of a political correctional facility. SIT WHERE THE LIGHT CORRUPTS YOUR FACE (dir. Gillian Waldo, 8 min, 2023, USA) weaves together a psychogeography of two historic buildings that shared the same space in the twentieth century. The lost Warhol film starring dancer Fred Herko is poetically reimagined in GODDESS OF SPEED (dir. Frederic Moffett, 8 min, 2023, USA). STILLNESS OF LABOR (dir. Chris Larson, 9 min, 2023, USA) replicates 12 full-scale rooms using objects from an abandoned garment factory, studying the anthropogenic imprint humans leave behind. In REALLY GOOD FRIENDS (dir. Adam Sekuler, 10 min, 2022, USA), a woman in her 60s shares a surprising and provocative story of longing and unlikely connection. THE MöBIUS TRIP (dir. Simone Smith, 17 min, 2023, UK) is a darkly intimate and surreal portrayal of a dysfunctional family confined in their car during a claustrophobic road trip. In NEIGHBOUR ABDI (dir. Douwe Dijkstra, 29 min, 2022, Netherlands), a Somali-born furniture designer reenacts his life, marked by war and criminality, through playful reconstructions. Get tickets


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Sunday, June 30, 3:00 p.m.
2024 / Nanette Burstein / USA / 101 mins / In English

Elizabeth Taylor was famous for her iconic performances on screen—from CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF to WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?—as well as her personal challenges behind-the-scenes. Now, crafted from 70 hours of newly discovered interviews and unprecedented access to the movie star’s archives, this beautifully crafted portrait reveals the complexities and vulnerabilities that lay beneath her glossy persona. From this year’s Cannes Film Festival and directed by Oscar-nominated director Nanette Burstein (THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE), this “intriguing … elegantly constructed” (The Hollywood Reporter ) documentary is a “satisfying journey through one of Hollywood’s most memorable careers” (Deadline). Chicago premiere!

Doc10, which celebrates its 10th anniversary next year, is Chicago’s only all-documentary film festival that has firmly set its place in Chicago’s cultural scene. Each year the festival screens the 10 best documentaries culled from Sundance, SXSW, Hot Docs, and other top-tier festivals across the world, giving Chicago audiences the first—and often only—opportunity to see extraordinary films on the big screen.


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