The 16th Annual Black Harvest International Festival of Film and Video is an opportunity to be a part of unique and creative works showcasing the cinematic black perspective and experience. On display for viewing are new, independent works from innovative filmmakers in Chicago and internationally.
Hosted by the Gene Siskel Film Center of the Art Institute of Chicago, the annual festival runs from Aug.6 to Sept. 2 this year. It features more than 40 films that include features, documentaries, shorts, and musicals. Take part in special events, sneak previews, and personal appearances.
One of my suggested presentations is Tarantino and Co., which runs through Aug. 26. As an avid fan of director Quentin Tarantino, I recommend viewing his series of 15 films that highlight his prolific and uniquely creative career, with a mix of some of his fave film influences. These productions include “Jackie Brown,” (nice indy flick), Inglorious Basterds and an all-time-favorite cult classic, (and one of my faves), “Pulp Fiction.”
The festival continues for two more weeks. Phenomenal films from Africa are causing quite a stir at the film festival this year. Some stand-outs drawing attention: “Kinshasa Symphony,” “Saint Louis Blues,” and “Nora.”
There is a Sneak Preview Party on Aug. 17, with proceeds going to the Gene Siskel Film Center’s educational programs. Tickets for admission are $15, $25 per couple. Things kick off at 6:30pm and give you an opportunity to vie for a free ticket to see the pic, “Lottery Ticket.”
Actor Bow Wow, (rapper Lil Bow Wow all grown up), stars as a big winner of a 4th of July lottery. He is pursued, hounded, and dogged out by thugs, hotties, and everyone wanting in on a piece of the action, the cash prize money.
Purchase a Black Harvest Film Festival pass for $50, and see 6 movies for the price of 5. At the end of the festival, turn your pass in for a $5 discount on a Film Center membership, (an $83. value).
Aug. 13: “Sharkula: Diarrhea of a Madman” 8:15pm
Chicago filmmaker Joshua Conro makes a documentary of a hometown character always on the go, hustling, making friends, constantly on the move doing things.
Aug. 15: “Kinshasa Symphony” 5:15pm
Considered an outstanding documentary by German duo Claus Wischmann and Martin Baer, this is a film through their eyes of preparations being made for an outdoor concert of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in the Democratic Republic of Congo.The music director patiently works with the amateur musicians and chorus. In French and Lingala with English subtitles.
Aug. 20: “Jean-Michel Basquiat:The Radiant Child” 6:30pm
Tamra Davis documents the life of painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, who would never feel totally welcomed in the white art world.
Aug 22: “Neshoba:The Price of Freedom” 5:15pm
Co-directors Micki Dickoff and Tony Pagano present this disturbing documentary on the murders of three civil rights organizers in Neshoba County, Miss, back in 1964. A very compelling story by Micki Dickoff, an indy filmmaker for more than 25 years. Tony Pagan makes his directorial debut but has worked in the broadcast industry for 31 years. His accomplishments include 17 years with ABC News Program 20/20.
Aug. 27: “Blues March:Soldier Jon Hendricks” 6:30pm
Jon Hendricks, presently the Distinguished Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Toledo, is the focus of this documentary by German director Matte Rauch. Jon is noted for his singing career with trio Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross, which began in 1957. He was also a court-martialed World War II soldier enduring the extreme racism of that era. (Repeat screening Aug. 30 at 8:15pm).
Aug. 28: “On The Frontline: Taking Back Our Streets” 3pm
This is an eye-opening flick on shooting and snitching in Chicago by David Grace.
“Chicago Heights” 8:15pm
Coordinator of Independent Film and Digital Imaging at Governors State University, Daniel Nearing, takes Sherwood Anderson’s fictional story about his Ohio hometown and re-writes the tale, relocating it to Chicago. (Repeat screening Sept. 1 at 8:15pm).
Aug. 29: “Saint Louis Blues” (“Un Transport en Commun”) 3:15pm
Paris-born Dyana Gaye and her Senegal/French production company present this lively musical. An interesting and colorful cast of characters grab a taxi for Saint Louis. On the way, they share stories, repair a radiator, and sing songs. (In French and Wolof, with English subtitles).
This 35-minute film plays after “Saint Louis Blues.” The documentary chronicles the life of a choreographer living in Brooklyn, taking you back to Zimbabwe during her youth from 1965 to 1989. (Repeat screening Aug. 31 at 6:30pm).
General Admission: $10, Members, $5, (Some events costs are more)
For more info on the Black Harvest Film Festival go here.
View Black Harvest Film Festival past submission here.
suntimes.com, shadowandact.com, siskelfilmcenter.org, YouTube.com