This year the Black Harvest Film Festival – which is held every August at the Gene Siskel Center at the Art Institute of Chicago – will be celebrating its 23rd year. Along with the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles and Urbanworld in New York, Black Harvest has become one of the most important and significant film festivals for black cinema in the country.
And now, because of its stature and continuing work to support black film and filmmakers, the National Endowment of the Arts has awarded Black Harvest with its first major NEA grant as part of $30 million in grants, in the NEA’s first major funding announcement for its 2017 Art Works initiative.
In an official announcement about the grant, NEA Chairman Jane Chu, said: “The arts are for all of us, and by supporting organizations such as the Gene Siskel Film Center, the National Endowment for the Arts is providing more opportunities for the public to engage with the arts. Whether in a theater, a town square, a museum, or a hospital, the arts are everywhere and make our lives richer.”
In response, Jean de St. Aubin, the Siskel Film Center’s Executive Director, said “We are delighted that the NEA has approved the Gene Siskel Film Center for a grant, for the Black Harvest Film Festival. We are very grateful for their support and the endorsement of our work. We look forward to presenting the 23rd Annual Black Harvest Film Festival, a program that showcases emerging and established filmmakers from the African diaspora, and attracts audiences from throughout the Midwest.”
This year the festival will be held from Aug. 4-31. Submissions announcements are coming in the few weeks.