The Gene Siskel Film Center has announced its lineup for the 2011 Black Harvest International Festival of Film and Video, which runs August 5 through September 1 in Chicago
The festival specializes in presenting new work by independent filmmakers from Chicago and around the world, focusing on the black experience.
This year’s event features sixteen feature films and thirty shorts, including a few films we’ve covered on this site such as Congolese neo-noir thriller Viva Riva! (pictured), Yoav Potash‘s social documentary Crime After Crime, and Victoria Mahoney’s Yelling to the Sky.
The complete list follows below:
The Gene Siskel Film Center welcomes you to a most exciting new edition of
the “Black Harvest International Festival of Film and Video,” from August 5
through September 1. Throughout the month, our screen comes alive with
stories and images of the black experience on film and video. This vibrant
showcase specializes in presenting new work by independent filmmakers from
Chicago and around the world. As always, the festival features a bountiful
array of personal appearances by filmmakers for audience discussion. There
are special events and parties, too, so see individual film listings for
details, and check our web site www.siskelfilmcenter.com often for updates.
Tickets are sure to be in short supply for the festival¹s opening night on
August 5, when Golden Globe-winning, Emmy-nominated actress and playwright
Regina Taylor receives this year¹s “Deloris Jordan Award for Excellence in
Community Leadership.” NBC 5¹s LeeAnn Trotter MCs the program, “A Black
Harvest Feast,” which includes Chicago filmmaker Evan Allen-Gessesse
introducing his short film ERIC¹S HAIRCUT.
We¹re proud that “Black Harvest” continues the tradition of giving special
prominence to Chicago talent. This year¹s festival includes sixteen feature
films and thirty shorts. A solid 40% of the films were made in the Chicago
area or involve artists or subjects particular to our region. Features with
Chicago connections include: INFILTRATING HOLLYWOOD: THE RISE AND FALL OF
“THE SPOOK WHO SAT BY THE DOOR”; KISS AND TELL: BLACK ROMANCE IN FILM;
OVERCOME; PHUNNY BUSINESS: A BLACK COMEDY; PREACHER; and SEPARATED AT BIRTH.
Among the festival¹s special events are special advance screenings of BEING
ELMO: A PUPPETEER’S JOURNEY, an engaging profile of Kevin Clash, the African
American Muppeteer who brings the beloved character Elmo to life; and VIVA
RIVA!, an action-packed neo-noir thriller from the Congo. For those working
to get a film off the ground, on Sunday, August 14, we offer the panel
discussion “How to Get a Movie Made,” a free DIY workshop covering every
aspect of production for the aspiring independent filmmaker.
Throughout the festival, the Gene Siskel Film Center gallery features the
show “Nan je m¹ gade” (Through my eyes), an exhibition of photographs shot
by Haitian children with disposable cameras, curated by School of the Art
Institute of Chicago student Jackie Furtado.
The “Black Harvest Film Festival” is supported by the Chicago Community
Trust; the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; American Airlines; and the
Alphawood Foundation. Special thanks to festival consultant Sergio Mims,
our “Black Harvest” Community Council, and the many filmmakers who help make
this festival possible.
Family Friendly Films!
For your convenience, we have designated programs that are Family Friendly
with the symbol FF.
Purchase a “Black Harvest” festival pass for $50!
Six movies for less than the price of five, plus a free small popcorn with
each film. Turn your pass in at the end of the festival for a $5 discount
on a Gene Siskel Film Center membership. A $92 value for $50!
Opening Night Celebration
Join Master of Ceremonies LeeAnn Trotter of NBC 5 Chicago for the opening
night celebration. The “Deloris Jordan Award for Excellence in Community
Leadership” will be presented to actress and playwright Regina Taylor.
After the show, the audience is invited to join our celebrity guests for a
reception hosted by the Gene Siskel Film Center in our gallery/café.
Friday, August 5, 7:30 pm
Opening Night Films!
A Black Harvest Feast
2009-11, Various directors, USA, 70 min.
Friday, August 5, 7:30 pm
Enjoy a sneak preview of the 2011 ³harvest² through an exciting selection of
five short films conveying the spirit and vibrant feeling of the month-long
festival. In Evan Allen-Gessesse’s autobiographical ERIC’S HAIRCUT (2011, 6
min.), a young boy’s trip to the barber becomes a painfully funny ordeal.
In Clair Breton¹s touching BRUCIE (2009, 8 min.), a dad foresees that his
junkyard rambles with his tomboy daughter will end with the advent of
womanhood. In Kelechi Ezie¹s THE TRUTH ABOUT BEAUTY AND BLOGS (2010, 13
min.), a Webcam diva seeks to get her groove back after her man posts
himself as ³single² on Facebook. In THREE PRAYERS FOR JUNE (2010, 16 min.),
Inna Braude brings comedy, high drama, and Vodou rituals to the story of a
woman¹s attempt to conceive. The casual hook-up culture of a college campus
comes in for some spoofing in Raafi Rivero¹s THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GUMMY
BEARS (2010, 24 min.). Various video formats. (BS & MR)
Director Evan Allen-Gessesse and producer Barbara Allen of ERIC’S HAIRCUT
will be present.
Special admission prices for this program: General Admission $25; Students
$20; Members $15. Proceeds from this screening benefit the educational
programs of the Gene Siskel Film Center. No free passes, blue tickets, or
Black Harvest festival passes will be valid for this screening.
Closing Night Film!
Filmmakers in person!
PHUNNY BUSINESS: A BLACK COMEDY
2010, John Davies, USA, 84 min.
Saturday, August 27, 5:45 pm
Thursday, September 1, 7:30 pm
Once upon a time on Chicago¹s near South Side, the comedy club All Jokes
Aside functioned as a veritable ³star factory,² launching the careers of
comics including Steve Harvey, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Jamie Foxx,
MoNique, Bernie Mac, Carlos Mencia, and many more. The brainchild of
Raymond Lambert, the club was major on the national scene and a powerhouse
of black talent, but, in many ways, it was Chicago¹s best-kept secret.
After a decade, the club fell victim to the economy and the twists of local
politics, but the legend lives on in this dynamic documentary narrated by
John Ridley. HDCAM video. (BS)
Director/writer John Davies, producer/writer Raymond Lambert, producer Reid
Brody, and DP/editor Brian Kallies will be present for audience discussion
at both screenings. Thursday’s closing-night screening will hosted by Brian
Babylon. Chicago-born and a fixture in Chicago’s rich comedy community,
Babylon hosts and produces the radio show Morning AMp on Vocalo.org, a
sister station of WBEZ91.5.
After the Thursday show, the audience is invited to a reception hosted by
Whole Foods Market in our gallery/café.
In the Gene Siskel Film Center gallery
July 1–October 3
Nan je m’ gade
(Through my eyes)
“Nan je m’ gade” (Through my eyes) is an exhibition of photographs taken by
Haitian children depicting their lives in their hometown of Ouanaminthe,
Haiti. Over the past year and a half, artist and School of the Art
Institute of Chicago undergraduate student Jackie Furtado visited the
Ministere Sur Le Rocher orphanage where the children reside. Seeking ways
to incorporate art in the children’s lives, she distributed over eighty
disposable cameras; for many of the children, this was their first exposure
to photography. Their perspectives present Ouanaminthe in a personal and
raw form that, to the artist’s knowledge, has not been captured in this
manner until now.
Special advance screening!
BEING ELMO: A PUPPETEER¹S JOURNEY
2011, Constance Marks, USA, 80 min.
Sunday, August 7, 3:00 pm
Muppets nostalgia fans, this one¹s for you! Filmmaker Constance Marks
provides an in-depth profile of Kevin Clash, the African American Muppeteer
who has for decades been bringing the beloved character Elmo to life. From
a childhood in Baltimore, where he demonstrated an early talent for
designing puppets, to his evolving work with Jim Henson and Sesame Street,
this is truly a behind-the-scenes look at a quiet, unassuming artist who is
utterly transformed in the creation of manic Elmo. Winner of the Special
Jury Prize: Documentary at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. HDCAM video.
CRIME AFTER CRIME
2010, Yoav Potash, USA, 93 min.
With Dee Kelly Barrett, Anthony Belcher
Sunday, August 28, 5:00 pm
“Riveting and devastating.”–New York Magazine
“[Potash’s] moral outrage is magnificent…makes it difficult to leave the
theater with dry eyes and an untouched heart.”–Jeannette Catsoulis, The New
Described by its director as a cross between ERIN BROCKOVICH and PRECIOUS,
this gripping documentary tells of Deborah Peagler, a young black woman who
in 1983 was sentenced to life imprisonment for the contract killing of her
brutally abusive boyfriend. A 2002 law regarding domestic-violence victims
enables her case to be reopened, and two dedicated young lawyers–one an
Orthodox Jew, both with personal experience of abuse–agree to defend
Peagler, now a model prisoner and inspiration to her sister convicts. They
uncover a hair-raising history of false testimony, strong-arm prosecutorial
tactics, suppressed evidence, cover-ups, and double-crosses, as they fight
to obtain long-deferred justice before it is too late. HDCAM video. (MR)
THE DISAPPEARANCE OF McKINLEY NOLAN
2010, Henry Corra, USA, 77 min.
Sunday, August 14, 5:30 pm
Tuesday, August 16, 6:30 pm
In 2005, a ghost appears on the streets of Tay Ninh. Vietnam veteran Dan
Smith finds himself face-to-face with a man who seems to be McKinley Nolan,
a black G.I. who defected in 1967 and whose trail has long since vanished.
Nolan’s Texas family has never given up hope, and his brother Mike
accompanies Smith back to Southeast Asia in an attempt to unravel the
mystery. As the search leads from Vietnam to the jungles of Cambodia, this
haunting documentary movingly measures its missing person against a vastly
larger convocation of ghosts. DigiBeta video. (MR)
Van Elder in person!
DWB: DATING WHILE BLACK
2010, Van Elder, USA, 97 min.
With Brandon Fobbs, Eddie Goines
Friday, August 12, 8:30 pm
Tuesday, August 16, 8:15 pm
In this wry romantic comedy, dating divides the world into players and
suckers. At least that¹s how it looks to hapless Eric, newly dumped by his
fiancée and facing the daunting prospect of getting back into the game under
the calculating tutelage of his buddy Alex, a cynical lady¹s man. Lessons
learned, sort of, he lurches into encounters with dates including an
imperious buppie princess and a blacker-than-black white chick, wondering if
being himself might be the best solution. Actor Brian Fobbs brings an
appealing homespun quality to the role of Eric, effectively underlining
director Elder¹s pointed but affecting look at the perils of romance from a
male point of view. DVCAM video. (BS)
Director Van Elder will be present for audience discussion on Friday.
Festival panel discussion
How to Get a Movie Made
Sunday, August 14, 3:00 pm
Our “Black Harvest” panel discussion, which annually debates issues relating
to black filmmaking, will dissect the process of making a film, from getting
the money to casting, production, post-production, and distribution. “Black
Harvest” festival consultant Sergio Mims heads up a panel of filmmakers to
include directors Darryl Pitts (KISS AND TELL), Daniel Willis (C’MON GET
HAPPY), Messiah Equiano (A TEST OF FAITH), and others TBA. The audience is
invited to participate with questions in this provocative forum. (BS)
Filmmakers in person!
THE RISE AND FALL OF THE SPOOK WHO SAT BY THE DOOR
2010, Christine Acham and Clifford Ward, USA, 57 min.
Sunday, August 21, 5:30 pm
Thursday, August 25, 6:15 pm
Ivan Dixon’s 1973 cult classic THE SPOOK WHO SAT BY THE DOOR has been called
“the most radical of the blaxploitation films of the ’70s” (Jonathan
Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader). Set in Chicago and based on the controversial
novel by Chicagoan Sam Greenlee, it tells of an African American CIA
employee who uses his guerrilla training to organize a black revolution.
This fascinating documentary tracks down the surviving participants to tell
the story behind the making of the film, including its unorthodox
money-raising strategies, its location-shooting in Gary, Indiana, after
permission was denied in Chicago, and the pressure applied by the FBI to
squelch its release after a successful opening. DigiBeta video. (MR)
Directors Christine Acham and Clifford Ward and novelist Sam Greenlee will
be present for audience discussion at both screenings.
Darryl Pitts in person!
KISS AND TELL: BLACK ROMANCE IN FILM
2011, Darryl Pitts, USA, 71 min.
Narrated by Sheryl Lee Ralph
Friday, August 26, 6:15 pm
Monday, August 29, 8:15 pm
Hollywood hasn’t always been receptive to the subject, but black actors and
filmmakers have managed to create a remarkable number of memorable romantic
moments in the movies. A star-studded line-up of over 70 actors, directors,
and producers (including Diahann Carroll, Ernie Hudson, Regina King, Nia
Long, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Lynn Whitfield, Vanessa Williams, and many more)
enthusiastically expound on the topic, picking their favorite moments,
defining the key elements of a romantic film, identifying icons (Dorothy
Dandridge, Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington), and celebrating the
resurgence of black romance in the 1990s (BOOMERANG, WAITING TO EXHALE, LOVE
JONES). DVCAM video. (MR)
Director Darryl Pitts will be present for audience discussion on Friday.
Ryan Richmond in person!
2010, Ryan Richmond, USA, 89 min.
With Annjanue Ellis, Terri Abney
Monday, August 15, 8:00 pm
Thursday, August 18, 6:30 pm
Blooming into lively and intelligent womanhood, Monique ³Money² Matters
chafes under her single mother¹s stern discipline and religious fervor in
this coming of age family drama with a surprising twist. A new friendship
with a gang girl opens the door to love, a secret that Money knows she must
keep, even as she begins to probe the mysterious cloud of guilt that hangs
over her birth and her mother¹s past relationships. In this first feature,
winner of the Urban World Film Festival¹s HBO Screenplay Competition,
director Richmond brings the force of authentic emotion to a complex story.
HDCAM video. (BS)
Director Ryan Richmond will be present for audience discussion at both
Filmmakers in person!
2011, Dion Strowhorn Sr. and Simeon Henderson, USA, 53 min.
With Victor Edwards, Sheree Bynum
2010, Nadia Hallgren, USA, 19 min.
Friday, August 19, 8:30 pm
Tuesday, August 23, 8:15 pm
With Chicago grit, OVERCOME pits youthful hope against the despair generated
by a shattered family. Young Chris Mitchell, a talented dancer, has big
dreams in his head–and the daily reality of his parents¹ drug addiction in
his face. His grades are slipping, his personal life takes a disastrous
dive, and yet a concerned teacher (Simeon Henderson) refuses to give up on
him. Chris, in turn, refuses to give up on his mother (a powerful
performance by Sheree Bynum). Their future as a family hangs in the balance
as a critical dance audition looms. Mini-DV video.
Preceded by LOVE LOCKDOWN: Young mother Shoshana strives to hold her little
family together while waiting and hoping for the return of her fiancé, who
faces a 20-year sentence on a drug charge. HDCAM video. (BS)
Co-directors Dion Strowhorn Sr. and Simeon Henderson and producer Susan
Strowhorn of OVERCOME will be present at both screenings for audience
Daniel Kraus in person!
2011, Daniel Kraus, USA, 73 min.
Sunday, August 28, 3:00 pm
Tuesday, August 30, 6:00 pm
Chicago-based documentary director Kraus adds a new chapter in his ongoing
Work Series (which includes SHERIFF, MUSICIAN, and PROFESSOR) with this warm
profile of a self-taught Pentecostal preacher, Bishop William Nowell, the
feisty, dapper, electric guitar-playing 72-year-old shepherd of a small
working class flock in rural Virginia. Kraus¹s laid-back method puts Nowell
in the forefront, shaping the portrait through his own routine of
counseling, gathering food for the poor, and ministering to one and all
through the infectious sounds of gospel music. DigiBeta video. (BS) FF
Director Daniel Kraus will be present for audience discussion at both
THE PRUITT-IGOE MYTH
2011, Chad Freidrichs, USA, 83 min.
Sunday, August 7, 5:15 pm
Thursday, August 11, 6:15 pm
“Superb…an uncommonly artful example of film journalism.”–Robert Koehler,
Don’t let the ungainly title throw you; THE PRUITT-IGOE MYTH is one of the
best documentaries of the year. Its subject is St. Louis’s Pruitt-Igoe
housing project–built in 1956 as a beacon of decent affordable housing for
a largely black inner-city population, demolished in 1974 as a symbol of the
futility of public housing. This hard-headed, heart-breaking film lucidly
debunks the myths and searches out the true causes of the project’s failure,
while at the same time evoking the human costs through interviews with
former occupants who speak movingly of the dream that Pruitt-Igoe
represented and the tragedy of its decay. HDCAM video. (MR) FF
Filmmakers in person!
SEPARATED AT BIRTH
2010, Armand Scott, USA, 100 min.
With Sati Word, Benjamin Gardner
Saturday, August 6, 8:30 pm
Wednesday, August 10, 8:15 pm
The ambience and spirit of Chicago¹s South Side pervade this drama of the
differing destinies of a pair of twins separated at birth, and a teacher¹s
tale pulls it all together with some larger life lessons. Simon grows up a
cherished princeling, the only child of middle class parents who shower him
with every advantage. Andre survives as the neglected son of a violently
dysfunctional family, scrambling for something to call his own. Fate will
bring them together in a way that will change them both forever. DVCAM video
Director Armand Scott (Saturday) and actor Sati Word (Wednesday) will be
present for audience discussion.
Filmmakers in person!
Black History–Lost and Found
2010-11, Various directors, USA/Angola, 86 min.
Monday, August 22, 8:00 pm
Five thought-provoking examples of the kind of history you won’t find in
books: Natasha Ngaiza’s charming A CREATION STORY (2011, 10 min.) weaves
together live-action and claymation to explain the origins of African hair.
Rob Underhill’s WOLF CALL (2010, 12 min.) provocatively casts a black actor
in multiple white roles in a recreation of Look reporter William Bradford
Huie’s 1956 interview with the two men acquitted of murdering Emmett Till.
Mário Bastos’s ALAMBAMENTO (2010, 15 min.) is a taut tale of a young Angolan
man on his way to deliver his bride’s dowry when disaster strikes. Kwesi
Davis’s unusual animated film TAKE TOO LONG (2010, 17 min.) follows a young
couple through the casual chaos of Katrina-devastated New Orleans. Camille
S. DeBose’s ³GOOD HAIR² AND OTHER DUBIOUS DISTINCTIONS (2011, 32 min.) uses
personal reminiscences and scholarly expertise to examine African American
attitudes toward hair. Various video formats. (MR)
Director Camille S. DeBose will be present for audience discussion.
Filmmakers in person!
The Chicago Connection
2009-11, Various directors, USA, 89 min.
Saturday, August 20, 8:15 pm
Thursday, August 25, 8:15 pm
Seven films featuring Chicago talent: In Evan Allen-Gessesse’s
autobiographical ERIC’S HAIRCUT (2011, 6 min.), a young boy’s trip to the
barber becomes a painfully funny ordeal. In Daniel Willis’s C’MON GET HAPPY
(2010, 6 min.), a young woman’s visit to a revival meeting has an unexpected
outcome. In Derek Dow’s intense SUICIDAL THOUGHTS (2011, 6 min.), a young
man struggles with the suicidal impulse that claimed his father. In Joe
Rubino’s well-acted LOST ONES (2009, 13 min.), a drunken night-on-the-town
draws three youths toward a fatal act of violence. Taj McCord’s BREATHING
ROOM (2009, 30 min.) tells a complex story in which the worlds of theater,
drug-dealing, and TV journalism intersect. Shahari Moore and Christine
List’s SWIMMIN’ LESSON (2011, 9 min.) is a young father’s poetic, powerfully
acted account of his son’s fate during Hurricane Katrina. In Messiah
Equiano’s impassioned A TEST OF FAITH (2010, 19 min.), a Bible College
student’s resolve to enter a notorious neighborhood seems foolish…but is
it? Various video formats. (MR)
Directors Daniel Willis, Christine List, and Messiah Equiano and producers
Barbara Allen (ERIC’S HAIRCUT) and Hugh Grady (BREATHING ROOM) will be
present for audience discussion at both screenings .
Filmmakers in person!
Love African American Style
2010-11, Various directors, USA, 84 min.
Friday, August 19, 6:15 pm
Wednesday, August 24, 8:30 pm
Six films look at love¹s ups and downs. A funeral is fraught with family
tensions in James Bland¹s COCOA LOVE (2010, 11 min.) when the deceased
happens to be a fluffy pooch. The dating game begins anew for a recently
jilted man in Kevin Hope¹s WHAT NOW (2010, 6 min.). Two girlfriends
reexamine the futility of waiting for ³him² to call in Sandrel “Sanicole”
Young¹s THE ³WHAT² FACTOR (2011, 6 min.). In Maba Ba¹s PARAMOUR (2010, 16
min.), a fashion designer betrayed by his partner finds new love to be a
career builder. In THREE PRAYERS FOR JUNE (2010, 16 min.), Inna Braude
brings comedy, high drama, and Vodou rituals to the story of a woman¹s
attempt to conceive. The casual hook-up culture of a college campus comes
in for some spoofing in Raafi Rivero¹s THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GUMMY BEARS
(2010, 24 min.). Various video formats. (BS)
Directors James Bland (COCOA LOVE), Kevin Hope (WHAT NOW), Maba Ba
(PARAMOUR), and actor Keith Thirus (COCOA LOVE) will be present for audience
discussion at both screenings.
Filmmakers in person!
Sex African American Style
2010-11, Various directors, USA, 84 min.
Friday, August 26, 8:30 pm
Wednesday, August 31, 8:45 pm
Naughty or nice, you decide! Somebody¹s past is as plain as day when old
friends meet in Al Thompson¹s BABY DADDY MEMOIRS (2010, 6 min.). A mouse in
the house poses a test of manhood in Kiara C. Jones¹s MEN OR MICE (2010, 16
min.). He wants romance; she just wants a hook-up, in Tahir Jetter¹s CLOSE
(2010, 8 min.). A college professor learns a devilish lesson when he gives
a failing student a break in Dion Strowhorn Sr.¹s NUMBER 37 (2010, 16 min.).
In Kelechi Ezie¹s THE TRUTH ABOUT BEAUTY AND BLOGS (2010, 13 min.), a Webcam
diva seeks to get her groove back after her man posts himself as ³single² on
Facebook. Maurice L. Dortch employs comedy to examine the perils and
spiritual pleasures of abstinence before marriage in DON¹T BITE THE APPLE
(2011, 20 min.). Various video formats. (BS)
Directors Al Thompson (BABY DADDY MEMOIRS), Dion Strowhorn Sr. (NUMBER 37)
and Maurice L. Dortch (DON¹T BITE THE APPLE), and actor Simeon Henderson
(NUMBER 37) will be present for audience discussion at both screenings.
2009-10, Various directors, USA/UK, 85 min.
Tuesday, August 9, 8:15 pm
Tough and tender themes merge in these urban sketches. In Clair Breton¹s
BRUCIE (2009, 8 min.) a dad¹s foresees that his junkyard rambles with his
tomboy daughter will end with the advent of womanhood. In Delphine Suter¹s
EASY MADE HARD (2009, 15 min.), an elderly father and his wayward son meet
violently for what may be the last time. A desperate son attempts to save
his mother from a toxic relationship in Cole Wiley¹s QUIETLY (2009, 17
min.). In KATRINA¹S SON by Ya¹ke Smith (2010, 15 min.), a runaway boy tracks
down the mom who abandoned him in the wake of Katrina. In GRACE by Steve
Mondesir (2009, 30 min.), redemption begins with friendship when a man
allows a pregnant former girlfriend to crash at his apartment. Various
video formats. (BS)
Filmmakers in person!
2011, Julian A. Renner, USA, 86 min.
With Karmia Berry, Delance Minefee
Saturday, August 13, 8:30 pm
Thursday, August 18, 8:15 pm
Within minutes of Tasha¹s shocked discovery of the evidence of her boyfriend
Mike¹s presumed unfaithfulness, the situation escalates by means of a
suspicious phone call and the arrival of a flirtatious co-worker with an
overnight bag. Tasha calls in reinforcements in the form of her two
aggressively supportive BFFs Dee and Fiona, and it becomes crystal clear
that someone is cheating; the question is who? Deceptions,
misunderstandings, recriminations, and betrayals are all thrown into the mix
in this rude and raucous comedy of love¹s errors. HDCAM video. (BS)
Selected members of the cast will be present for audience discussion on
Saturday. Director Julian Renner will be present on Thursday.
Music mavens in person!
THE LIFE AND MUSIC OF LEE SCRATCH PERRY
2008, Ethan Higbee and Adam Bhala Lough, USA, 95 min.
Narrated by Benicio Del Toro
Saturday, August 27, 8:00 pm
Tuesday, August 30, 8:15 pm
“Fascinating…not just for Reggae fans.”–Vanity Fair
He invented Reggae. He invented dub. He made Bob Marley a star. He
wrote/produced “Police and Thieves,” “Soul Rebel,” “Disco Devil,” and
countless other hits. He worked with The Clash, Beastie Boys, Paul
McCartney, and many more. THE UPSETTER is a film portrait of one of the
most influential and prolific musicians of our time, tracing his remarkable
life from poor Jamaican childhood through early successes, founding of the
legendary Black Ark recording studio, ganja-and-booze-fueled decline, and
recent comeback. Generous clips of classic performances demonstrate the
astonishing breadth of Perry’s creativity, while interviews from different
periods of his life give ample evidence of his unique speaking style and
outsized personality. HDCAM video. (MR)
John Corbett and Peter Margasak will be present for audience discussion on
Saturday. Chicago-based writer/curator Corbett is co-owner of Corbett vs.
Dempsey Gallery and director of an as-yet-unfinished documentary about Lee
Scratch Perry. Margasak has been a staff music writer at the Chicago Reader
since 1995; he is also a regular contributor to DownBeat Magazine and NPR’s
“All Things Considered.”
Special advance screening!
2010, Djo Tunda Wa Munga, Congo/France/Belgium, 98 min.
With Patsha Bay Mukuna, Manie Malone
Thursday, August 11, 8:15 pm
“One of the best neonoirs from anywhere in recent memory.”–Eric Hynes, Time
Out New York
“Frenetic, sleazy, and entertaining as all hell.”–Alison Whitmore, The
A gas shortage is gripping Kinshasa, and the cocky young crook Riva (Mukuna)
has stolen a shipment of the stuff. Hot on his heels is the sadistic,
white-suited kingpin Cesar. Caught in the crossfire are a tough-as-nails
army officer, her lesbian lover, a local ganglord, his willowy red-headed
moll, and seemingly half the population of Kinshasa. There’s plenty of sex,
plenty of violence, and plenty of cynicism in this high-octane thriller that
paints a vivid picture of a dog-eat-dog world where everything is for sale.
Special advance screening courtesy of Music Box Films. In French and
Lingala with English subtitles. 35mm. (MR)
YELLING TO THE SKY
2011, Victoria Mahoney, USA, 96 min.
With Zoë Kravitz, Tim Blake Nelson, Jason Clarke
Friday, August 12, 6:30 pm
Wednesday, August 17, 8:15 pm
Zoë Kravitz (X-MEN: FIRST CLASS), Jason Clarke (PUBLIC ENEMIES, ³The Chicago
Code²), and Oscar-nominated Gabourey Sidibe (PRECIOUS) form the core of a
stellar cast in this debut feature by director Mahoney, named by Filmmaker
Magazine as one of the ³25 new faces of independent film.² Biracial
Sweetness O¹Hara (Kravitz) learns fierceness beyond her years, facing down a
loving dad who becomes a monster when he¹s drinking, and adopting the tough
demeanor of a drug dealer at school just to survive. Both startlingly
violent and unexpectedly tender, the story raises Sweetness and her family
out of chaos and into hope. 35mm. (BS)