film fest

2 day South Side Film Fest Showcase

Going back to the days of William Foster and Oscar Micheaux, Black filmmaking and film watching have thrived on Chicago’s South Side for over 100 years. The recent explosion in Black film festivals, series and programs in our community is bringing the best films from around the world, and from local filmmakers, to spaces just around the corner. This unique showcase gathers the incredible array of South Side film programs into one space for a weekend of viewing and conversation with curators and filmmakers. Featuring Cinema 53, Collected Voices, Sisters in Cinema, Black World Cinema, South Side Home Movie Project, Arts Bank Cinema, Chicago South Side Film Festival, and a special presentation on the new cinema space coming to 71st & Jeffrey.

Organized by Jacqueline Stewart, UChicago professor of Cinema + Media Studies, director of the South Side Home Movie Project and curator of Cinema 53


Noon-2pm  |  Arts Bank Cinema

Mars Silver, programmer at Rebuild Foundation and curator of Arts Bank Cinema, presents selected thematic footage related to 'A Johnson Publishing Story,’ currently on exhibit at the Bank.

+ Stray Light (David Hart, 2011, 12 min, with score by Nicole Mitchell )

As part of his exhibition Stray Light, artist David Hart drops a viewer into the middle of the Johnson Publishing Company building, suggesting a space with no boundaries, one that exists within the imagination.

+ The Secret of Selling the Negro Market (1954)

Financed by Johnson Publishing Company, the publisher of Ebony magazine, the film encourages advertisers to promote their products and services in the African-American media.

+ A Meditation on Soul Liberation (Mars D. Silver, 2018, 30 min)

Inspired by the soul and Black Power movement of the 60's and 70's, A Meditation on Soul Liberation is an abstract visual mediation on blackness.

2pm-3pm  |  Coming Soon: New Eatertainment Space in South Shore

South Shore native Alisa Starks, founder of ICE Theater, presents an update on plans for the new “eatertainment” center being developed at 7054 S Jeffrey, which will include a dine-in cinema, a boutique bowling center, a Creole-inspired restaurant, and an event venue, as a part of a community effort to revitalize the 71st Street business district in South Shore.

3pm-4pm  |  Chicago South Side Film Fest

Michelle Kennedy, producer of the Chicago South Side Film Festival, and Harvey Pullings II, film writer, director and 2018 graduate of Columbia College, and Talia Koylass, South Shore filmmaker, present ttheir two films discuss the history and inspiration behind the Chicago South Side Film Fest.

+ To Those with Good Intent (Harvey Pullings II, 15 min, 2017)

Desperate for financial stability and independence, a young Chicago native finds himself involved in an unforeseen, violent dilemma - despite his new college degree and good intentions.

+ The Good Christian (Talia Koylass, 9:58, 2018)

This dance film addresses religion and spirituality in the Black Community from both a historical and present day vantage point and explores how Black people have used something that often tries to exclude them as a way to deal with suffering and oppression. Spirituality looks different on everyone but still has the potential to be inclusive and used as a source of joy and discovery.

4pm-6pm  |  Cinema 53

Cinema 53 is a new screening and discussion series presenting conversation-provoking films by and about women and people of color. A partnership between the historic Harper Theater in downtown Hyde Park and the University of Chicago’s Gray Center for Arts & Inquiry, Cinema 53 brings together scholars, artists, students and audiences from the South Side and beyond to consider how visual cultures reflect, and reflect upon, enduring inequalities and revolutionary futures. Curated by Gray Center director Jacqueline Stewart.

+ Still a Brother: Inside the Negro Middle Class (William Greaves, 1968, 88 min)

Still A Brother presents a variety of perspectives on status and the concerns of the emerging African-American middle class at a time of intense racial, social, cultural, and political turmoil. Narrated by legendary civil rights activist, author, actor, poet, director, and playwright Ossie Davis, the film presents a wide range of perspectives and questions the impact of middle class aspirations on the fight for equal rights and civil liberty in the 1960s.  

6pm-8pm  |  Black World Cinema

Floyd Webb, co-founder of Black World Cinema (with Alisa Starks) in 2005, hosts selections from their ongoing film series, which features seldom seen classic features and new films from around the world, with a mission to present stories with compelling content and a human dimension seldom seen in mainstream cinema.

+ Tracking the Pale Fox: Studies on the Dogon (Luc De Heusch, 1984, 48 min)

Entertainer Josephine Baker and Boxer Panama Al Brown provide funding for the famous 1931 expedition of research on the Dogon ethnic group By anthropologist Marcel Griaule, establishing the original expedition in the context of French anthropology at the time. Jean Rouch, celebrated film-maker and less known as an anthropologist on the Dogon, narrates part of the story, and interviews Dogon elders and veteran expedition member Germaine Dieterlan.

+ Charleston (Jean Renoir, France, 1927, 17 min)

2028 A.D. A story based on the decline of Western Civilisation, in which a black explorer discovers the Charleston being danced by a white aborigine in the ruins of a post-apocalyptic Paris

+ Twaaga (Invincible) (Cedric Ido, France, 2013, 30 min)

Burkina Faso in 1985 is a country in the throes of revolution. Manu, a young boy who loves comics, tags along with his big brother Albert. When Albert decides to undergo a magic ritual, Manu realizes there are real powers to rival even those of superheroes.


Noon-2pm  |  Sisters in Cinema

Yvonne Welbon, founder and CEO of Sisters in Cinema, presents the award-winning film that launched her organization.

+ Sisters in Cinema (Yvonne Welbon, 2003, 62 min)

"When I started film school in 1991 I only knew the name of one African American woman director -- Julie Dash.” Sisters in Cinema is a seminal work that pays homage to African American women filmmakers who made history against all odds, such as Euzhan Palcy, Julie Dash, Darnell Martin, Dianne Houston, Neema Barnette, Cheryl Dunye, Kasi Lemmons and Maya Angelou, and illuminate a history that has remained hidden for too long.

A documentary which offers a historical overview of the lives and the films of African American women feature film directors from the early part of the 20th century to the early part of the 21st. Screened in over 50 film festivals and venues around the world. Winner Best Documentary African Diaspora Film Festival- Audience Award. Received the inaugural St. Louis International Film Festival – Women in Film Award. Broadcast on Starz! Encore, TV-ONE

+ The Taste of Dirt (Yvonne Welbon, 2003, 12 min)

An AFI Directing Workshop for Women narrative short film exploring issues of race and class experienced by 7-year-old African American girls on the school playground. Nationally broadcast on PBS.

2pm-5pm  |  Collected Voices

Chicago filmmakers Sierra Jackson and Jose Luis Benavides present their new films and highlights from the 2018 Collected Voices Film Fest, which focuses on original ethnographic works that explore the intersection of race, age, class, gender, and sexuality through short and feature length films.

+ Chicago Funk  (Avery Young, 6 min) - Avery might be there

Avery Young and bank perform original Chicago funk for this Tiny Desk music video.

+ Period Piece (Imani Quinn, 2018, 2 min)

A short dance piece on the universal feminine ritual.

+ My Name Here (Tylar Moore, 2018, 5 min)

A screwball comedy where Tylar, a young woman, becomes overwhelmed while dining seeing as almost no one she encounters cares to say nor spell her name correctly.

+ Mother’s Fears (Shereen Williams, 2017, 16 min)

It is 10pm and flashing red and blue lights surround my car. Bright flashlights are beaming in my eyes. The officer shouts "Roll all the windows License and registration out the window." ...Fear is gripping my body as I clench the steering wheel. The officer says "All clear. Ma'am, slow down". I survived this time, but would my son?

+ 432 (Sierra Jackson, 2018, 9 min)  

The frequency for healing, 432 is a movement based film that follows the journey of a young woman as she confronts her own anxiety.

+ A Sense of Place (Bruno Moynie, 2017, 50 min)

A documentary on French-speaking black Africans caught in the specific racial divide that characterizes the USA.

+ LuLu en el Jardin (Jose Luis Benavides, 2017, 55 min)

This kaleidoscopic ethnography unfolds a hidden family history told through poetry, music, reenactments, psychoanalytic texts, nightmares and dreams. Lulu en el Jardín accounts the saga of Lourdes Benavides and her family's many attempts to cure her of her lesbian desires as a teenager.