By Senior Contributor Stephanie A. Taylor
The 22nd Annual Black Harvest Film Festival (BHFF) begins August 5 at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago, Illinois. It celebrates the history and heritage of black people, worldwide, through indie films and shorts. More than 40 movies are scheduled to be shown.
While the focus is Black culture, there are several female directors and screenwriters at the festival this year, including Jerico 2016, Walk All Night: A Drum Beat Journey 2016, Compensation 1999 and Agents of Change.
Jericó, directed by Seckeita Lewis, is a comedy set in Mississippi during the Jim Crow era. A black man is denied a promotion, due to his race. Slapstick, whiteface (yes I said it, whiteface) and many mishaps in between are sure to amuse and educate.
Walk All Night: A Drum Beat Journey, directed by Mallory Sohmer and Kate Benzschawel, tells the story of a social worker amazed by four Chicago southside bucket drummers. She raises money to take them to Senegal of West Africa where they discover a significant culture clash.
Compensation is directed by Zeinabu Irene Davis and combines two African American love stories; both involving a relationship between a deaf woman and a hearing man. The drama is inspired by a Paul Laurence Dunbar poem and the adversities that come with racism, disability and discrimination. Title cards and vintage photos are included in the movie for accessibility.
Agents of Change, directed by Frank Dawson and Abby Ginzberg, will be featured on closing night. First person accounts and historical footage are combined to tell a story of a 1960s college grassroots campaign that led to great societal change.
BHFF will also feature short films with various themes, including “International Visions.”
Cameroon Christa Eka Assam’s Alma tells the story of an abused woman whose anguish intensifies due to the people in her life.
Maman(s), France, is directed by Maimouna Doucoure and is about a girl's father bringing home his second wife and infant to the girl's dismay.
Shadow Man, UK is directed by Afia Nkrumah. An African man is hiding from the British Immigration Police and gets help from a white member and the ghost of his dead uncle.
For more info go to http://www.siskelfilmcenter.org/blackharvest
Top Photo: Michelle A. Banks in Compensation.
Photo Credit: Devon Whitmore.