The Allstate Corporation has given the Gene Siskel Film Center a $10,000 grant for their annual Black Harvest Film Festival, a $5,000 increase from last year. This is the third year that Allstate has given the film center and 2017 marks the BHFF's 23rd year. The grant will focus on the festival's Youth Filmmaker Program, which allows students from middle and high school who are passionate about film to be connected with professional filmmakers.
According to Executive Director Jean de St. Aubin, the program has been successful, “With the additional money we can expand the program and really have a deeper impact on the youth who are involved and the program can have sort of a deeper experience."
Dionne Nicole Smith, Associate Director of Development at the Gene Siskel Film Center’s said, "We are grateful for Allstate's returning support of our Black Harvest Film Festival, in particular, its Youth Filmmaker Program. For this program, Allstate has generously given Black Harvest Film Festival directors the opportunity to mentor Black youth so that they can find inspiration from and be educated by artists with whom they can readily identify."
FF2 Media covered last year's festival, with Senior Contributor Stephanie A. Taylor writing film reviews and conducting interviews from filmmakers. “It opened my eyes to a niche of movies that weren't part of Hollywood, yet thriving. As a Black woman, I know that there aren't a plethora of opportunities in the film industry for women or Black people as a whole. The BHFF gives people the chance to show their work to a large audience. It is the largest and longest running Black film festival in the Midwest.”
Taylor continued, “From my perspective the BHFF is important. While unity is quintessential, cultural pride and individuality are also key. That’s not to say that supremacy, of any kind, is acceptable. But neither is oppression.”
To read more, visit www.siskelfilmcenter.org
© Stephanie A. Taylor (1/09/16) FF2 Media
Photo: Gene Siskel Film Center
Photo Credit: The Art Institute of Chicago