If you are in Chicago in July you may want to check out this festival of
which I am a jury member of. This is the second year of the festival.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Barbara Scharres
June 14, 1996 TEL: 312.443.3735
INTERNATIONAL FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL
CHICAGO, Illinois - The Film Center will present the 2nd annual Black
Harvest International Film and Video Festival from July 12 -21, 1996.
Seventeen of the most recent films from the African diaspora will be
presented - many appearing for the first time in Chicago. To complement
these premiere screenings, an impressive array of visiting artists and
scholars - three directors, five screenwriters, and three African-American
scholars - will participate in audience discussions during the Festival.
The Film Center is located in the theater of The School of the Art
Institute of Chicago at the corner of Columbus Drive and Jackson Boulevard.
Ticket prices are $6 for general admission and $3 for Film Center members.
A Festival Pass good for discounted admission to twelve different Festival
programs is available for $45. For more information, call 312.443.3733.
The 1996 Festival will highlight the rarely-seen work of independent
African-American filmmakers including Dianne Houston who attracted major
media attention in March as the only black artist nominated for an Academy
Award. Houston will make a personal appearance at The Film Center for
audience discussion following her film, TUESDAY MORNING RIDE (1995 - 30
mins.), on Saturday, July 20. Houston competed in the Live Action Short
category of the Awards with this poignant portrait of a dignified elderly
couple determined not to be a burden on society.
Believing that the short film directors of today are the feature filmmakers
of tomorrow, the 1996 Festival opens on Friday, July 12 with the
award-winning work of three particularly promising independent filmmakers.
TENDRILS (1995 - 30 mins.), by Harlem native Carol Mayes, centers on two
women - charismatic Lena and loyal, pragmatic Mercedes - whose long-time
friendship is tested when Lena becomes obsessed with a pyramid money-making
scheme. SINCE LISA (1994 - 29 mins.) is a spirited comedy from director
Shari Carpenter (a script supervisor for four of Spike Lee's films) about
the things that happen when your best friend finds a significant other .
Supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, director
Garret Williams made SPARK (1995 - 38 mins.) the story of a frustrated
young African-American couple stranded in the desert on a car trip from
Chicago to Los Angeles.
>From the African nation of Burkina Faso, GUIMBA THE TYRANT (1995 - 93
mins.) will be featured with four screenings during the Festival beginning
on July 12. A new film from Chieck Oumar Sissoko, GUIMBA combines colorful
pageantry, music, and some lessons from Mali tradition in a comic story in
which democratic impulses triumph over ambition, lust, and regal privilege
The versatile director Charles Burnett (TO SLEEP WITH ANGER) directs for
television with NIGHTJOHN (1996 - 90 mins.), a tale painted in broad
strokes, in which a world of freedom, power, and danger opens up for a
young slave girl when she acquires the forbidden skills of reading and
THE WATERMELON WOMAN (1996 - 82 mins.) tells an engrossing story of the
African-American lesbian community with a refreshingly comic style.
Irrepressible filmmaker Cheryl Dunye utilizes cameos by a number of
nationally-known figures in the gay community. REMEMBERING WEI YI-FANG,
REMEMBERING MYSELF (1995 - 30 mins.) will precede the feature on Saturday,
July 13. Chicago-based videomaker Yvonne Welbon documents her experiences
as an African-American woman living in Taiwan for six years. Welbon looks
at her family's past, at racism, and at the components of her own identity
in the neutral zone of an alien culture.
Audience beware - STEALIN' HOME (1995 - 70 mins.) is not a baseball film.
Dallas-based writer/director John Carstarphen offers a romantic comedy
about love, trust, larceny, sex, and missing furniture. Ambitious Ala's
search for the perfect mate to match her perfect new apartment finds Jezel,
a down-on-his-luck athlete. Opposites attract in this steamy relationship
and Ala is faced with tough decisions after Jezel steals her dinette set.
Independent director Norman Loftis takes Vittorio De Sica's masterpiece THE
BICYCLE THIEF as his inspiration for THE MESSENGER (1995 - 81 mins.)
screening on Friday, July 19.
Loftis reworks the quest for the precious stolen bicycle as a journey
through African-American Manhattan.
Two short films which deal with the Afro-Caribbean diaspora will screen on
Saturday, July 20. In WHAT MY MOTHER TOLD ME (1994 - 57 mins.), a black
British woman returns to Trinidad to bury her father. THE FRIENDS (1995 -
25 mins.) follows the evolution of two teenagers growing up in Harlem as a
microcosm for the intercultural conflict between African-Americans and
Caribbean Blacks in the U.S.
Two visiting director/actors - Cal Ward, Jr. and Ted Lyde - will make
personal appearances for audience discussions following their films on
Saturday, July 20. Ward (a student at The School of the Art Institute) has
created THE RALLY or IF BEALE STREET COULDN'T TALK (1994 - 20 mins.), an
audacious silent film satire in which he plays a self-serving minister who
addresses his congregation only through video and receives kickbacks from
local white politicians. Ward's short film will be followed by BACK TO
FRONT (1995 - 88 mins.) which makes imaginative use of its Chicago
locations. Four high-school buddies get together ten years after
graduation and find they still haven't matured completely. Lyde, a
stand-up comedian in Los Angeles, financed the film with his chemist wife
Jaime and a plethora of credit cards.
Former steel-worker Ray Henderson co-directed STRUGGLES IN STEEL (1996 - 80
mins.) - a documentary that traces the Black labor movement and offers
interviews with long-time union supporters who share their experiences of
fighting racism and sexism among co-workers and mill owners.
Three educational programs are scheduled to help the audience position the
films within a larger political, social and literary context.
1) In the illustrated lecture program Black Divas of the Silver Screen,
Karla Fuller examines the behind-the-scenes stories of great
African-American female stars in Hollywood on Saturday, July 13. Fuller
will screen video clips of Nina Mae McKinney, Lena Horne, Dorothy
Dandridge, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, and many more.
2) A distinguished panel of African-American scholars will follow the
screening of FRANZ FANON: BLACK SKIN, WHITE MASK (1996 - 50 mins.) with a
discussion. Directed by controversial British filmmaker Isaac Julien, this
is the first cinematic treatment of the life of one of the world's most
influential Third World theorists. Fanon's radical theories concerning
racism, oppression, violence, Marxism, and Pan-Africanism, place him at the
center of contemporary discussions around issues of social change and
identity. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with three
accomplished Fanon scholars: Lou Turner, a local editor and author;
feminist author Tracy Sharpely-Whiting; and philosopher and
writer Lewis Gordon.
3) A follow-up to last year's highly-successful panel discussion The Future
of Black Filmmaking will focus this year on screenwriting and the realities
of the business. Panel moderator Sergio Mims, a Black Harvest Festival
programming committee member and professional screenwriter, has assembled a
panel experts that includes: director Dianne Houston; actor/producer Ted
Lyde; screenwriter Daryl Roberts (HOW U LIKE ME NOW?): Delle Chatman, a
professor of screenwriting at Northwestern University; and Alice E.
Stephens,a professor of screenwriting and African film at Columbia College
Chicago. This program is free to the public and will take place on Sunday,
July 21 in The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, 112 S. Michigan,
TENDRILS + SINCE LISA + SPARK
Fri., July 12 at 6:00pm
GUIMBA THE TYRANT
Fri., July 12 at 8:00pm
Sun., July 14 at 6:00pm
Fri., July 19 at 6:00pm
Sun., July 21 at 6:00pm
BLACK DIVAS OF THE SILVER SCREEN
Sat., July 13 at 4:00pm
Sat., July 13 at 6:00pm
REMEMBERING WEI YI-FANG, REMEMBERING MYSELF
+ THE WATERMELON WOMAN
Sat., July 13 at 7:45pm
Sun., July 14 at 4:30pm
Fri., July 19 at 7:45pm
WHAT MY MOTHER TOLD ME + THE FRIENDS
Sat., July 20 at 2:00pm
FRANZ FANON: BLACK SKIN, WHITE MASK
Sat., July 20 at 4:00pm
BACK TO FRONT + THE RALLY
Sat., July 20 at 6:00pm
TUESDAY MORNING RIDE + SPARK
Sat., July 20 at 8:30pm
THE FUTURE OF BLACK FILMMAKING: SCREENWRITING
Sun., July 21 at 2:00pm
STRUGGLES IN STEEL
Sun., July 21 at 4:15pm
For press previews or more information, please contact Barbara Scharres at
# # #
Assistant Director - Development & Public Relations
The Film Center
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
280 S. Columbus Drive
Chicago, IL 60603
312.443.3734 FAX: 312.332.5859
Zeinabu irene Davis "Strategy is better than
Assistant Professor strength." - Hausa proverb,
Northwestern University West Africa
Department of Radio-TV-Film
1905 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208-2270