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Black Harvest Film Festival is in full effect

The 28th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival kicked off last weekend at the Gene Siskel Film Center and will continue in person through November 20. A virtual edition of the festival will run from Nov. 21 – 27. 

The Film Festival is Chicago’s annual showcase for films that celebrate, explore, and share the Black, African American and African Diaspora experience. Festival passes and tickets for the full lineup of feature films, short film programs, and special events are now on sale! This year’s fest is filled with exciting new feature film presentations, special anniversaries and restorations, short film programs, special events, filmmaker appearances, and more! Explore the exciting films and events coming to screen this week, November 7 – 13!

 Wednesday, November 9 at 8:15 p.m.

2021 / Brandon Kramer / USA, France / 90 mins / In English / Format: Digital

Part of: Black Harvest Film Festival 

Directors Brandon and Lance Kramer, Celia Colón, Chicago-based criminal justice reform organizer, composer Joshua Abrams and editor Leslie Simmer scheduled to attend. Available virtually November 21-27.

On election night 2020, progressive activist and political commentator Van Jones spoke boldly regarding Donald Trump’s victory, noting on CNN, “This was a whitelash against a changing country…against a Black president, and that’s the part where the pain comes.”


Produced in association with Kartemquin Films, THE FIRST STEP intimately documents Jones as he faces a divided America (divided on politics, culture, and even what they think of Jones) to controversially work across party lines on landmark criminal justice reform and a more humane response to the addiction crisis.

Attempting to be a bridge builder in a time of extreme polarization takes Van and a coalition of unlikely allies deep into the inner workings of a divisive administration, internal debates within both parties, and the lives of frontline activists fighting for their communities. Directors Brandon and Lance Kramer, Celia Colón, Chicago-based criminal justice reform organizer, composer Joshua Abrams and editor Leslie Simmer scheduled to attend.

November 13 at 1 p.m. and November 14 at 6:15 p.m.

2021 / Jennifer Holness / Canada / 101 mins / In English | Format: Digital

Part of: Black Harvest Film Festival | Director Jennifer Holness in-person!

In this thought-provoking and eye-opening documentary, Holness comprehensively and unwaveringly explores the conventions, contradictions and representations of Black female beauty in history, culture and media. Alongside compelling archival footage and personal interviews, SUBJECTS OF DESIRE uses the 50th Anniversary of the Miss Black America Pageant – a pageant that was created as a political protest – as a backdrop to deconstruct what we understand about race and the power behind beauty. Content consideration: themes of racism, colorism and sexual assault. Director Jennifer Holness scheduled to attend.

Take a look at the trailer: Subjects of Desire (2021) Official Trailer.

November 11 & 12!

2022 / Gabriel Martins / Brazil / 115 mins / In Portuguese with English subtitles / Format: Digital

Part of: Black Harvest Film Festival 

In this tender and warm film the Martins, a lower-middle-class Brazilian family of optimistic dreamers, must depend on one another while they manage the individual struggles, and the pressures of the world – including the election of right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro. A standout at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and Brazil’s submission to the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film consideration, MARS ONE is a quietly powerful film about the bonds of family, about what it means to dream and to fall in love, and how – even in the most challenging of times – home is where the heart beats.

Take a look at the trailer: Marte Um | Trailer Exclusivo.

The 28th Black Harvest Film Festival will be held at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St. The Festival curates both short and feature length films, proudly presenting influential creators and emerging talent of color side by side. Programming spans across various genres, providing entertaining content for movie lovers of all ages! It is an incredible opportunity to have fun, be enlightened and support the enrichment and success of Black film.





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