By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., Chicago Crusader
Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events recently announced its lineup for the Millennium Park Summer Film Series, which will take place every Tuesday from June 5 through August 21, with each screening starting at 6:30 p.m. Attendees may sit in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion or on the Great Lawn to watch movies enjoyed by a wide range of audiences, screening on a 40-foot LED screen. All screenings are free and open to the public. According to the press release issued by DCASE, “Each screening in the series will be programmed in collaboration with a local independent film festival providing a season-long sampling of the themes, ethnicities and genres seen in the more than 50 film festivals presented annually in Chicago.”
The Gene Siskel Film Center’s Black Harvest Film Festival was chosen as one of 14 of more than 40 annual film festivals presented city-wide, to be included in this year’s Millennium Park Summer Film Series. The movie representing Black Harvest will be the Oscar-winner for Best Screenplay—“Get Out”—directed and written by Jordan Peele, presented on Tuesday, July 24, at 6:30 p.m. This screening anticipates the 24th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival, the Midwest’s foremost festival of the Black experience on film which has grown to become one of the leading Black film festivals in North America. Presented August 4-30, 2018, Black Harvest will include more than 60 narrative features, documentaries, and shorts; celebrate established and emerging filmmakers; insightful and provocative Q&As and panel discussions with filmmakers all month; and events celebrating the breadth and significance of Black culture.
“Get Out” (released in 2017; rated R for violence, bloody images, and language including sexual references;104 minutes) concerns young African-American Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) who visits the white family of his girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) for the weekend. At first, Chris reads the family’s overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he never could have imagined.
Each film presentation will begin with a screening of a “ChicagoMade Short”—a locally-produced short film. A program of the Chicago Film Office’s Independent Filmmaker Initiative, the ChicagoMade Short Series is a celebration of the robust local independent film community and a showcase of entertaining work produced by talented Chicago-based artists.
The following movies programmed in the Millennium Park Summer Film Series will be presented in collaboration with these local film festivals:
- June 5, Hairspray, Chicago Underground Film Festival
- June 12, Mad Max: Fury Road, Chicago Critics Film Festival
- June 19, Kinky Boots, Reeling LGBTQ International Film Festival
- June 26, Groundhog Day, Chicago Comedy Film Festival
- July 3, High Fidelity, Midwest Independent Film Festival
- July 9, Iron Giant, Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (note: screening is on a Monday and start time is 11 a.m. with an opening program at 10:30 a.m.). This family film is also being shown in conjunction with the Millennium Park Family Fun Festival and the Year of Creative Youth.
- July 10, Man On Wire
- July 17, International Media Mixer, Chicago Film Archive—U.S. premiere of a live sonic and cinematic experience featuring work and archival footage from Chicago and Italy.
- July 24, Get Out, Gene Siskel Film Center’s Black Harvest Film Festival
- July 31, WALL-E and Crash (double feature), One Earth Film Festival
- August 7, School of Rock, Chicago International Movies and Music Festival
- August 14, Coco, Chicago Latino Film Festival
- August 21, Slumdog Millionaire, Chicago International Film Festival
To learn more about the films presented, directions to Millennium Park, and park rules, visit www.MillenniumPark.org.
About the Black Harvest Film Festival:
The Black Harvest Film Festival is Chicago’s largest- and longest-running Black film festival and the Gene Siskel Film Center’s most vibrant annual showcase featuring provocative films that tell stories, spark lively discussions, and address issues relating to the Black experience. Every August, Black Harvest features Chicago premieres, filmmaker appearances, panel discussions, and special events. Presented are a combined total of more than 60 features, documentaries, and shorts, including a number connected to Chicago, affirming the city’s role as a vital center for independent filmmaking. www.siskelfilmcenter.org/blackharvest
About the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago:
Since 1972, the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago has presented cutting edge cinema to an annual audience that has grown to 85,000. The Film Center’s programming includes annual film festivals that celebrate diverse voices and international cultures, premieres of trailblazing work by today’s independent filmmakers, restorations and revivals of essential films from cinema history, and insightful provocative discussions with filmmakers and media artists. Altogether, the Film Center hosts more than 1,600 screenings and 200 filmmaker appearances every year. The Film Center was renamed the Gene Siskel Film Center in 2000 after the late, nationally-celebrated film critic, Gene Siskel. Visit www.siskelfilmcenter.org to learn more and find out what’s playing today.
About the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events:
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.
About the Millennium Park Foundation:
The Millennium Park Foundation, a private, philanthropic not-for-profit partner, was created in 1998 to support the City of Chicago’s efforts in the design, construction and management of Millennium Park. It is the steward of Millennium Park’s internationally-recognized icons and public features. These include the prestigious Jay Pritzker Pavilion and dramatic BP Pedestrian Bridge, world-renowned Cloud Gate and Lurie Garden, iconic Crown Fountain, and exquisite Boeing Galleries for public art exhibitions. Through its ongoing development initiatives, the Millennium Park Foundation is dedicated to keeping Millennium Park a free and accessible venue for all Chicagoans today, and for generations to come.
ROOF on theWit Movie Monday Series
A must see this year is experiencing ROOF on theWit’s Movie Monday series. Beginning June 4 with the smash hit “Black Panther,” movies will start at 8:30 p.m. on the rooftop that kicked off Chicago’s rooftop craze, ROOF on theWit hotel, 201 N. State St. These events are 21+ and include complimentary popcorn for attendees.
The dates for this summer series include (subject to change): Phone: 312-239-9502.
June 4 – Black Panther
June 25 – Pulp Fiction
July 2 – Molly’s Game
July 23 – Dirty Dancing
July 30 – Ready Player One
August 13 – Pretty Woman
August 20 – Spider-Man: Homecoming
August 27 – I, Tonya
September 10 – Blues Brothers