Local summer movie kicks off events

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BILL DUKE WITH Thada Catalon, Camryn Jones, GregAlan Williams, and Yohance Myles at world premiere of “Created Equal.” (Photo Credit: Candace Ledbetter - CNBetter Media)

By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., Chicago Crusader

Greater Saint John AME launches “Englewood At The Movies” on June 30th at 7 p.m. with a screening of the movie “Black Butterfly,” with special reflections by the director Englewood native Mark Harris and Greater Saint John Pastor Kevin Andre Brooks.

Black Butterfly is about 16-year-old Ariel, a girl with a dream. Making the Women’s U.S. Swim Team will change her life. Ariel excitedly begins training when tragedy strikes. She is brutally raped. Her dreams of swimming, relationships and life are tossed to and fro as she struggles with the aftermath. Should she tell? Should she hide? Adrenaline and anticipation rise as her coach, family and friends find out about the rape in various ways. Now, what will each do to seek revenge? How will they deal with a rapist who is no stranger to their lives? What draws the line between pain and possibility for Ariel?

Tickets are $5 and refreshments will be served. A question and answer session will follow after the movie. Greater Saint John AME presents this film as part of its Good in Englewood, Safest Summer Ever 2017. The church is located at 6201 S. Throop St. For more information and to R.S.V.P., visit http://safestsummerever2017.eventbrite.com or call 773-925-2262.

ENGLEWOOD’S MARK HARRIS has a few films under his belt; others are also set to screen at Saint John before the summer is over. Harris is an independent film director, and he also produces the annual Englewood International Film Festival, which helps support, promote and encourage filmmakers.

ROOF on theWit summer movies

TheWit Hotel features a summer of free movies and popcorn on its beautiful Roof, located at 201 N. State St. The movies are shown at dusk, which varies, but it is advised to be at theWit at least by 7:30 p.m. to get a good seat, as capacity is limited to 165 people.

The movie lineup is as follows:

  • LaLa Land – Monday, June 26.
  • Fantastic Beasts – Monday, July 3.
  • Office Christmas Party – Monday, July 17.
  • The Lego Batman Movie – Monday, July 31.
  • Kong: Skull Island – Monday, August 21.
  • Fifty Shades Darker – Monday, August 28.
  • For more information, call (312) 467-0200.

 American Black Film Festival 2017

It’s a wrap! The American Black Film Festival 2017 was full of activity that kept festival-goers engaged, inspired and motivated to achieve dreams through a programming line-up chock full of workshops, master classes, red carpet experiences, screening events and more!

One such screening event included the world premiere of “Created Equal” – an independently produced legal thriller directed by legendary Hollywood actor/director Bill Duke. Held on Thursday, June 15, at the MB Cinematheque in Miami Beach, Florida, Duke was joined by the film’s producer, Thada Catalon (T-Cat Films) and cast members – double Emmy Award-winning actor, GregAlan Williams (“Greenleaf”); actor Yohance Myles (“Shots Fired”) and young actress Camryn Jones. Both filmmakers and cast participated in a thought-provoking and engaging post-screening Q&A that explored the film’s themes, its global impact and its expectations for social equality.

“Created Equal” tells the story of Alejandra “Allie” Batista (Edy Ganem), a nun who is desperate to become a priest in the Catholic Church. She turns to Thomas Reilly (Aaron Tveit), a successful lawyer who files suit against the Archdiocese of New Orleans for sex discrimination without justifiable cause. As Allie’s case starts to make national headlines, both she and Tommy face serious backlash from the people in their lives. The trial unfolds, and an extremist con- cocts a plot to stop the heresy against the church by attacking Alejandra and threatening to kill her if she doesn’t back off.  The film also stars Broadway actor and singer Aaran Tveit (“Grease Live!”) Latina actress Edy Ganem (“Devious Maids”) and veteran actor Lou Diamond Phillips (“Longmire”), who did not attend, but showed their support of their cast members at the ABFF premiere on social media.  Based on the novel, Created Equal, written by Roger A. Brown, who also serves as Executive Producer, the script was written by Ned Bow- man, Michael Ricigliano Jr., and Joyce Renee Lewis. In a world where gender equality remains a critical issue, this controversial film certainly lives up to its intent, as it sparks a worldwide conversation that explores the disparity between men and women holding the highest leadership positions within the church, as well as other positions that hold the greatest authority in the world. For more information on “Created Equal,” visit www.CreatedEqualMovie.com. Cinema/Chicago celebrated great actress Helen Mirren and director Taylor Hackford at its Spring Gala. The celebratory evening featured an intimate conversation with Mirren and Hackford highlighting their illustrious careers and creative influences.

HELEN MELCHIOR, Candace Jordan, Taylor Hackford, Helen Mirren and Gigi Pritzker gather for a photo after Cinema/Chicago’s tribute to Mirren and Hackford. Melchior, Jordan and Pritzker were event co-chairs. Photo by Mila Samokhina.

Academy Award®-winning actress Helen Mirren and Academy Award®-winning director Taylor Hackford were in Chicago last month for Cinema/Chicago’s Spring Gala, which celebrated their illustrious film careers. “This was an evening that will long be remembered by everyone in attendance,” said Cinema/Chicago Founder and CEO Michael Kutza. “I have been hoping to bring these two screen legends together in this type of environment for many years, and finally, my dream was realized. We are so grateful to Cinema/Chicago’s many generous donors who attended. Their support enables us to provide access to cutting-edge, international cinema for free to more than 7,000 Chicago Public School students, as well as offer programs such as our free International Screenings Program at the Chicago Cultural Center, the Chicago International Television Festival, CineYouth, the Chicago International Film Festival, and much more.”

The evening was made possible with support from Spring Gala sponsors American Airlines and Sound Investment AV, and evening partners Chloe Wine Collection, Stella Artois, Wansas Tequila, A Perfect Event, CS magazine and Ken Arlen Productions. It kicked off with a cocktail reception, musical entertainment by rock violinists SIRENS and a silent auction.

Bill Kurtis welcomed Hackford to the stage to reminisce about his career as a director and producer, and his ability to spot talent in career-transforming roles, including his casting of Jamie Foxx (then only known for comedy) in “Ray.” Next, Mirren took the stage and discussed some of her favorite roles and her creative process. When asked if Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth had seen her performance in “The Queen,” [which was a brilliant film] she said, “You get a sense that this was very much appreciated…but one would never know.” Mirren and Hackford each were awarded the Gold Hugo for Career Achievement.

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