The Crusader Newspaper Group

Reel Black Filmmakers celebrates 10 years of empowering Black filmmakers


Reel Black Filmmakers—a program of the Community Film Workshop of Chicago—celebrates its 10th Anniversary with a Reunion and Membership Drive on Saturday, May 21 at the Harriet Harris Park, 6200 S. Drexel from 2-4pm.

“Pongezi (Congratulations) to Reel Black Filmmakers for ten years of ongoing work and struggle to build a community of filmmakers of African descent, who adhered to some of the basic tenets of the role and relevancy of Black artists and Black art in the lives of Black people— the people from whom they come and who they represent in their varied forms of creative expressions,” stated filmmaker Kamau Tyehimba, co-founder of Reel Black Filmmakers.

Black Power and Black Arts Movement theorist, Dr. Maulana Karenga, once stated, “To be functional, Black art must self-consciously have and urge social purpose. To be collective, Black art must be done for all, drawn and synthesized from all. To be committing, Black art must not simply inform and inspire Blacks, but also commit them to the historical project of liberation and a higher level of human life.”

Tyehimba—a participant in and supporter of both the Black Liberation Movement and its aesthetic sister, the Black Arts Movement—added, “These ideas and resultant practice were the conceptual framework from which the idea of Reel Black Filmmakers came.”

Reel Black Filmmakers’ mission is to provide information, resources and assistance to filmmakers of African descent and to study and analyze visual media in all of its forms.

“As a founding member of Reel Black Filmmakers, I’m proud to have witnessed the impact that our organization has made on Black filmmakers and film lovers, alike, over the course of 10 years,” shared filmmaker Derek Grace.

Grace went on to say, “As an organization started and sustained 100 percent with volunteer efforts, we have accomplished a lot. Our members have screened films locally, nationally and internationally and won countless awards. Two of our members started their own film festivals. We’ve hosted several industry workshops, networking sessions and film screenings.

We have empowered hundreds of Black filmmakers and seen collaboration between our members at all levels of filmmaking. We have promoted hundreds of film projects through our strong social media presence.”

Reel Black Filmmakers is a program of the Community Film Workshop of Chicago and membership includes the following privileges:

  • Ten percent (10%) discounts on Community Film Workshop classes
  • Free Film Aesthetics classes for youth and adults
  • Free Film screenings with partner organizations
  • Free admission to Reel Black Filmmakers’ bi-monthly screening and networking session
  • Screening of your eligible rough-cut or finished video
  • Meeting space for auditions and production meetings
  • Discount on equipment rental, (camera, tripod, lights, projector, screen and speakers)
  • Opportunity to collaborate with CFWC as a fiscal agent on your project

General membership is $60 and $30 for students.

For more information on Reel Black Filmmakers and the Community Film Workshop of Chicago:

For interview requests, contact Derek Grace, [email protected], 312.371.4722 or Keisha Chavers, [email protected], 773.218.1844.

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