South Side youth star in CIFF CineYouth Fest and Loni Love stops by

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DENZEL LOVE, BACKGROUND, and Christian Creasy share a light moment in Run With It. 

By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, Chicago Crusader

South Side teens who got paid to learn how make a movie will get publicly recognized by their peers and family members on Friday, May 6, when their finished short film “Run With It” premieres at the Chicago’s CineYouth Film Festival.

High School students from the South Side of Chicago (including Englewood and Hyde Park) who want to explore their interests in media production were given the opportunity by Southside FYI to develop their craft from local pros.

Students commonly write personal stories about the challenges they face in their lives; which over the past 10 years has often taken the form of gun and gang violence faced by the youth.

The film “Run With It” depicts two young African-American males who stumble upon the aftermath of a violent crime. Their loyalties to each other are tested by an old acquaintance who shows up at their door. While filming a chase scene in Englewood, real, undercover police stopped the action after running right into what looked like a possible deadly situation. Fortunately, no guns were drawn.

With the support of local award-winning filmmaker John Mossman of Southside FYI and CineYouth Festival Director Rebecca Fons, these teens were given the chance to change the way they see the world, publicly be praised for their work and gain hope for a brighter future.

This film placed the two brothers in a quandary, as the older brother, who was fresh out of the military and a bit subdued and quiet about his experiences while enlisted, knows pretty well who the suspect is; he’s an old family friend. However, he doesn’t want to snitch on the family friend. The younger brother just yearns for the attention of his sibling, while the mother is shown going to work in the medical field, trying to keep her family afloat.

After the two witness the shooting, they are visited by the suspect who plays a game with the younger brother, while threatening the older brother that he must not rat him out to the cops. What evolves is a show of commitment to a life-long friend butting up against a commitment to protect family members against negative outside influences.

“Run With It” is a great short film that is part of a film festival that has really done well with working with youth and showing them real, life film making skills. This film and more like it offer something for everybody, and the kicker is that it is free.

As an internationally competitive film festival for students ages 22 and younger, the 12th annual CineYouth Festival will be presented from May 5 to May 7 at Columbia College Chicago (1104 S. Wabash, 8th Floor in Chicago). Plan to attend. For more information and a full schedule, visit http://www.chicagofilmfestival.com/cineyouth/schedule-and-films/

Detroit native and comic Loni Love brings her show to Chicago area

Loni Love
Loni Love

One part of “The Real” talk show crew Loni Love is bringing her “Funny Kind of Love” comedy tour to the Chicago area on May 6 through 8, and that’s not the only news. Love will once again be seen on the big screen co-staring alongside Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts and Jason Sudeikis in director Garry Marshall’s new film, “Mother’s Day.” The comedy invites its viewers to experience the laughter, tears and love as three generations come together in the week leading up to Mother’s Day. “Mother’s Day” opens nationwide April 29.

Love will appear at The Improv in Schaumburg, Illinois, and is loving all the attention, after having grown up in the same housing projects in Detroit, Michigan, as Motown greats Diana Ross and Smokey Robinson. Love recently shared news about her career with the Crusader.

Love currently co-hosts the Café Mocha radio show with rapper MC Lyte, an accomplishment of which she is very proud. “It is the only syndicated radio show in America hosted by all women. We believe in the power of women and helping women achieve success,” she said.

Love is working on so many platforms, and she describes how each of them differs. While performing live, Love says that “Seeing the beautiful faces in the audience when I tell a joke is a feeling that can’t be duplicated when shooting a movie or television show.” She added that being on “The Real” is another great way for folks to get to know her. “I also love helping the fans by sharing their stories or inspiring others.” Love admits that she’s more relaxed during the radio program. “I really enjoy interviewing musical artists! And because it is radio, I don’t have to wear make-up!”

The big screen for Love is also satisfying a passion that she has. “Acting is a passion, and I consider myself a comedic action actor. I get roles that are non-traditional for women, which allow me to stand out.”

Love spoke about her connection to some of the great Motown hits and how she gives back when she can. “I love having Motown acts come on my show “The Real.” This season we had Smokey Robinson come on, and there was an instant connection because we are both from The D! Detroit folks show love for each other.”

On top of it all, Love was recently honored with a special called “Being Loni Love,” which traced her story from her early days as a latchkey daughter growing up in Detroit’s Brewster-Douglas housing projects to national stand-up comedienne, television and movie star. When it aired, she went back home to celebrate. “I spent the day going back to the neighborhood, meeting and greeting folks,” she said. “I also had a great comedy show with comics from Detroit. It was a great time.” She added: “I was honored when the ‘Being’ producers wanted to hear my story. I want to share my life story to inspire all women that they can become and achieve whatever they want.”

You can see Loni Love at The Improv at 5 Woodfield Road in Schaumburg, Illinois May 6 through 8. Tickets are $25, visit: http://chicago.improv.com for more information.

 

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