GENE SISKEL FILM CENTER OF THE SCHOOL
OF THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO TO PRESENT
THE BEST OF BLACK HARVEST FILM FESTIVAL AT THE GARFIELD PARK CONSERVATORY WITH SUPPORT FROM THE ALLSTATE CORPORATION
CHICAGO, IL—The Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago is pleased to announce additional funding for the Black Harvest Film Festival supported by The Allstate Corporation as it will receive a $5,000 grant from the United States’ largest personal insurance carrier. This grant specifically supports the expansion of the Black Harvest Film Festival’s pre-festival series Best of Black Harvest to create The Best of Black Harvest Film Festival at the Garfield Park Conservatory, presented in partnership with the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance. The Festival will connect youth and young adults on Chicago’s West Side to the programming of the Gene Siskel Film Center, located in the Loop, increasing access to arts and culture for all Chicagoans.
“We are so thankful for Allstate’s support of the arts as a means to engage youth and bring creativity and peaceful alternatives to Chicago’s Black community. It is our honor to be extending the reach of the Black Harvest Film Festival through community engagement with The Best of Black Harvest Film Festival at the Conservatory. Increasing the programming to this venue is exemplary of our successful outreach efforts that have come as the result of the solid foundation built from the Best of Black Harvest programs presented on the South and West sides of Chicago. We are looking forward to welcoming audiences from the Garfield Park Conservatory program to the Gene Siskel Film Center and especially to the Black Harvest Film Festival which gives independent Black filmmakers a voice and a means to inspire their own community through storytelling on the big screen,” said Jean de St. Aubin, Executive Director of the Gene Siskel Film Center.
“We are excited and grateful that our organization can deepen The Best of Black Harvest Film Festival’s association with Chicago’s West Side while giving youth and families the opportunity to experience Garfield Park Conservatory. This partnership brings Gene Siskel Film Center programming to the Garfield Park Conservatory’s West Side community and neighbors—we look forward to hosting the Best of the Black Harvest Film Festival and to more opportunities to work together, “ said James Law, President of the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance.
The Best of Black Harvest Film Festival at the Conservatory will give audiences the opportunity to experience films made by emerging and established Black filmmakers, some of whom will appear with their work, to share personal experiences and to provide input on the creative process, enhancing arts education, informing audiences about the breadth of the movie industry, and inspiring a new generation of artists.
There will be one screening presented every month from March through May, with all screenings starting at 6:00 pm:
· Wednesday, March 15: 70 Acres in Chicago: Cabrini Green, featuring director Ronit Bezalel in person;
· Wednesday, April 19: Best of Black Harvest Shorts featuring Prom Date Blues, The Bathroom Attendant, The Chicago Boyz, and Perfect Day, with directors Tiara Epps (The Chicago Boyz) and Derrick Sanders (Perfect Day) in person;
· Wednesday, May 17, Crescendo! The Power of Music, directed by Jamie Bernstein. Guests appearing in person TBA.
All screenings are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.
The Best of Black Harvest was established in 2013 and was presented in partnership initially with the Chicago Public Library and the Chicago Tribune Foundation. This summer program screens select films in June and July in communities throughout Chicago in Chicago Public Library branches, namely on the South Side and West Side. Attendees participate in film discussions after each screening, and have a chance to receive complimentary tickets to the upcoming 23rd Annual Black Harvest Film Festival which will be presented this year from August 4 through 31 at the Gene Siskel Film Center.
The Black Harvest Film Festival is Midwest’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 experiences from the African diaspora. Black Harvest features Chicago premieres, filmmaker appearances, panel discussions, and special events. Presented are over 50 features, documentaries, and shorts, including a number connected to Chicago, affirming the city's role as a vital center for independent filmmaking. Black Harvest supports the Film Center’s ongoing mission to present inclusive and insightful programming. http://www.siskelfilmcenter.org/blackharvest
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About The Allstate Corporation
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, protecting approximately 16 million households from life’s uncertainties through auto, home, life and other insurance offered through its Allstate, Esurance, Encompass and Answer Financial brand names. Now celebrating its 85th anniversary as an insurer, Allstate is widely known through the slogan “You’re In Good Hands With Allstate®.” Allstate agencies are in virtually every local community in America. In 2015, The Allstate Foundation, Allstate, its employees and agency owners gave $36 million to support local communities.
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 of 80,000. 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 over 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 School of the Art Institute of Chicago: For more than 150 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has been a leader in educating the world’s most influential artists, designers and scholars. Located in downtown Chicago with a fine arts graduate program consistently ranking among the top programs in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, SAIC provides an interdisciplinary approach to art and design as well as world-class resources, including the Art Institute of Chicago museum, on-campus galleries and state-of-the-art facilities. SAIC’s undergraduate, graduate and post-baccalaureate students have the freedom to take risks and create the bold ideas that transform Chicago and the world—as seen through notable alumni and faculty such as Michelle Grabner, David Sedaris, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Hunt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Cynthia Rowley, Nick Cave, Jeff Koons and LeRoy Neiman. www.saic.edu
About the Garfield Park Conservatory: Located just 15 minutes west of downtown Chicago, the Garfield Park Conservatory is a unique horticultural gem and a historic landmark. The Garfield Park Conservatory was designed by celebrated landscape architect Jens Jensen and opened to the public in 1908. The Conservatory, which is owned and operated by the Chicago Park District, is open 365 days of the year, with free admission and free parking. The not-for-profit Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance was incorporated in 1998 to support the Conservatory and to develop and deliver programming, events, and visitor services. Recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service in 2013, the Alliance interprets the Conservatory’s extraordinary plant collections for 200,000 visitors each year, including 15,000 local schoolchildren. A variety of programs, including school tours, family educational activities, and adult gardening workshops, enable children and adults to explore the Conservatory and lean about plant science and gardening. www.garfieldconservatory.org