CONNECT Film screenings at Harper Theater

Presented by Black Cinema House // FREE


Black Cinema House:

Black Cinema House hosts screenings and discussions of films by and about Black people and the issues shaping our lives. BCH also offers community video classes for youth and adults, encouraging our neighbors to explore their creativity, tell their own stories, and develop the skills to shape their own media images. Curated by film scholar Jacqueline Najuma Stewart, BCH welcomes a diverse range of audiences, film artists, experts, enthusiasts, and collaborating organizations to engage in lively conversation about the past, present and future of moving images.


DAY ONE - Sat, Nov 19: Global Blackness

Saturday’s program takes us around the world, to sites where Black aspirations and struggles meet in comic, tragic and culturally reverberating ways.


Passion, politics and poverty collide as this stunning love story from Jamaican writer/director Storm Saulter unfolds against a backdrop of political turmoil. (Storm Saulter, Jamaica, 2011, 104 min)

Kemi, a frumpy florist, spends her days making others' weddings beautiful and daydreaming about the special day when she herself will get married. But when her longtime boyfriend dumps her, it throws a wrench in her dreams. After a run in with a handsome young Nollywood star, together they determine what she needs to win back her ex is a makeover of sorts. Yet, as she comes into her own sense of style, she comes into a better sense of herself, and begins to question her quest to get married. Following a long line of films that feature a makeover at the center of the story, Flower Girl shows how personal style and self-growth can be intertwining issues. (Michelle Bello, Nigeria, 2013, 94 min)

Followed by conversation with Mary Adekoya, UChicago doctoral student in Cinema & Media Studies, whose studies focus on African cinema, particularly Nollywood. 

Girlhood and gang culture collide as 15-year old Layla (Jessica Sula) contends with bullying at a new school by transforming herself inside and out. The teen's compulsive journey for love and acceptance becomes fatal in this cautionary tale based on headline news adapted by writer/director Rebecca Johnson. Honeytrap held its world premiere screening at the 2014 BFI London Film Festival and is an official selection of SXSW and Urbanworld Film Festival. (Rebecca Johnson, UK, 2014, 94 min)
NOTE: this film warrants parental guidance for viewers under 16.

From executive producer and rapper Nasir “Nas” Jones and journalist-turned-filmmaker Adam Sjöberg, Shake the Dust chronicles the influence of breakdancing, exploring how it strikes a resonant chord in the slums, favelas and ghettos of the world and far beyond. Showcasing some of the most jaw-dropping breakdancing moves ever committed to film, Shake the Dust is an inspiring tribute to the uplifting power of music and movement. (Adam Sjoberg, 2014, 84 min)


DAY TWO - Sun, Nov 20: South Side Stories

Sunday’s program celebrates our beloved South Side with pre-“Chi-raq” renderings of the music and food, love and politics, families and communities that make our neighborhoods uniquely resilient.


10:35am   BARBERSHOP

(Tim Story, 2002, 102 min)

A smart comedy about a day in the life of a barbershop on the South Side. Calvin (Ice Cube), who inherited the struggling business from his deceased father, views the shop as nothing but a burden and a waste of his time. After selling the shop to a local loan shark, Calvin slowly begins to see his father's vision and legacy and struggles with the notion that he just sold it out. As Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer) asks, ''If we can't talk in a barbershop, where can we talk straight? This ain't nothing but a healthy conversation.”


Based on Sam Greenlee's iconic novel, The Spook Who Sat by the Door is both a satire of the civil rights struggle of the late 1960s and a serious attempt to focus on the issue of black militancy. Dan Freeman enlists in the CIA’s elitist espionage program as its token Black, but after mastering agency tactics, he becomes disillusioned and drops out to train young Chicago Black militants as "Freedom Fighters." This loosely autobiographical story of one man's reaction to white ruling-class hypocrisy was suppressed both during shooting and after its release. (Ivan Dixon, 1973, 102 min)

“Filmed on Chicago’s South Side, Stony Island tells the story of the only white kid on the block, as he forms an R&B band with his best friend. With the help of their mentor, aging sax legend Percy (Gene “Daddy G” Barge), they pull together a funky supergroup. Despite few resources and heavy losses, this resilient group of dedicated musicians, armed only with wit, sleight of hand and outrageous Chicago bravado must come together to finally make their smash debut.” – Chicago Film Archives. Film provided courtesy of director Andy Davis. (Andrew Davis, 1978, 95 min)

10:05pm SOUL FOOD
“Soul Food tells the story of a big African-American family from Chicago with warm-hearted good cheer; in the way it cuts between stories of romance and trouble, it's like Waiting to Exhale, but more down to earth and believable--and funnier. It knows about how black families stay in constant communication down three or four generations and out to third cousins--how when a matriarch like the movie's Big Mama hosts a holiday dinner, there are going to be a lot of people in the house, and a lot of stories to catch up with.” – Roger Ebert (George Tillman Jr., 1997, 115 min)