15th Annual Black Harvest International Festival of Film and Video

The Gene Siskel Film Center welcomes you to the 15th anniversary edition of the Black Harvest International Festival of Film and Video, from August 7 though September 3. Talent shines brightly through all four weeks of this unique celebration of the black experience on film. We put the spotlight on our own Chicago filmmakers as we continue to highlight adventurous new work from around the nation and around the world.

The excitement begins on Friday, August 7, with the opening night appearances of film and TV star Hill Harper, receiving the Gene Siskel Film Center Renaissance Award, and Harmene Hartman, publisher/editor-in-chief of N’DIGO, receiving the Deloris Jordan Award for Excellence in Community Leadership. NBC 5’s LeeAnn Trotter emcees the program, A Black Harvest Feast, which includes filmmaker Kena Tangi Dorsey introducing her short film SISTAHS IN THE NAME OF LOVE.

Our 2009 festival offers a wealth of films for every interest and taste. In this year of hope, many filmmakers have addressed the subjects of regeneration, renewal, and the building of a future in diverse ways: AFTER THE STORM follows New Orleans teens in mounting a Broadway show in the wake of Katrina. PRESSURE COOKER recounts, with humor and insight, the impact of one hell-raiser culinary arts teacher on her students. PIRATE PRIDE shows how community support has contributed to launching future NBA players at a suburban Chicago high school. RADICAL DISCIPLE: THE STORY OF FATHER PFLEGER details the community activism of the Chicago Catholic priest famed for his “gospel of the streets.”

Explorations of little-known aspects of civil rights history include SCARRED JUSTICE: THE ORANGEBURG MASSACRE 1968 and INSIDE BUFFALO, the latter a documentary on the 92nd Buffalo Division, a WWII African American segregated combat unit. The controversial career of Washington, D.C.’s former mayor is detailed in THE NINE LIVES OF MARION BARRY.

Love, sex, and the battle of the sexes are subjects that come in for treatment from sensitive to satirical in films including: made-in-Chicago IF YOU LOVE ME, a comedy of errors involving multiple break-ups; COMPEXION, a film testing the validity of a guy’s checklist of qualities he looks for in a mate; and “FAMILY”, a romantic comedy about coming out in L.A. Our ever-popular Sex & Satire shorts program features five gems including I OWN YOU, A PERIOD PIECE, and THE PANTY MAN.

The supernatural figures in made-in-Chicago BANANA LEAVES, in which ghosts attend a search for the ultimate high. The spirit world also figures in THE SEED, a U.S.-Ethiopian production, in which a child’s life is changed by seeing an angel, and MR. BONES, a story that centers on the discovery by three friends of a mysterious grave in the woods.

Action and urban drama have a place in the festival too with NOBODY SMILING and made-in-Chicago RAN$UM GAMES. Films including features PRINCE OF BROADWAY and 13 MONTHS OF SUNSHINE, and shorts IN THE LAND OF OPPORUNITY and KWAME treat the complexity of the immigrant experience through humor and drama.

The festival panel discussion How to Get a Movie Made, on Saturday, August 15, is a valuable free workshop for filmmakers and aspiring filmmakers. Moderated by festival consultant Sergio Mims, the panel includes four Black Harvest directors providing detailed advice on how to get your production off the ground.

Many personal appearances are a unique feature of Black Harvest, and some programs feature receptions after the show. See individual film listings for details, and be sure to check our web site www.siskelfilmcenter.org often for regular festival updates.

The Black Harvest Film Festival is supported by: the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art; the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; American Airlines; and the Alphawood Foundation. Special thanks to festival consultant Sergio Mims, our Black Harvest Community Council, the many filmmakers who help make this festival possible, and to director Vandon N. Gibbs for the cover image from his film COMPLEXION.

—Barbara Scharres


Join master of ceremonies LeeAnn Trotter of NBC 5 Chicago for the opening night celebration. The Deloris Jordan Award for Excellence in Community Leadership will be presented to Hermene Hartman, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of N’DIGO. The Gene Siskel Film Center Renaissance Award will be presented to film, television, and stage actor Hill Harper. After the show, the audience is invited to join our celebrity guests for a reception graciously hosted by Whole Foods Market in the Film Center’s gallery/café. Due to conflicts with his CSI: NY production schedule Hill Harper will be accepting his award via video.

Kena Tangi Dorsey and Charise Studesville in person!
A Black Harvest Feast

Enjoy a sneak preview of the 2009 “harvest” through an exciting selection of four short films conveying the spirit and vibrant feeling of the month-long festival. A daughter is called upon to reconcile conflicting childhood memories of her dying dad in Charise Studesville’s THE HANDS (2008, 11 min.). Husband and wife are recast as Mandingo and mistress in actor-director Gary Anthony Williams’s provocative comedy I OWN YOU (2008, 18 min.). An L.A. cabdriver is haunted by the events that caused him to leave his native Ghana in Edward Osei-Gyimah’s KWAME (2008, 25 min.). Two siblings with divergent attitudes toward marriage clash and bond in Kena Tangi Dorsey’s SISTAHS IN THE NAME OF LOVE (2007, 21 min.). Various formats. (BS & MR)

Directors Kena Tangi Dorsey and Charise Studesville will be present.

Proceeds from this screening benefit the educational programs of the Gene Siskel Film Center. No free passes or blue tickets will be valid for this screening.

Friday, August 7, 7:30 pm & 8:00 pm - Both shows are SOLD OUT!
Note: The second show at 8:00 pm consists of the short film program only. Audiences from both shows are invited to attend the reception after the screening.

Festival Panel Discussion—Free Admission!
How to Get a Movie Made

Our Black Harvest panel discussion, which annually debates issues relating to black filmmaking, will dissect the process of making a film, from getting the money to casting, production, post-production, and distribution. Black Harvest festival consultant Sergio Mims heads up a panel of filmmakers to include directors Archie Roper (BLACK GIRL); Faith Trimel (“FAMILY”); Lawrence Lee Wallace (IF YOU LOVE ME...); Parris Reaves (RAN$UM GAMES); and producer Natalie Perkins (SILAS LYNCH). The audience is invited to participate with questions in this provocative forum. (BS)

Saturday, August 15, 5:00 pm

Special advance screening!
2009, Dana Flor and Toby Oppenheimer, USA, 87 min.

“De rigueur for political junkies and anyone who followed Barry’s very public downfall.”—Eddie Cockrell, Variety

Presented in a special advance screening before its HBO premiere, this fascinating documentary uses unprecedented access to tell the continuing saga of a despised, beloved, and resilient politician. It’s a potent story of race, power, sex, and drugs—the tale of a complex and contradictory man who is the star of one of the most fascinating and bizarre chapters of American politics. DigiBeta video. (Description courtesy of Flor Films)

Sunday, August 9, 5:00 pm

Special advance screening!
Scott Sanders in person!
2009, Scott Sanders, USA, 90 min.
With Michael Jai White, Kym Whitley

“Raucous…a vastly entertaining film.”—Rob Nelson, Variety

A runaway hit at the Sundance Film Festival, BLACK DYNAMITE mines the best and the worst of the blaxploitation era for a rollicking kick-ass parody of classics including THREE THE HARD WAY, DOLEMITE, and SUPERFLY, with a heaping helping of Bruce Lee thrown in for good measure. With a 44-Magnum, nunchucks, and fists at the ready, babe-magnet Black Dynamite (Jai White), a former CIA agent, ruthlessly works both sides of the law when “The Man” murders his brother, floods orphanages with heroin, and pours tainted malt liquor into the ‘hood. 35mm. (BS)

Director Scott Sanders will be present on Saturday for audience discussion.

Saturday, August 15, 8:15 pm
Thursday, August 20, 8:15 pm

2009, Hilla Medallia, USA, 89 min.

Dismayed by the massive, still-unrepaired damage left by Katrina, three New York theater veterans decide to do something about it. They recruit Lower Ninth Ward teenagers to star in a revival of the hit Broadway musical Once on This Island, performed at New Orleans’ once-vital, long-shuttered St. Mark’s Community Center. The audition and rehearsal scenes have the infectious flavor of FAME, but these high spirits are deepened by the emotional hurdles faced by the young cast members, many of them still separated from their homes and parents and troubled by memories that are reflected in the hurricane setting of the play. Israeli director Hilla Medalia's film is presented in cooperation with the Consulate General of Israel, Chicago. Beta SP video. (MR) FF

Sunday, August 30, 3:00 pm
Wednesday, September 2, 6:15 pm

2008, Michael Patrei, USA, 86 min.

Ballou High School is located in the poorest and most crime-ridden section of Washington, D.C., but its celebrated marching band, with 100% graduation rates and top-three finishes in national championships, shows that environment need not be destiny. Big names like Jesse Jackson, Colin Powell, John Lewis, Marion Barry, and Chuck Brown sing the band’s praises, but first-time director Patrei keeps the film’s focus on the kids themselves and their ability to overcome day-to-day challenges, whether they be untimely death or lack of air-conditioning. DigiBeta video. (MR) FF

Sunday, August 16, 3:00 pm
Thursday, August 20, 6:15 pm

Chicago connection
Lanre Sarumi in person!
2008, Lanre Sarumi, USA, 90 min.
With Michael Blackson, Tirf Alexius, Gandlyn Ross

Three young professionals with a taste for exotic smokes take their quest for the ultimate high a step too far in this urban tale set in Chicago. Director Sarumi makes superb use of South Loop and Chinatown locations to construct a thriller with the alluring veneer of an upwardly mobile lifestyle. A drug deal with a cruel twist, an accident, and a child’s ghost serve to pry open the door to an eerie netherworld where retribution may be in the cards. HD video. (BS)

Director Lanre Sarumi will be present for audience discussion at both screenings. Closing Night After-Party hosted by Coup D'etat.

Saturday, August 29, 8:15 pm
Thursday, September 3, 8:15 pm

Vandon N. Gibbs in person!
2008, Vandon N. Gibbs, USA, 90 min.
With John Artis Jr., Tanya Fraser

Some hilarious he-said, she-said debate serves to rip the mask off not-so-pretty romantic expectations in this comedy-drama that centers on the checklist of qualities a guy looks for in his lady. Meet Derek, a cool and calculating dude with a mental image of the perfect woman. Meet Tracee, a smart, loyal, and curvaceous beauty. She’s Derek’s dream come true in every way but one, and he’s about to get tripped up by that old adage about beauty being only skin deep. HD-CAM video. (BS)

Director Vandon N. Gibbs is tentatively scheduled to be present at both screenings for audience discussion.

Tuesday, September 1, 8:15 pm
Thursday, September 3, 6:00 pm

Chicago connection
Faith Trimel in person!
2009, Faith Trimel, USA, 112 min.
With Charyse Monet, Leslie Gilliam, Fadiha Carmelle Marcelin

The director of BLACK AURA ON AN ANGEL returns to Black Harvest with a sexy, savvy comedy-drama about coming out of the closet in image-conscious L.A. Six independent-minded gal pals, including a doctor, a hair salon owner, and a personal trainer, share a secret: they’re lesbians who have been forced to invent elaborate ruses to keep their love lives undercover. Actress Melanie throws down the gauntlet: for better or for worse they will all come out to family and friends within thirty days. Trimel keeps the plot bouncing between madcap comedy and pathos, with a gorgeous and able cast more than equal to the task. DigiBeta video. (BS)

Director Faith Trimel will be present on Friday for audience discussion. Trimel is also a featured member of the panel How to Get a Movie Made on Saturday, August 15, at 5:00 pm.

Friday, August 14, 8:15 pm
Wednesday, August 19, 8:15 pm

Chicago connection
Lawrence Lee Wallace in person!
2009, Lawrence Lee Wallace, USA, 113 min.
With Michelle Shelton, Richard Reed

Wallace, the Chicago-based writer-director behind the successful live sketch-comedy show Urban Scenze and its video spin-offs, makes the jump from sketches to full-length narrative with this comedy-drama. The action begins on the momentous night when three guys whose relationships are in crisis show up at the home of their supposedly more mature buddy; flashbacks, documentary-like interviews, and a series of outrageous twists provide a ruthlessly funny portrait of black male attitudes toward sex and love. DV-CAM video. (MR)

Director Lawrence Lee Wallace will be present for audience discussion at both screenings.

Saturday, August 22, 8:15 pm
Thursday, August 27, 8:15 pm

2009, Fred Kuwornu, Italy, 60 min.

Reconstructing for the first time an important piece of African American history and placing it within the context of Civil Rights history, INSIDE BUFFALO tells the story of the 92nd Buffalo Division, an African American segregated combat unit that fought with outstanding heroism in Italy in WWII. Director Kuwornu, an Italian filmmaker of African heritage, searches out little-known aspects of the story, including details of the friendships forged between African American soldiers and the partisan fighters and villagers they liberated from fascist rule. Beta SP video. (BS) FF

Saturday, August 8, 3:00 pm

Nathan Ross Freeman in person!
2007, Nathan Ross Freeman, USA, 112 min.
With Debra Terry, Jeryl Prescott

Part coming-of-age story, part ghost story, MR. BONES chronicles the turbulent friendship of “the three Ds”, Devin, Dionne, and Dominique, uniquely bonded through a tragedy. A macabre discovery in the woods becomes their solace and secret through childhood years, and the focus of a dark mystery involving an entire community when the three return as adults with unrealized ambitions and unresolved anger. MR. BONES features an ensemble cast from the Winston-Salem Youth Arts Institute, and is the recent winner of Best Feature at the Philadelphia International Film Festival. DigiBeta video. (BS)

Producer/director Nathan Ross Freeman will be present on Monday for audience discussion.

Monday, August 24, 8:15 pm
Thursday, August 27, 6:00 pm

2008, Jamal Dedeaux, USA, 83 min.
With Shay Roundtree, Teck Holmes

An action drama set in the mean streets of L.A., NOBODY SMILING pulls Atlanta college teacher Jesse Ward (Roundtree) down into a dark and violent mystery when he comes home to bury his murdered brother Dante. A gangland debt, drugs, prostitution, and traffic in underage girls all appear to have been part of Dante’s resume, but nobody who knows is talking, including the dead man’s ex-wife, now a stripper who turns tricks on the side, a missing girlfriend, and best friends who may well be enemies. HDCAM video. (BS)

Monday, August 17, 6:15 pm
Tuesday, August 18, 8:15 pm

Chicago connection
Filmmakers in person!
2009, Derek Grace, USA, 60 min.

The reputation of Maywood, a small Chicago suburb, as a basketball powerhouse is examined with enthusiasm and pride in this documentary tracing the history of basketball at Proviso East High School. Interviews with NBA stars and Proviso East alums Jim “Papa” Brewer, Glenn “Doc” Rivers, and Michael Finley, among others, bring personal perspective to the story of how dedicated coaching, discipline, hard work, and, most especially, community support have for decades served to propel Proviso East grads to stellar basketball careers. DV-CAM video. (BS) FF

Director Derek Grace and producer David Grace will be present for audience discussion.

Saturday, August 15, 3:00 pm

Chicago theatrical premiere!
Culinary Arts Program reps in person!
2008, Mark Becker and Jennifer Grausman, USA, 99 min.

“Moving, inspirational and tremendously real without ever turning manipulative or preachy.”—Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times

Evidence of the life-changing power wielded by a dedicated teacher doesn’t come any more real than in PRESSURE COOKER, in which a petite fireball of a Philadelphia culinary arts instructor puts a veritable menu of career choices before inner city students willing to earn their chops chopping veggies to the exacting specifications of a gourmet restaurant. Food is a winning part of the show as teacher Wilma Stephenson, purveyor of the toughest brand of tough love, coaches three of her most promising students to the finish line of a Top Chef-style scholarship competition on which their futures depend. HD-CAM video. (BS) FF

Chicago representatives of Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) Nicola Copeland, coordinator, and Anthony McPhee, alumnus, along with mentor and instructor Wilma Stephenson, featured in the film, will be present on Friday for audience discussion.

Friday, August 21, 6:00 pm
Saturday, August 22, 3:00 pm
Tuesday, August 25, 6:15 pm

2008, Sean Baker, USA, 100 min.
With Prince Adu, Karren Karagulian

“The shiniest indie gem I’ve found this year so far.”—Eric Campos, FilmThreat.com

Lucky, an illegal Ghanian immigrant who hustles knock-off handbags from a Manhattan shop’s back room has his already-chaotic life turned upside-down when an old girlfriend resurfaces just long enough to thrust a toddler she claims is his into his unwilling arms. The baby, a serene little man, becomes the straight man to Lucky’s blustering and often comic efforts to adjust to what he at first sees as an unjust twist of fate. The film’s superb characterizations and poignantly real depiction of the seedy underside of New York’s fashion district earned director Baker the Best Feature award at the Los Angeles Pan African Film Festival. HD-CAM video. (BS)

Sunday, August 16, 5:00 pm
Tuesday, August 18, 6:15 pm

Chicago connection
Filmmakers in person!
2009, Bob Hercules, USA, 58 min.

Regarded as a hero by many and a renegade by some in the Catholic Church hierarchy, Michael Pfleger, longtime pastor of Chicago’s St. Sabina Parish, has consistently used the power of his pulpit to battle social inequity, engaging in high-profile political activism to end drug-dealing, prostitution, and exploitation by liquor and tobacco companies in his community. Bob Hercules, director of SENATOR OBAMA GOES TO AFRICA, captures the charisma of the crusading priest and his “gospel of the streets” while exploring the larger issues of tensions between the Church and its African American flock. DigiBeta video. (BS) FF

Director Bob Hercules and, tentatively, Rev. Michael Pfleger will be present at both screenings for audience discussion.

Friday, August 28, 8:15 pm
Sunday, August 30, 5:00 pm

Chicago connection
Filmmakers in person!
2007, Parris Reaves, USA, 89 min.
With Devin Wesley, Elise Neal, Wood Harris

In this tense, twisty, shot-in-Chicago thriller from director Reaves (THE EVIL ONE) and producer/co-writer William Pierce (THE ENGAGEMENT: MY PHAMILY BBQ 2), a former drug dealer is kidnapped for a $500,000 ransom, but his wife throws a monkey wrench into the proceedings by refusing to pay up. The plot thickens as the three kidnappers squabble among themselves and a hidden motive surfaces from an event that occurred eight years earlier. HD-CAM video. (MR)

Director Parris Reaves and producer/co-writer William Pierce will be present for audience discussion at both screenings.

Saturday, August 8, 8:15 pm
Thursday, August 13, 8:15 pm

2009, Bestor Cram and Judy Richardson, USA, 57 min.
2002, Gregg Daniel, USA, 11 min.
With Ken Johnson, Lisa Jeffrey
2008, Hezekiah Lewis, USA, 22 min.
With Mary Tirenkti, David Dontoh

The tragic 1970 Kent State shootings are known to all, but an equally devastating event that occurred two years earlier has been all but lost to history. In early 1968, black college students protesting segregation in their South Carolina town were fired upon by police, killing three and wounding 27. SCARRED JUSTICE meticulously examines both sides of the controversy, including the efforts of state officials to blame the tragedy on “outside agitators,” and the 35-year struggle of the victims’ families to reopen the investigation. DigiBeta video. (MR)

Preceded by two shorts. SILAS LYNCH puts a new spin on history with a fictional tale of a black actor passing for white to play the notorious blackface villain in D.W. Griffith’s THE BIRTH OF A NATION. WARRIOR QUEEN recounts, by means of animation and drama, the birth of the Ashanti nation’s resistance when the British attempt to take their legendary Golden Stool by force. Both in 35mm. (BS) FF

Monday, August 10, 8:15 pm
Thursday, August 13, 6:15 pm

Joshua Bee Alafia in person!
2009, Joshua Bee Alafia, Ethiopia/USA, 101 min.
With Messeret Tsagaye, Elga Amessa

A story with an air of magic, THE SEED chronicles the life of Fikir, an orphan boy of the streets, after an angel appears to him in a dream. Director Alafia blends the colorful reality of an Ethiopian city with supernatural fantasy to create a gentle story of perseverance and hope. The angel endows Fikir with the powers of a soothsayer, and his bold pronouncements to a series of disbelieving strangers sets wondrous happenings in motion wherever the seed of love has room to grow. In English and Amharic with English subtitles. DV-CAM video. (BS) FF

Director Joshua Bee Alafia will be present at both screenings for audience discussion.

Tuesday, August 11, 6:00 pm
Wednesday, August 12, 8:15 pm

Chicago connection
Filmmakers in person!
Shorts Program:
Chicago Connected I
2007-9, Various directors, USA, 94 min.

Four films featuring Chicago talent. A daughter is called upon to reconcile conflicting childhood memories of her dying dad in Charise Studesville’s THE HANDS (2008, 11 min.). A boy becomes a man when his beloved grandmother becomes a child again in Jason W. Camp’s PROMISES KEPT (2007, 20 min.). Romance gets off to a promising start in Anthony P. Brooks’s RAIN—A LOVE STORY? (2008, 30 min.), but honesty could be a deal-breaker. Chicago’s own Mamet-connected (and, sadly, recently deceased) actor Lionel Mark Smith made his final screen appearance in a semi-autobiographical story about an actor struggling with marginalization in Eric Poydar’s LARRY (THE ACTOR) (2008, 33 min.). Various video formats. (BS)

Directors Charise Studesville, Anthony P. Brooks, and Eric Poydar will be present for audience discussion.

Tuesday, August 11, 8:15 pm

Chicago connection
Filmmakers in person!
Shorts Program:
Chicago Connected II
2008-9, Various directors, USA, 93 min.

Chicago talent shines in four new films. Not everyone sitting on a bar stool is who or what they seem in Natasha Parker’s RAW EMOTIONS (2008, 11 min.). A Civil War-era romantic farce, APRIL FOOLS (2008, 18 min.), by School of the Art Institute alumnus Cal Ward Jr., is marked by hipster humor and satirical twists. Life turns perilous for a little girl on Chicago’s West Side in Archie Roper’s BLACK GIRL (2008, 35 min.), based on a true story. Poetry becomes a lifeline for a jilted wife challenged to renew her belief in love in HIDING PLACES (2008, 29 min.) by Alvin M. Daniels. Various video formats. (BS)

Directors Natasha Parker, Archie Roper, Alvin M. Daniels, and tentatively, Cal Ward Jr., will be present for audience discussion.

Wednesday, September 2, 8:15 pm

Filmmakers in person!
Shorts Program:
Sex & Satire
2007-8, Various directors, USA, 93 min.

A light-hearted program highlighting wit, women, and you-know-what: A poet recalls an unusual lover in Camrin Pitts and Dale Madison’s THE PANTY MAN (2008, 6 min.). Addiction dramas get spoofed in Fred Thomas Jr.’s KAI (2008, 14 min.). Husband and wife are recast as Mandingo and mistress in actor-director Gary Anthony Williams’s provocative comedy I OWN YOU (2008, 18 min.). Two siblings with divergent attitudes toward marriage clash and bond in Kena Tangi Dorsey’s SISTAHS IN THE NAME OF LOVE (2007, 21 min.). The anticipation of her first period turns pubescent Sionne’s life into a minefield of mortification in Camille Holder-Brown’s A PERIOD PIECE (2007, 17 min.). A low-ranking assistant on a popular TV cop show sees the stereotypes all too clearly in Lenny Payan’s PRODUCTION (2008, 18 min.). Various video formats. (MR)

Director Lenny Payan of PRODUCTION will be present for audience discussion on Sunday. Dale Madison, co-director of THE PANTY MAN will be present for audience discussion on Sunday.

Sunday, August 23, 5:00 pm
Tuesday, August 25, 8:15 pm

Filmmakers in person!
Shorts Program:
Urban Visions
2008, Various directors, USA, 104 min.

Five sketches of city life: A bipolar hip-hop producer and his long-suffering manager undertake a bumpy cross-town car trip in Khary Jones’s HUG (2008, 16 min.). A pregnant teenager is driven to a desperate act in Rashaad Ernesto Green’s PREMATURE (2008, 15 min.). An L.A. cabdriver is haunted by the events that caused him to leave his native Ghana in Edward Osei-Gyimah’s KWAME (2008, 25 min.). A vengeful mugging victim re-encounters his attacker in Gershon Hinkson’s SEVEN BREATHS (2008, 18 min.). An impotency-plagued West African in Los Angeles resorts to old-fashioned juju and animal sacrifice in Joey Sylvester’s IN THE LAND OF OPPORTUNITY (2009, 32 min.). Various formats. (MR)

Monday, August 17, 8:15 pm

2007, Rod Gailes, Caran Hartsfield, Stacey Holman, Cinque Northern, James Richards, and Ed Duranté, USA, 90 min.
With Cherise Booth, Renee Monique Brown

Six members of a New York film collective known as The Leagues collaborated on this provocative anthology film, each directing an episode centered on sexual themes and inspired by a random phrase from the Song of Solomon: An estranged husband tries to rekindle the flame with his soon-to-be ex; a neglected wife has a surprising encounter with the cable guy; a black Republican finds true happiness under a stiletto heel; a woman cheats in plain sight on her blind fiancé; a mature woman negotiates with a much younger gigolo; and a couple finds pregnancy complicating their relationship. DigiBeta video. (MR)

Friday, August 21, 8:30 pm
Wednesday, August 26, 8:15 pm

2008, Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson, USA, 70 min.
2008, Jeffrey Elmont, USA, 20 min.
With Kevin Dunigan, Sinqua Walls

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the American Black Film Festival in Los Angeles, this remarkable film follows a Harlem fifth-grade basketball team to the AAU National Championships in Florida. What starts out looking like an inspirational heart-warmer takes a detour into trickier territory as the accompanying parents question the coach’s aggressive tactics, his on-court profanity offends Bible Belt opponents, one player is caught stealing, another quits, and the team suffers loss after loss. The result is not a hatchet-job but an extraordinarily candid and complex depiction of an unsettlingly real situation. Beta SP video. (MR)

Preceded by THE SECOND HALF. A high school janitor and a student with attitude face off on the basketball court in an encounter that will leave them both changed. HD-CAM video. (BS) FF

Friday, August 28, 6:15 pm
Tuesday, September 1, 6:15 pm

2007, Yehdego Abselom, USA, 98 min.
With Sammy Amare, Tsion Fikreselassie

In the Los Angeles ethnic community known as Little Ethiopia, counterman Solomon dreams of someday starting a coffee shop of his own. He can raise the money by providing a green-card marriage for attractive new immigrant Hanna, but the deal turns out to be more complicated—legally and emotionally—than he had bargained for. Based on a true story, this romantic comedy-drama is boosted by snappy editing and appealing performances. In English and Amharic with English subtitles. DigiBeta video. (MR)

Friday, August 14, 6:15 pm
Wednesday, August 19, 6:15 pm

A Date on State!
Join us on Friday, August 14, for a revival of the popular event from past Black Harvest Festivals, “A Date on State.” See the 6:15 show of 13 MONTHS OF SUNSHINE, and then use your ticket for admittance to a post-movie party in our gallery/café.