The 57th Chicago International Film Festival includes in its Black Perspective list a number of short films and in its Parkway Ballroom list another number of short films that will be screened FREE at the Parkway Ballroom. The dates are Saturday October 22 and Friday October 23 at 7 p.m. The address is 4455 S. King Drive.
These shorts will also be screened at other locations throughout the festival, October 13-24. Click on the links to find out how to register to attend these screenings. I was able to view these shorts and the information is listed below:
Illuminating Gazes – Black Perspectives – 98 minutes
Friday, October 22 at 7 p.m., Parkway Ballroom
This suite of short films offers nuanced approaches to storytelling, plunging into self-discovery, cultural heritages and the creation of safe spaces. With works by: Nina Lee, Juliana Kasumu, Kevin Jerome Everson and Claudrena N. Harold, Adeyemi Michael, Michael Omonua, Topaz Jones and Rubberband.
Synopsis: On her way to school one morning, Billie unexpectedly finds a new friend in Artistic (WE).
In Babybangz (UK / US), a New Orleans hair salon is becoming a place of common reflection. The owner of this hair salon is from New Orleans 13e Ward and is not just a hairdresser, but a de facto therapist. She holds inspiring sessions in her boutique and truly accompanies women who decide to âcutâ everything through what can be an emotional process.
An aspiring writer works to finalize a story for Pride (USA), a school journal published in the 1980s in Charlottesville, focusing on issues affecting black students. In the future is not what it used to be (UK), climate change has ravaged Earth as a desperate nomad seeks solace. Boundaries dissolve between church, theater, faith in Repetition (Nigeria).
Don’t go tell your mom (US) offers a look at black identity through twenty-six vignettes representing the letters of the alphabet. This short film struck me in how traditional alphabet learning cards are overturned with an eclectic new take.
Topaz Jones uses the Simple Alphabet in the latest short film to teach people about African American culture in such sensational and breathtaking vignettes. All vignettes lend themselves to teaching (or re-teaching) the alphabet to anyone in a cool and “swaggeristic” way. Some examples:
A = Amphetamines: shows the euphoria that can be manifested when one soaks himself in amphetamines.
B = Blue: shows someone wary in thought.
C = Code switching: shows what young black men go through to assimilate into the BCBG world.
G = Garden: speaks of food “apartheid” as opposed to food “deserts”.
N = Lying down: highlights the beauty of curly hair.
T = Time: can resonate with many blacks, showing the importance for young children to get home on time.
In the program : Director Nina Less (Artistic), directors Topaz Jones and Elastic (Don’t go tell your mom).
Shorts 7: Illuminating Gazes (Black Perspectives – Cinema Chicago (chicagofilmfestival.com)
Parkway Short Film Program – 80 minutes
Saturday, October 23 at 7 p.m., Parkway Ballroom
Synopsis: Three kids fear their beloved school bus driver will feel lonely this summer without them Cupids (WE). The school kids in this short are so adorable as they imagine different people they’ve known from school to become a suitable suitor for Ms. Cheryl and travel with her to Paris. They don’t know that she already has a mate.
The video game of life is played through stop-motion thumbnails in Champion Edition (WE).
A young student challenges the meaning of achievement while competing for a place at the prestigious National Spelling Bee in Win in America (WE). The young student struggles to keep up with all the words she has to memorize, but she is equally disturbed by her father who pushes her to surpass herself and win the contest. Her thoughts are that her father can barely say the words he hammers her on learning; thinking that a victory is all for his own good. Nice view of the Hyde Park district of Chicago.
Joan Jett Blakk’s historic 1992 White House candidacy is discussed in The president of beauty (WE). In Rift (USA), a fiery young girl confronts her traumatic past by falling in love for the first time. After losing his great love and undergoing a lobotomy, Harold’s mind turns as he intensely seeks peace in The Vandal (WE). Older generations are forced to question their worth, while facing unmet emotional needs in Grain of dust (WE). A black family whose land is submerged by the ghosts of the past must face the apparitions in Heritage (WE).
With works by Zoey Martinson, Christopher Chan, Amrita Singh, Whitney Skauge, Lin Que Ayoung, Eddie Alcazar, Simo Ezoubeiri and Annalize Lockhart.
Parkway – Cinema Chicago Short Film Program (chicagofilmfestival.com).
Click on Chicago International Film Festival (chicagofilmfestival.com) for more information on the full festival lineup.
Elaine Hegwood Bowen, MSJ, is the entertainment editor for the Chicago Crusader. She is a recipient of the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s Entertainment Writing Award, contributor to “Rust Belt Chicago” and author of “Old School Adventures from Englewood: South Side of Chicago.” For more information, search for the title online or Old School Adventures from Englewood â South Side of Chicago (lulu.com) or E-mail: [emailÂ protected].