“Last Soul on a Summer Night” in Chicago Heights

The Black Cinema House is proud to present a screening of Daniel Nearing’s film Last Soul on a Summer Night (original title Chicago Heights) at the Chicago Heights Public Library. Since the film is set in Chicago Heights, it’s only appropriate that it finally comes home. Nearing and some of his collaborators will be present… Learn More

Cinema Stereo: A Recent Retrospective

Cinema Stereo is a New York collective formed to progress the art of filmmaking and foster the production of innovative cinema that focuses on restoring the humanity and diversity of Black narrative storytelling. Chicago audiences have had small tastes of their work—Say Grace Before Drowning (screening as part of this program) and An Oversimplification of… Learn More

Martin Luther King: An Amazing Grace

We are proud to present a screening of the only first black-produced documentary on the iconic civil rights leader. This 1978 film provides a historical overview of Dr. King’s life, with excerpts from his most famous speeches. It also features interviews on Dr. King’s legacy with such notable figures as Stokely Carmichael and Rev. Jesse… Learn More

The Black Cinema Is… Sergio Mims introduces “Broken Strings”

The story is as familiar as Hollywood: a classical musician whose career has been thwarted by injury channels his frustrated desires into his son’s career, but his son would rather play swing music. But the cast is all black, and the film was made for the Jim Crow-era network of independent theaters for black patrons… Learn More

Imagination Music: Willie Wright and Willie Dixon

Nightsong (1964) and The Facts of Life (1982) Chicago Film Archives and the Black Cinema House present two films about two Chicago artists from decades past. Although doo-wop and folk singer Willie Wright has all but disappeared into the vaults of Chicago’s recording artist history, Willie Dixon is a musical icon who occupies his own… Learn More

The Black Cinema Is… “Chameleon Street”

In the fifth installment of our series “The Black Cinema Is…” film scholar Michael B. Gillespie of Ohio University will be introducing and then leading a discussion on Wendell B. Harris Jr.’s 1989 film Chameleon Street. Chameleon Street won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1990 Sundance Film Festival at a time when American independent… Learn More

Youth-Made Documentaries

We are proud to partner with two organizations dedicated to giving youth a voice through media production. These short-form videos and documentaries were made by west side youth enrolled in classes offered by the Better Boys Foundation and Free Spirit Media. The student projects focus on social issues and people of the Lawndale and Austin… Learn More

Fables of the Future: Animations by Adebukola Bodunrin

Chicago-based film, video, and installation artist Adebukola Bodunrin explores language, culture, and media in her collage animations, manipulating images using unorthodox manual and digital techniques in order to produce unexpected cinematic experiences. We’re proud to welcome her to the Black Cinema House for Fables of the Future, a selection of four films that find her… Learn More

L.A. Rebellion Filmmaker Discussion

Spring is bringing Chicago a special treat: the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago have teamed up to bring to town UCLA’s fantastic “L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema” retrospective. The screenings start next week and will continue into the summer; we’ll have more details as… Learn More

African Art Dispersed

In response to interest from Chicago’s own Diasporal Rhythms, the Chicago Film Archives and the Black Cinema House present two films that explore past roots and pathways of black art. Diasporal Rhythms promotes and collects the works of contemporary visual artists of African descent. The folks at Diasporal Rhythms chose these two films from CFA’s… Learn More

Lee Bey Introduces “Design Wars”

When the city of Chicago decided to build the largest public library in the United States, five teams of top architects and developers competed for the job. The instructions were to make it distinguished, make it work, make it on time, and make it for $140 million. The NOVA program Design Wars (1989, 50 min.,… Learn More

The Black Cinema Is… “De Cierta Manera”

De Cierta Manera (One Way or Another), Sara Gómez’s only feature film, was the first Cuban film made by a woman, and one of the few made by an Afro-Cuban director. Nominally the story of lovers from different class and cultural backgrounds, it’s much more than such a simple logline could encompass. According to Light… Learn More

The Black Cinema Is… “Toxi”

By the early 1950s, the first wave of children of African-American occupation soldiers and white German women were ready to go to school in a nation that only recently had been dedicated to racialized genocide. As West Germany struggled to redefine itself as a modern nation, these five hundred children were the subject of fierce… Learn More

Black Radical Imagination

Black Radical Imagination stemmed from a series of discussions around the boundaries and limitations that are historically given to people of color. Specifically, in the film industry these restrictions are often digested and kept to propel a vicious cycle of negative identification. Black Radical Imagination invokes a futurist aesthetic where artists identify themselves and reclaim… Learn More

Movies Under the Stars: Blues Films

Movies Under the Stars—Chicago Film Archives and Black Cinema House join forces to bring outdoor film screenings to Chicago’s Grand Crossing neighborhood. Join us on select Fridays this summer for extraordinary and rarely seen films. Our Performance Series includes Duke Ellington’s 1964 tour of Japan, gospel and folktales from the Delta, and the 1976 Oscar-winning… Learn More

Billy Woodberry Screening and Discussion

Filmmaker Billy Woodberry will stop by the Black Cinema House while he’s in town for the amazing “L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema” retrospective. At 7pm on Saturday, head over to the Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago for a screening of his unmissable film Bless Their Little Hearts. But… Learn More

“Portrait of Jason,” at the Music Box

We are proud to co-sponsor this once-in-a-lifetime screening of Shirley Clarke’s film Portrait of Jason at the Music Box, 3733 North Southport Avenue, on Wednesday, May 29 at 7pm. Note: It was originally scheduled to show at the Portage, but the venue has changed. It’s presented by our friends at the Northwest Chicago Film Society… Learn More

The Black Cinema Is… “The Monkey Hustle”

Older Chicago residents may remember the long-threatened “Crosstown Expressway” that the first Mayor Daley wanted to build. It was to connect the southernmost point of the Dan Ryan with the Kennedy in an L-shaped loop that would run west along 75th and then north along Cicero. It would have meant the destruction of 30,000 residences,… Learn More

Return of Blacklight: “Ashes and Embers”

Haile Gerima (Bush Mama) returned to the big screen with this dreamlike exploration of a black Vietnam veteran’s attempts to re-enter everyday life. John Anderson plays Ned Charles, who wanders ghostly streets looking for direction but finds police brutality and disillusionment. Ashes and Embers played at the very first Blacklight Film Festival in 1982. Festival… Learn More

Movies Under the Stars: Folktales and Folk Music

Movies Under the Stars: Chicago Film Archives and Black Cinema House join forces to bring outdoor film screenings to Chicago’s Grand Crossing neighborhood. Join us on select Fridays this summer for extraordinary and rarely seen films. Our Performance Series includes Duke Ellington’s 1964 tour of Japan, gospel and folktales from the Delta, and the 1976… Learn More

Radical Speculation: Design as Film

Bringing an eclectic selection of documentaries, features, and vignettes to Black Cinema House, the series Image, Building, Object: Exploring Architecture and Design on Film demystifies the process of how our objects, furniture, and buildings come into existence and simultaneously reveals how designers and architects have used film as a medium for expression and experimentation. The… Learn More

“All Night Long” Screening in Honor of Floyd Webb

Join us in a celebration of Floyd Webb’s 60 years on earth and 30 years as a programmer and producer of essential black cinema. Webb started the pioneering Blacklight Film Festival in 1982 and began working with independent filmmakers from around the world, including St. Clair Bourne, Julie Dash, Melenik Shabazz, and Djibril Diop Mambety…. Learn More

Experimental Sound Series: “Body and Soul” with live accompaniment

Experimental Sound Studio (ESS) was founded in 1986 as a networking organization and production facility for and by artists and composers interested in exploratory approaches to sound. Every film needs a soundtrack of some sort, we are partnering with ESS to present a series featuring lives scores of rarely seen silent films. Various musicians curated… Learn More

Movies Under the Stars: Spencer Williams’ Juke Joint

Movies Under the Stars: Chicago Film Archives and Black Cinema House join forces to bring outdoor film screenings to Chicago’s Grand Crossing neighborhood. Join us on select Fridays this summer for extraordinary and rarely seen films. Our Performance Series includes Duke Ellington’s 1964 tour of Japan, gospel and folktales from the Delta, and the 1976… Learn More

Somewhere to Haunt: Patrick Keiller’s British Psychogeographic Cinema

British filmmaker Patrick Keiller, who writes, directs and shoots all of his films, uses the technique of subjective camera and voiceover, to create a reflective narrative, driven by narration of the exploits of an unseen character, Robinson, by his companion. Layering moving and static images, music, and quotation, Keiller’s films describe his character’s search for… Learn More

Welcome to Pine Hill

WELCOME TO PINE HILL (2012, 81 min., Blu-Ray projection) is an extension of director Keith Miller’s earlier short film PRINCE/WILLIAM about an unexpected encounter surrounding a lost dog. Blurring the line between documentary and fiction, PINE HILL follows that short’s protagonist Shannon, a reformed drug dealer who is now an insurance claims adjuster, in the… Learn More

Rainbow Black: Poet Sarah W. Fabio

In conjunction with the “AfriCOBRA in Chicago: Philosophy” exhibit at the Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago, South Side Projections has been presenting free screenings that provide a wider context to the Black Arts Movement of which AfriCOBRA was a part. These screenings take place at the Logan Center for the… Learn More

Herman’s House

First-time director Angad Singh Bhalla explores the injustice of solitary confinement and the transformative power of art with the story of Herman Wallace, one of more than 80,000 people kept in solitary confinement throughout the American prison system. Sentenced to Louisiana’s “Angola” Penitentiary in 1967 for bank robbery, Herman joined the Black Panther movement while… Learn More

Movies Under the Stars: Shorts in anticipation of Chicago’s Jazz Festival

Movies Under the Stars: Chicago Film Archives and Black Cinema House join forces to bring outdoor film screenings to Chicago’s Grand Crossing neighborhood. Join us on select Fridays this summer for extraordinary and rarely seen films. Our Performance Series includes Duke Ellington’s 1964 tour of Japan, gospel and folktales from the Delta, and the 1976… Learn More

Kukurantumi

In this revealing African comedy-drama that contrasts the hectic life in Accra, the capital of Ghana, with the relative peace of Kukurantumi, a rural town, a truck driver makes runs between the two locations with few problems until he is forced to replace his truck. In order to raise the money to get a new… Learn More

Soul Boy

14-year-old Abila lives with his parents in Kibera, an area near Nairobi and one of the biggest slums in East Africa. One entirely ordinary morning, the boy finds his father sick and apparently deranged. Huddled in a corner, the father mumbles that his soul has been stolen. Abila, confused and shocked, tries to help him… Learn More

The Scar of Shame (with live accompaniment)

Featuring a screening-specific live score by: Peter Speer [Modular Synthesizer & Electronics] & Alejandro Acierto [Contrabass Clarinet] One of four films produced by the Colored Players Film Corporation for the “race movie” audience, The Scar of Shame is a rare attempt to deal with the sensitive issue of skin color and social class within the… Learn More

Drylongso

A snapshot of a young woman who feels deeply the value and vulnerability of everyone’s life but her own. Pica, our hero, is a girl with a mission. Armed with a Polaroid camera, and charming savvy, she is determined to document the existence of young black men. She, like many, is convinced that they are… Learn More

Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio

Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio is a documentary film on the late architect Samuel Mockbee and the radical educational design/build program known as the Rural Studio. Hale County, Alabama is home to some of the most impoverished communities in the United States of America. It is also home to… Learn More

Spotlight Africa: Meet the Filmmakers

Don’t miss this opportunity to meet filmmakers visiting the Chicago International Film Festival as part of their Spotlight Africa program!Join us as we welcome filmmakers ALEX PITSTRA, JOAO VIANA and MOSCO KAMWENDO for a panel discussion and reception at Black Cinema House. All three directors are featured in the Spotlight: Africa program of the Chicago… Learn More

Top of the Heap

The story of a black policeman whose tenuous grip on reality is threatened by the pressures of institutional racism, Top of the Heap challenges one-dimensional characterizations of black characters and flouts mainstream storytelling tropes: some characters sing their dialogue, and the main character’s barely repressed rage manifests as psychedelic, sometimes hyper-sexualized fantasy sequences in which… Learn More

Remembering Maarten Van Severen

An event devoted to the life and work of Maarten Van Severen, the late, great Belgian furniture designer. His life cut short by cancer at the age of 48, Van severen left behind an extraordinary collection of furniture and several important architectural projects. Van Severen devoted himself to the rigorous exploration of basic furniture typologies… Learn More

Siren of the Tropics (with live musical accompaniment)

Presented with live musical accompaniment by musicians Aymeric Avice (trumpet) & Benjamin Sanz (drums). Available only as a fragment for decades, Siren of the Tropics is Josephine Baker’s feature film debut. Made in 1927, around the time Josephine was making a Paris splash as a Folies Bergère star, Siren establishes the rags to riches, fairy… Learn More

Gordon Parks: Start of Motion

Black Cinema House, Chicago Film Archives, South Side Community Art Center, and The Gordon Parks Foundation present three early films by the legendary African American photographer, Gordon Parks. A humanitarian with a deep commitment to social justice, Parks left behind a body of work that documents the highs and lows of American culture from the… Learn More

Third Ward TX

Project Row Houses is a successful public art program founded by local artists in inner-city Houston. Starting from boarding up abandoned houses and creating a “drive-by” exhibit to providing free refurbished houses for single mothers in college and an after-school programs for local kids, they helped to revive their section of Third Ward, a historically… Learn More

Seven Songs for Malcolm X & The Last Angel of History

Seven Songs for Malcolm XJohn Akomfrah, 1993, 52 min. An homage to the inspirational African-American civil rights leader, Seven Songs for Malcolm X collects testimonies, eyewitness accounts and dramatic reenactments to tell the life, legacy, loves, and losses of Malcolm X. Featuring interviews with Malcolm’s widow Betty Shabazz, Spike Lee, and many other, SEVEN SONGS… Learn More