Gene Siskel Film Center presents the 27TH ANNUAL BLACK HARVEST FILM FESTIVAL: NOV. 5- DEC. 2!

October 1, 2021

Lori Hile


Black Harvest passes go on sale Friday, October 1st at 9am!
Opening Night celebration Friday, Nov. 5 

Chicago—The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Gene Siskel Film Center will present its 27th annual Black Harvest Film Festival from Friday, November 5 through Thursday, December 2. This year’s festival will take place both virtually and in person at the Gene Siskel Film Center and feature the Chicago premieres of short and feature-length films, along with filmmaker discussions and panels. 
Black Harvest Film Festival passes will be available for purchase starting Friday, October 1 at 9:00am, with individual tickets on sale in late October, after the full festival line-up is announced. Black Harvest Film Festival passes cost $60 and can be redeemed for six (6) regular in-person or virtual film presentations (excluding Opening and Closing Nights). Film Center members will pay only $30 for the 6-film Black Harvest festival pass. 


The festival will kick off with the acclaimed documentary, DIONNE WARWICK: DON’T MAKE ME OVER , with co-director Dave Wooley in attendance. The film provides an inspiring and vibrant portrait of Warwick’s luminous six-decade (and counting) career and activism in the Black and LGBTQIA+ communities. 

“Black Harvest has always been a party, but when you kick off the Festival’s month-long showcase of Black stories and storytellers with Dionne Warwick? Well, you’ve got yourself a celebration for the ages,” says Gene Siskel Film Center Director of Programming Rebecca Fons

The film took home the runner-up Audience Award prize at the Toronto International Film Festival, and will travel to Doc NYC after premiering in Chicago. Tickets for Opening Night will be on sale Friday, October 8.

Still from Gordon Parks’ LEADBELLY, which will presented in 35mm, as part of the Gordon Parks retrospective

Additional Festival highlights include a retrospective of the work of Gordon Parks with presentations of his films, THE LEARNING TREELEADBELLY (presented on 35mm); MOMENTS WITHOUT PROPER NAMESSHAFT (presented on 35mm and marking the film’s 50th anniversary); and concluding with the new HBO documentary, A CHOICE OF WEAPONS: INSPIRED BY GORDON PARKS.

The Film Center will also screen the 4K restoration of Wendell B. Harris Jr.’s 1990 Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner CHAMELEON STREET; the Chicago theatrical premiere of Traci Curry and Stanley Nelson’s gripping documentary ATTICA; Arie Esiri and Chuko Esiri’s critically acclaimed EYIMOFE (THIS IS MY DESIRE); and Alice Diop’s observational travelogue WE. Black Harvest alum Kelley Kali will return to Chicago to premiere her SXSW hit, I’M FINE (THANKS FOR ASKING), with co-director Angelique Molina.

On Wednesday, November 17, the Festival’s halfway point will be celebrated with a special presentation of Reinaldo Marcus Green’s highly anticipated KING RICHARD. Experience the film’s star, Will Smith, as an undeterred father determined to write his daughters, Venus and Serena Williams, into history.


Black Harvest will also proudly showcase several homegrown stories, including a collection of locally-made shorts and IT’S DIFFERENT IN CHICAGO , David Weathersby’s chronicle of house and hip hop music. The festival will also present two screenings of the groundbreaking SWEET SWEETBACK’S BAADASSSSS SONG, directed by the late great Melvin Van Peebles, as part of the Film Center’s Fringe Benefits series.  

The festival will conclude on Thursday, December 2 with a special 30th anniversary screening of Spike Lee’s JUNGLE FEVER on 35mm. 

New features for the 2021 Black Harvest Film Festival: 

Virtual Festival

All Shorts programs will be available for streaming for the entire duration of the festivalSelect features will be available virtually beginning the day after they conclude their theatrical screeningsVirtual films will be available to stream throughout the entire U.S. Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Black Harvest Film Festival Prize
For the fourth year, the Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Black Harvest Film Festival Prize will be presented to the best short film. And for the first time, the prize will also be presented to the best feature film. Both films will be selected by a distinguished jury.

The full Black Harvest program and schedule will be announced October 22when individual tickets will also be available for purchase. More information and updates about this year’s Black Harvest Film Festival can be found here:

About the Black Harvest Film Festival
Each year since 1994, the Gene Siskel Film Center has presented the annual Black Harvest Film Festival, the midwest’s largest- and longest-running Black film festival. Celebrated as one of the largest Black festivals in the world, and the only month-long Black film festival in the Midwest, the Black Harvest Film Festival is a celebration of independent films that tell the stories and explore the images, heritage, and history of the full-range of Black experience. The Black Harvest Film Festival features Chicago premieres of features, documentaries, and shorts; filmmaker appearances; panel discussions; and special events. The Black Harvest Film Festival supports the Gene Siskel Film Center’s ongoing mission to present inclusive and insightful programming.

Gene Siskel Film Center
Since 1972, the Gene Siskel Film Center, a public program of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, has presented critically acclaimed cinema to an annual audience of 85,000. 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 1,500 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 to learn more and find out what’s playing today.

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 ranked number two 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, and LeRoy Neiman. Learn more at