19th Black Harvest Film Festival Aug. 2-29 at Siskel

Ernie Hudson stars in Chicago-made film at Black Harvest fest

Veteran actor Ernie Hudson (Transformers Prime, Law & Order), who has appeared in a mind-numbing more 80 films and 110 TV series, will be a special guest at the Chicago premiere of a Chicago-made feature during the 19th annual Black Harvest Film Festival, Aug. 2-29 at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

The festival, which will showcase 40 features, shorts and docs, opens with A Black Harvest Feast, a short film showcase, with directors present and a special award presentation, and closes with the sold out documentary, “Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley,” marking Goldberg’s directorial debut.

Some of this year’s highlights:

Aug. 2: A Black Harvest Feast of short films and The Deloris Jordan Award for Excellence in Community Leadership presented by Mrs. Jordan to artist activist Theaster Gates, emceed by LeeAnn Trotter of NBC/5 and directors in person.  Reception follows the awards presentation and shorts program.

Aug. 9: Actor Ernie Hudson, star of Man in the Silo, produced by Chicagoan Steven Ordower and co-writer Christopher Ellis, filmed in the Chicago area, appears in person for Q&A, with director Phil Donlon, Ordower, and Ellis. 8:15 p.m.

Aug. 4: In Our Heads about Our Hair (August 4, looks at Black hair and its own history, politics, practical issues, and loads of emotional baggage. 5:15 p.m.

A Salon Pop-Up prior to the screening is planned, salons TBA, from 3:30-5 p.m. pm. Panel follows, panelists Rachel O., LaKeisha Gray-Sewell, and Dr. William Yates, moderated by journalist Britt Julious of WBEZ 91.5,

Aug. 10: The doc In Search of the Black Knight looks at the fact that many African American professional women lament the shortage of eligible Black men.  Q&A emcee is comedian “Prince of Bronzeville” Brian Babylon, Vocalo.org/WBEZ 91.5, with director Tamarat Makonnen. Post-screening Speed Date on State hosted by Sonny; created by The Elizabeth Nichole Experience. 8:15 p.m.

Aug. 16: Home Again puts a human face on immigration issues with three interlinked stories, 8:30 p.m.  Reception precedes 7:30 screening in the gallery/café hosted by Real Men Cook.

Aug. 24 Four of Hearts is a comedy-drama in which young marrieds April and Derrick discover the spark has been missing in their bedroom for quite some time until new people come into the mix. Emcee is media personality Art “Chat Daddy” Sims, leading the post-show Q&A with director Eric Haywood. 8:30 p.m.

Aug. 24, Panel Discussion! Action! The Real Deal about Filmmaking: Money, Casting, Production and Distribution, headed by Black Harvest festival consultant Sergio Mims and filmmakers. 6:15 p.m.

The Black Harvest Film Festival is supported by the Illinois Arts Council and Orbitz and also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.