Chicago’s first Hip Hop Film Festival, Sept. 11-12

“If you’re only going to see one film this year, make it ?Bronx Paradise,’ by Wayne Gurman,” enthuses Geoff Harkness, of the first annual International Hip Hop Film Festival Sept. 11-12 at the Portage theatre, where the film will be shown.

It will be one of two features, among 25 competitive hip hop shorts, docs and music videos from Chicago and around the world.

Harkness calls “Bronx Paradise” “a cult masterpiece,” and while it doesn’t fit into the exact parameters of a hip hop film, “it has brilliant writing and acting and a lot of hip hop themes,” he says.

“?Bronx Paradise’ has been in 40 or 50 festivals and received more over a dozen awards ? and counting. I was blown away when I saw it. I called Gurman and said, ?you have to be in this festival.’ I feel this is quite coup for us.”

Harkness is too modest. The entire festival is a major coup. Although hip hop generates over $10 billion a year, and has progressed from music to a culture, the Chicago festival is one of only three in the U.S. and the only one beyond the East Coast.