Gene Siskel Center presents Black Harvest Film Festival prize

Black Harvest Film Festival
Dionne Warwick, will be present (via ZOOM) for awards presentation

The Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago announces the 2021 winners of the Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Black Harvest Film Festival Prize.

Cash prize awarded to both the best feature film and best short film at the 27th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival, as selected by a jury.

The prize for best feature film will be awarded to Dave Wooley, writer, producer, and co-director (with David Heilbronner) of DIONNE WARWICK: DON’T MAKE ME OVER, an inspiring and vibrant documentary portrait of Warwick’s luminous six-decade (and counting) career and activism in the Black and LGBTQIA+ communities. 

The award will be presented in person to Dave Wooley on Friday, November 5 at the 27th Black Harvest Film Festival’s Opening Night screening of his film, DIONNE WARWICK: DON’T MAKE ME OVER. The film subject and musical icon herself, Dionne Warwick, will also be present (via ZOOM) for the awards presentation and post-film Q&A!

The Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Black Harvest Film Festival Prize for best short film of the festival will be awarded to Caralene Robinson, director of REOPENING, the story of a young woman who ventures out for the first time after suffering months of depression during a lonely confinement as a recent transfer to a new city right before a pandemic.

The short film award will be presented either virtually or in person to Caralene Robinson on Sunday November 21, before the 3:30pm presentation of the shorts program, INNOVATION IN MOTION, in which her short film, REOPENING, is featured.

2021 marks the fourth year that the Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Black Harvest Film Festival Prize has been awarded to a short film director and the first year the prize has been expanded to also honor a feature film director. The prize awards $2500 to the best feature film and $1000 to the best short film screened during the Gene Siskel Film Center’s annual Black Harvest Film Festival. 

This year’s Sandor Prize winners were chosen by a prestigious jury of filmmakers, producers and cultural leaders. Through honoring excellence in filmmaking, the wish of the Sandor Family is to honor the best filmmakers of color with the intention that the award would encourage them to continue their work as storytellers and media artists.

“Serving as a judge for the Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Black Harvest Film Festival Prize for the director of the best feature was pure cinematic joy. I found it difficult to select a winner from the six distinctly different but outstanding nominated films. Congratulations to the winner!” said feature film jury member Pemon Rami, International film producer/director. 

“We are happy to have seen so many truly good films, which also made the selection extremely tough. In the end, we could pick only one. DON’T MAKE ME OVER ticked all the boxes,” said feature film jury member Cleo Wilson, Retired Executive Director of Intuit Art Center. 


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