New filmmakers, returning veterans among major hometown contingent at Black Harvest, till 8/30

New Chicago filmmakers and returning hometown veterans mark a strong contingent of locally connected productions at The Black Harvest International Festival at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

“New directors working on their own, a lot of them in the South Suburbs, seemingly come out of nowhere with completely finished feature films,” said Film Center programmer Barbara Scharres.

“It’s an amazing new group of discoveries. We’re always welcoming back the local directors, some for the second, third or fourth time but we’re also showing work by new people, which is one of the most important aspects of the festival.”

“Issues of self-discovery within the family are played out in a lot of the Black Harvest films this year, particularly the local ones,” Scharres said.

Here are some of the local entries:

Faith Pennick’s documentary “Silent Choices” explores the stigma over discussions of abortion in the black community, and the disastrous impact of that culturally imposed silence.

Pennick “feels there will be a lot of discussion at the screening, because this is an issue that is rarely brought into the open in the black community,” Scharres said.

Pennick, who also produced last year’s Black Harvest entry “Harlem Sistahs Double Dutch,” will attend. Aug. 26 at 5 p.m. and Aug. 28 at 8 p.m.