Reel Black Filmmakers hold monthly film series

Larissa Akinremi ‘Bean Soup Dreams, A Bean Soup Tale’

 In closing out their monthly South Side Short Film Series, the Reel Black Filmmakers—a program of the Community Film Workshop of Chicago—will dedicate the finale to films featuring stories about well-known as well as little-known leaders in the areas of the arts, religion and medicine on Thursday, April 22nd at 7pm. 

The featured filmmakers are cohorts from the 2019 and 2020 Digital Storytelling Initiative’s Production Institute (DSI), which is a partnership with the Community Film Workshop of Chicago and the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation of the University of Chicago

“I’m pleased with the diversity of stories that these highlighted filmmakers chose to tell. Their stories typically go untold, and their voices go unheard. I’m also pleased that our South Side Short Film Series, which began in December 2020, has showcased 20 unique stories about the South Side of Chicago from 20 individual filmmakers,” expressed Derek Grace, DSI lead instructor and member of Reel Black Filmmakers. 

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Reel Black Filmmakers

All films were produced through the Digital Storytelling Initiative’s Production Institute: 

Cortney Hill 

Language tells the story about Dr. Arnell Brady, an expert speech pathologist on the South Side of Chicago, who has been helping children cure speech difficulties for almost 40 years. Language explores their journey to communicating better through speech therapy and understanding the ability to communicate is a human right. 

Larissa Akinremi 

Bean Soup Dreams, A Bean Soup Tale is about a young woman from the Windy City, who recalls her eight-year-old childhood summers in Baltimore, Maryland learning the secrets to repairing and strengthening the soul through the ritual of learning how to make Bean Soup: the beloved soup eaten by the “Believers,” members of the Nation of Islam. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad once said that we must eat food that God has prescribed for us; food that is grown from the earth. He said that a diet of navy beans would give us a life span of one hundred and forty (140) years. 

Vincent E. Walker 

Reflections of Rev. Calvin Morris features the account from the minister that was in the pulpit at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta the day that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s mother, Alberta Williams King, affectionately known as “Mama King,” was fatally shot while playing the organ in 1974. Rev. Morris shares his life’s commitment to the Civil Rights Movement before and after that tragic event, and how much he needed the music of Mahalia Jackson, the gospel sensation, to recuperate from that horrible experience. 

Diana Darby 

Baba Sura tells the story of Sura Dupart, nearly 80 years old and who has been creating music and art as a means to get closer to God and heal himself and others for almost 60 years. In this film, Darby explores what drives Sura to keep reaching and growing, what effect his work has had on those around him, and how such an extraordinary artist has remained largely undiscovered for so long. 

Following the screening, Natalie Battles, a member of the DSI 2020 Production Institute cohort, will moderate a Q&A with the filmmakers. 

“Ms. Natalie Battles is a sister who understands the value of excellent Black Art, in all of its forms and genres, as critical to the development of Black youth and Black adults into a conscious and capable community committed to its liberation and a higher level of human life for all in it,” shares filmmaker Kamau Tyehimba, co-founder of Reel Black Filmmakers. 

Grace adds, “During our 2020 Production Institute, Natalie Battles was a dedicated and committed cohort. She brought positive energy to every session and always went above and beyond established requirements. We expect Natalie to continue to grow as a filmmaker and create more projects that educate, uplift and inspire.” 

The South Side Short Film Series is FREE. Registration is required. To register,

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