Siskel Center grants celebrate Black Harvest Film Fest

Gene Siskel Film Center introduces first-ever production grants to commission new short work in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Black Harvest Film Festival

Short film projects will premiere on Opening Night of the 25th Anniversary Black Harvest Film Festival in August 2019

(Chicago — 24 April 2018) The Gene Siskel Film Center is pleased to announce, that for the first time ever, it will be offering production grants to commission new short film projects, in celebration of the 25th Anniversary Black Harvest Film Festival in August 2019.

Proposals will be accepted from African American filmmakers who currently reside in the Midwest, which is comprised of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Film proposals are due Monday, June 18, at 5:00 pm CST.

Five projects will be selected by a panel of jurors comprised of film programmers, filmmakers, and academics. The selected projects will receive funding for production costs and filmmaker fees in the amount of $10,000 – $13,000, depending on the project.

The five filmmakers chosen will be announced on Closing Night of the 24th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival, August 30, 2018. The commissioned films will premiere in August 2019 on Opening Night of the 25th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival.

“The Black Harvest Film Festival has always encouraged and celebrated emerging filmmakers, and it’s always been a place where filmmakers can congregate to nurture and celebrate each other’s successes. The Black Harvest production grants are a way to honor and celebrate that tradition, by offering Midwest filmmakers the opportunity to develop their vision from the notebook to the big screen,” said Jean de St. Aubin, Executive Director of the Gene Siskel Film Center.

While the Joyce Foundation and the Chicago Community Trust have generously provided funding for the grants, the Film Center is still seeking further funding for the initiative.

For more information and a link to the submission form, filmmakers click here.

About the Black Harvest Film Festival
The Black Harvest Film Festival is Chicago’s largest- and longest- running Black film festival and the Gene Siskel Film Center’s most vibrant annual showcase featuring provocative films that tell stories, spark lively discussions, and address issues relating to the Black experience. Every August, Black Harvest features Chicago premieres, filmmaker appearances, panel discussions, and special events. Presented are a combined total of over 50 features, documentaries, and shorts, including a number connected to Chicago, affirming the city’s role as a vital center for independent filmmaking.

About the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Since 1972, the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago has presented cutting edge cinema to an annual audience of 85,000. The Film Center’s programming includes annual film festivals that celebrate diverse voices and international cultures, premieres of trailblazing work by today’s independent filmmakers, restorations and revivals of essential films from cinema history, and insightful provocative discussions with filmmakers and media artists. Altogether, the Film Center hosts over 1,500 screenings and 200 filmmaker appearances every year. The Film Center was renamed the Gene Siskel Film Center in 2000 after the late, nationally celebrated film critic, Gene Siskel.

About the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
For 150 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has been a leader in educating the world’s most influential artists, designers, and scholars. Located in downtown Chicago with a fine arts graduate program ranked number two by U.S. News and World Report, SAIC provides an interdisciplinary approach to art and design as well as world-class resources, including the Art Institute of Chicago museum, on-campus galleries, and state-of-the-art facilities. SAIC’s undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate students have the freedom to take risks and create the bold ideas that transform Chicago and the world—as seen through notable alumni and faculty such as Michelle Grabner, David Sedaris, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Hunt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Cynthia Rowley, Nick Cave, and LeRoy Neiman.