Strong local showing in Black Harvest Fest is evidence of growing ?movement in the making’

The strong local showing in this year’s Black Harvest Film Festival points to the growth of African American independent film production in Chicago that fest programmer Barbara Scharres calls “a movement in the making.”

“I’m proud to be considered one of the many who are laying a foundation for production in Chicago,” said “Hot Chili” producer Micheal Wright. “But I am critical that our representatives have manifest the concept of local production around a ?serve Hollywood’ paradigm.”

ReelChicago talked to Wright and other local filmmakers with features in Black Harvest, about their career trajectories and their experiences making independent film in Chicago.

WRITER-DIRECTOR DERI TYTON based his star-crossed love story debut “Toot’s and Blow’s” on his own life in the South Side Chatham/Avalon Park neighborhoods.

“As a poet who once dated a big-time female drug dealer, the story made sense for me to write,” Tyton said. “I felt compelled to tell the story of redemption and of a strong, unyielding love.” Jaye Mitchell and Jayson Smith play the fictionalized dealer and poet.

“The black Chicagoan story has always been overlooked,” Tyton said. “More and more black Chicago filmmakers are emerging because it is the ?tired of being left behind’ attitude.

“If given the opportunity to obtain some of the wealth of the film industry, then black movies will reflect how we live, our motivations, our trials and our rich past.”

Tyton self-financed most of the film’s micro-budget. “I would stand on corners outside during the days of the shoot selling copies of my poetry books to make up for the day’s meals and other expenses incurred of the course of the day,” he said.

For his next film, Tyton is developing the coming of age drama “19: The Movie.”