Timely doc “Raising Bertie” screens at Siskel Center

THE FIRST THEATRICAL RUN of Kartemquin’s and Beli Film’s award-winning feature doc, “Raising Bertie” produced and directed by Margaret Byrne, screens Nov. 18-19, at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Set in North Carolina’s rural Bertie County, the doc is a six-year portrait of three African American boys growing into adulthood as they grapple with unemployment, violence, first love, fatherhood and the complex relationships between generational poverty, economic isolation and educational inequity.

“Raising Bertie” was produced by Ian Robertson Kibbe, co-produced by DP Jon Stuyvesant; edited by Leslie Simmer; EPs were J. Cole, Gordon Quinn and Justine Nagan.

Byrne will be joined for a post-screening discussion by Kibbe, Simmer, Quinn and Kartemquin’s executive director Betsy Steinberg, who will celebrate her one year anniversary with Kartemquin in December. For showtimes and tickets, click here.

UNCLE KENT 2,” a follow-up to Joe Swanberg’s 2011 “Uncle Kent,” will be presented by Susie Linker’s Elevated Films and CUFF Nov. 17 at Skybox on Sheffield, a luxury rooftop overlooking Wrigley Field.

Written by New York-based Kent Osborne “SpongeBob Square Pants”) and directed by Todd Rohal (“ABCs of Death 2”), the story is about Osborne, who travels to a San Diego comic book convention where he loses his mind and confronts the end of the world. (Producers advise viewer discretion.)

A Skype Q&A with Osbourne follows. At 3627 N. Sheffield; doors open at 7 p.m.

THE FIRST TWO EPISODES of “Callie’s Solo,” produced by singer / songwriter / vocal coach Wendy Parman of Tattered Bird Productions and directed by veteran theater actor Eileen Vorbach, have been released on YouTube.

The semi-autobiographical series follows a voice teacher navigating the challenges of ending a long-term relationship and preparing for an empty nest when her son leaves home.

Parman stars as Callie and her son is played by Andy Monson, co-founder and associate artistic director at the Spartan Theatre. Co-starring Black Ensemble Theater actress Kylah Frye and a Parman student Lauren Merrick Gaspar.

DEPARTURES,” A SHORT FILM written and directed by Vincent Labriola of Stratovolcano, will screen free Nov. 20 at the Music Box Theatre at 7 p.m. as an extended introduction to his “Door County,” feature in development.

The story is about a young woman’s search for her father’s murderer with the help of a mysterious man from the past. It stars Emily Peterson and John Gawlik. The screening is also the start of Labriola’s Kickstarter campaign to raise $20,000 towards “Door County’s” development.

VARIOUS ARTISTS INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL (VAiFF), a new online film festival created by VariousArtistsTV for worldwide filmmakers, is now accepting submissions for its digital filmmaking competition.

VAiFF is a year-round competition, with filmmakers securing nominations quarterly throughout the year. These nominees will then compete in the annual Chicago festival, Oct. 7-8, at the Showplace Icon Theatre in the South Loop.

Send news of your indie activities to marlaseidel@gmail.com.