The Black Cinema House, which has been in operation since October, is a genuine jewel on the South Side of Chicago.
With director Michael W. Phillips Jr. and programmer in residence, Amir George, The Black Cinema House, which is a beautifully spacious, open and friendly environment with up to date screening and sound faciliites, was created, in their words, for “screenings and discussions of underseen works by film and video makers of the African and other diasporas in the historically underserved neighborhood of Grand Crossing (neighborhood in Chicago) in particular and the South Side of Chicago in general.”
Aside from regular screenings, the House also conducts video classes and workshops to provide area youth with the skills to make their own films and tell their own stories.
The Black Cinema House is one of the latest results of the Rebuild Foundation (HERE) which was created by internationally acclaimed artist and urban planner Theaster Gates (Check out his website (HERE) which is a not-for-profit, creative organization, focusing on cultural and economic redevelopment and affordable space initiatives in under-resourced communities. The foundation currently manages projects in Chicago as well as in Detroit, Omaha, and Saint Louis, and in each city it enlists a team of artists, architects, developers, educators, and community activists, who “work together to integrate the arts and alternative entrepreneurship into a community-driven process of place making and neighborhood transformation.”
The House also works with various film collectives on both the East and West coasts, to bring new independent and experimental films to audiences outside their respective regions.
One of those collaborations will be on January 26th, when the House will screen films from Cinema Stereo, a New York City film collective that focuses on “restoring the humanity and diversity of Black narrative storytelling.”. Among the films that will be screened that day are Donald Conley’s Sleep, Nikyatu Jusu’s Say Grace Before Drowning, Terence Nance’s and Blitz the Ambassador’s Native Sun and the world premiere of Michael Brown’s The Feeling You Get.
You can find out more about the Cinema Stereo screening HERE.
Among the films that were screened this month at the House include Richard Pryor’s now rarely seen and quite original autobiographical film Jo Jo Dancer – Your Life is Calling and Daniel Nearing’s impressionist drama Chicago Heights.
The Black Cinema House is poised to become a major film and arts mecca in Chicago, and one hopes that its example will be followed in dozens of cities of neighborhoods across the country.
To find out more about The Black Cinema House, its upcomiing screenings and its mission go right HERE.