The city is lit this week as the 53rd Chicago International Film Festival –one of the longest running film festivals in the country (60th San Francisco Film Festival and 54th The New York Film Festival) and the 6th Annual Social Change Film Festival takes flight.
Kicking off on Oct. 12, the Chicago International Film Festival will run throughout most of the month at AMC River East 21 and ending on Oct.26. This year’s festival will feature 150 indie and major films offering a variety of highlights. There is so much to choose from the featured categories including International entries, World Cinema, After Dark, Out-Look, Black Perspectives, Shorts and plenty more.
On Thursday night’s opening night, the festival will host the critically acclaimed film, “Marshall” starring Chadwick Boseman. Director Reginald Hudlin, producer Paula Wagner and co-star, Josh Gad will be in attendance with Boseman. The film is based on the life of young Civil Rights attorney, Thurgood Marshall and his defense of a Black chauffer wrongfully accused of raping a white woman during 1930’s. The movie hit theaters nationwide on Friday, October 13.
The archives of The Chicago Defender are featured in at least three films during the festival’s Black Perspectives programming. The importance of how Black media plays a vital role in social activism reflects the narrative in The Rape of Recy Taylor, Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart and ’63 Boycott—they are also entered in the Documentary category. Other films reflecting the African American experience to check out are Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me, Black Cop, Mud Bound and For Ahkeem.
Two iconic film stars will be honored at this year’s festival. The Academy Award winning actress, Vanessa Redgrave known for her ‘knock-em out the ballpark’ performance in Howard’s End, Morgan, Mary Queen of Scotland, among many will be honored on Oct. 16. Wrapping up the festival, Oct. 25, Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated actor, Sir Patrick Stewart takes a bow for his work in the blockbuster film franchise; X-Men, and most recognizable as Captain Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
All films will be shown at the AMC River East 21 located at 322 E. Illinois and open to the public for special prices. For a listing of films, showings and ticket admission, visit: http://www.chicagofilmfestival.com. There is special validated parking for $17 or take the Grand Ave. bus to save some coins.
Across town, the Social Change Film Festival opens on Oct.13 at the Harold Washington Cultural Center in the heart of Bronzeville. There will be a red-carpet reception with a premiere of several films including Tanya, Deadbeat, Maryville, America: I Too and others. On both Saturday and Sunday, several panel discussions will take place addressing the issues of social activism, criminal justice reform, community engagement and violence as films are shown.
I would love to list additional panelist guests or who will be in an attendance but it’s kind of hard to determine much from the festival’s website. The Social Chicago Film Festival will also expand to Los Angeles and New York as important topics spark necessary dialogue and hopefully “change”. For more information on ticket admission and the schedule, visit: www.chicagosocialchange.org
Speaking of changing the perspective, the Chicago Police Department is pushing aggressively to encourage Chicago residents to apply for the Chicago Police Academy. For the past two Saturdays, there have conducted on-site demonstrations at academy headquarters.
CPD Aggressively Seek Black Applicants
The Be the Change campaign is focused on recruiting more potential candidates of color as CPD change the perception of community engagement.
CPD’s Chief Barbara West has taken the initiative to talk one-on-one with people in the community. “We want officers to come with a vast array of experiences from their background. Most people think that you have to have a criminal justice degree to become a police officer. But we have officers who are nurses, teachers, social scientists and attorneys,” West said.
The department hopes to draw the same pool of candidates who are reflective of the community. She says, “We’ve had great success with increasing more diversity. We’ve also had additional female applicants that we’ve not had in the past.”
Under the direction of Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, West says it’s important to encourage “community policing” to build trust among residents.
“The superintendent has designated a committee to come up with an initiative plan for community policing that committee—the community policing advisory panel is led by our Chief Patrol. They’ve come up with some great recommendations in terms of improving our actual commitment to community engagement and improving our officers time allotment,” West explains. “In order to build trust, we have to have a relationship.”
The actual CPD test will take place on December 15 but we encourage those who are interested in applying to take the exam to submit applications in person or online no later than Sunday, October 15.
Attorney General Pool Gets Deeper
On Tuesday, no surprise to political insiders; former federal prosecutor and criminal justice reform, Sharon Fairley announced her candidacy for Attorney General of Illinois. She joins Senator Kwame Raoul and GOP candidate, Erika Harold to the list of African American candidates running in the March 2018 primary.
The bossy Libras continue to reign this month. Happy belated to musician wife and husband, Jean Baylor (10/9) and Marcus Baylor (Oct.10) of the Baylor Project. DJ Geno Vantrease, Erik ‘E-Dub’ Edwards, Black In-Chicago celebrate on Oct.11. Music director and Chicago native, Brazil Helton Siqueira; businesswoman, Portia Mittons; and fashion model and style curator, Andrea Parsons kick up on Oct.12. Thea Cameron, KC Kandi Conda and music executive legend, Miller London on Oct. 13. Co-Founder of African Festival of Life, Patrick Woodtor on Oct. 16. The party continues with marketing and
branding guru, Rona Mercado; music producer/radio personality, Naki the Beatman; singer, Aniba Hotep; publicist, Anita Luckett and Digiwaxx founder, Corey “CL” Llewellyn on Oct.16.
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