This festival of work by black artists from around the world continues Friday, August 18, through Thursday, August 31, at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State. Unless otherwise noted, tickets are $9, $5 for Film Center members; for more information call 312-846-2800. Following is the schedule for August 18 through 24; a complete festival schedule is available online at www.chicagoreader.com.
Flip the Script
Six friends in their 30s gather for the funeral of a seventh in this 2005 feature written by Tiayoka McMillan. Terrah Bennett Smith directed; with Robin Givens and Mel Jackson. 90 min. Video projection. Jackson and McMillan will take part in a discussion after the screening. a Sat 8/19, 6 PM.
Scheduled for commercial release on August 25, this musical by Bryan Barber stars OutKast's Andre Benjamin and Antwan Patton as performers in a 1930s speakeasy. With Paula Patton, Terrence Howard, Patti LaBelle, and Ving Rhames. 90 min. a Thu 8/24, 8:15 PM.
Love African American Style
Short works by Christine F. Turner, Layla Mashavu, Harold R. Caldwell, and Chicago native Dale Pierce Nielsen. 90 min. a Sun 8/20, 5:15 PM.
Miles From Home
Ty Hodges wrote, directed, and plays a dual role in this uneven but lively debut feature, as a spiritually lost teenager, Miles, and his lascivious alter ego, Diablo. The latter character narrates, bemoaning the teen's relationship with a bubbly, life-affirming student (Meagan Good) and gloating over his entanglement in a prostitution ring controlled by a seductive lady pimp (a memorable Tasha Smith). As the title alone should indicate, this is pretty sophomoric stuff (especially the religious overtones), but it works surprisingly well, enhanced by the excellent performances and the director's natural flair. 97 min. (Reece Pendleton) a Fri 8/18, 6:30 PM, and Tue 8/22, 6:15 PM.
My Phamily BBQ II: The Engagement
Screenwriter Ytasha Womack (Love Shorts, which screened at the 2004 festival) makes her directing debut with this video feature about a mixed-race couple. 85 min. Womack will attend the screenings. a Fri 8/18, 8:30 PM, and Wed 8/23, 8:15 PM.
An aspiring young music producer (Derrin Maxwell) drifts through life dreaming of something better than his daily routine working as a mule for a low-level drug dealer and compiling mix CDs on a home computer. His ennui is dispelled when an attractive, bored housewife (Candice Coke) moves in across the hall, begins courting him aggressively, and inspires him to start robbing banks. This premise might have generated an interesting short, but as a feature it's pretty lethargic, padded with long and pointless musical interludes. Rich Williams directed. 85 min. (Reece Pendleton) a Mon 8/21, 8:30 PM, and Thu 8/24, 6:30 PM.
One Ordinary Woman, One Extraordinary Life
This 2005 digital documentary by Tracie Dean Ponder examines the life of her mother, who raised eight children by herself in a Chicago housing development. Also on the program: James Edwards's DV short Family Musings (2005). 78 min. Ponder and Edwards will take part in a discussion after the screening. a Sat 8/19, 8:15 PM.
Short works by Kareem Eduoard, Dick Fisher, Vincent Singleton, and Evan Allen-Gessesse; the latter two will take part in a discussion after the screening. 84 min. a Tue 8/22, 8:15 PM.