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Sunday, May 3, 2015

CFA CRASHERS: Lavon Pettis

Lavon_Pettis

photo by Foster Garvin

We are delighted to re-introduce our guest-programmer series, CFA CRASHERS! Once again we have invited some of our favorite locals into our vault to curate a film program all their own (absolutely no rules or strings attached)….but this time around we’ll be hopping around town, screening 16mm films at a location selected by our guest-programmer or “Crasher.” The general motivation behind the series remains the same: to have a lot of different communities and voices engaging with our materials, as we’re increasingly interested in collaborating with those who are eager to mix it up with the CFA films in ways not thought of before. All films will be presented in 16mm (plus Super 8mm this time around!).

This May we are thrilled to have Lavon Nicole Pettis selecting the films. Lavon is a Creative Business Development Specialist who blends her background of Psychology and Sociology into the world of creative professionals such as fine artists, writers, actors, and cultural arts musicians. It is her goal to connect artists to galleries, critics, collectors and various communities in support of the artists’ work. She is especially keen on integrating music, storytelling, and cultural arts into the fields of education and community outreach.

Lavon’s program consists entirely of Chicago-made films that reflect her strong interest in art and community. She chose the Black Cinema House to present her film selections, which include a documentary on acclaimed Chicago sculptor, Richard Hunt, as well as a documentary on inspiring poet, teacher, and Chicagoan, Gwendolyn Brooks. Filling out the program is The Game -  a student film made by South Shore High School students in the early 1970′s and Super 8 home movies shot on the near-west side by Chicago artist & muralist, Don McIllvaine. The program will end with a trailer of the upcoming documentary Chronicles of Summer: Childhood in South Shore, which Lavon is producing with director Ife Olatunji.

Doors open at 3:30pm. Seating is limited, so we ask that attendees RSVP in advance here. Please note that we cannot guarantee seats for attendees who do not RSVP.

Here’s what Lavon has to say about her program:

“When Nancy invited me to host a CFA Crashers for Chicago Film Archives I had a general concept of the type of films I want to show. My research interest includes creativity and how it impacts our neighborhoods. What type of social impact does creative energy have on people in our neighborhoods? How do we assess the role of the arts on one’s identity development? One way we can assess creativity is by examining the materials people create and how one tells his or her story. I tend to get excited when people share their personal stories with me! It’s only natural I gravitated towards a love affair with arts. I appreciate being able to look as someone’s situation from an abstract perception of painting, performance, poetry, film or theater. The arts like everything else is rooted in politics. The politics of art impact how we live, learn, and our resources, and sometimes determines the fruits of our labor as communities and neighbors.

After weeks of consulting with Anne about the footage available at CFA, I finally narrowed down films I believe will allow us to reflect on stories about everyday people involved in the arts in our neighborhoods. This selection is about people learning, working, and striving to make a living in Chicago! The films I selected are: Creative Person: Gwendolyn Brooks, three silent films from the Don McIlvaine Collection about a near-west side art class for children called Art and Soul that will be played with live music, a documentary film on sculptor Richard Hunt, The Game, and a documentary I am producing with director Ife Olatunji on the identity-development of a few girl’s in our neighborhood!

I believe these films highlight the resilience of people in Chicago’s neighborhoods. These films are about different struggles people went through and how the arts provides opportunities for people to THRIVE! The arts can be an in road to potential and self-discovery! The film The Game produced at the age at the age of 17 by Southshore High School student Wayne Willliams definitely will lead to us to ponder somethings & start a stimulating conversation. Films will be followed by a brief discussion about arts, education, politics, and community!”

RICHARD HUNT: SCULPTOR , 1970, Encyclopedia Britannica, 16mm., Color (slightly faded), Sound, 14 min.
Using materials from Chicago’s junkyards, Richard Hunt creates sculpture which has brought him acclaim. As he is shown collecting materials, he talks about his way of life, his childhood, and his wish to serve as an example to his community.

CREATIVE PERSON: GWENDOLYN BROOKS, 1966, WTTW, 16mm., B&W, Sound, 29 min.
Ms. Brooks reads from her verses and discusses her life and works. Photographic depictions of the atmosphere are the environment in which her poetry takes place. From WTTW’s The Creative Person series.

THE GAME, 1971, Wayne Williams (instructor: Jerry Aronson), 16mm., Color, Sound, 4 min.
Shot and made only a few blocks from the Black Cinema House at South Shore High School, THE GAME is an allegory on the wastefulness of war and the duplicity of those who wage it. Student filmmaker Wayne Williams, who was 17 at the time, cuts back and forth between a chess game and a guerrilla theater war game to underscore the sense of importance of the fighters and the cynicism of those who control their lives – and deaths. The film is part of a series of student films that all won awards at the 1971 Young Chicago Filmmaker’s Festival.

Select HOME MOVIES from the Don McIllvaine Collection, 1970s, Don McIllvaine, Super 8mm., Color, Silent, approx 15 min.
Chicago’s great mural artist, Don McIlvaine (1930-2005), is known for his large scale street paintings of everyday struggles. Don taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago and was the second director of Chicago’s Lawndale art gallery, Art & Soul*, a project of the Conservative Vice Lords, where young people could express their thoughts in artistic form. Working with youth in his Lawndale neighborhood, Don elevated mural art to national attention in 1969-1970 with six dynamic and politically conscious street paintings. Interviewed for a 1970 Time magazine article about diversity in visual art, he declared, “People decorate the street because that’s where their life is.” These select home movies from Don McIllvaine’s Collection document scenes from Art & Soul where McIllvaine worked with children to paint powerful, aggressive and insistent murals throughout Lawndale. They also offer a rare glimpse at Don’s mural work, which has now, tragically, been almost entirely demolished.  All home movies will be accompanied with live music.

Chronicles of Summer: Childhood in South Shore trailer, 2015, Ife Olatunji, digital projection, Color, Sound, 3 min.
Chicago based filmmaker Ife Olatunji is currently putting on the finishing touches on her new feature length documentary, “Chronicles of Summer: Childhood in South Shore,” which centers around 3 close friends, Indigo, Ameera, and Akili all 8 years old and growing up on the South Side of Chicago. As Ms. Olatunji states, both girls were given the opportunity to participate in visual and performance arts after school. But when school ends for the summer, it was up to the parents in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago where they live to find a safe and affordable education for their daughters.

*A wonderful & detailed exploration of the Art & Soul program via Rebecca Zorach in Art Journal: “Art & Soul: An Experimental Friendship between the Street and a Museum”

FACEBOOK EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/858782750854234/

Location:

7200 S. Kimbark Ave.
Chicago, IL 60619
go to map

Hours:

4PM

Game: a South Shore High School production

This Sunday our guest programmer series, CFA Crashers, returns with selections from Lavon Nicole Pettis. Lavon’s program consists entirely of Chicago-made films that reflect her strong interest in art and community. She chose the Black Cinema House to present her film selections, which include a documentary on acclaimed Chicago sculptor, Richard Hunt, as well as a documentary on inspiring poet, teacher, and Chicagoan, Gwendolyn Brooks. Filling out the program is Game -  a student film made by South Shore High School students in the early 1970′s and Super 8 home movies shot on the near-west side by Chicago artist & muralist, Don McIllvaine. The program will end with a trailer of the upcoming documentary Chronicles of Summer: Childhood in South Shore, which Lavon is producing with director Ife Olatunji.

BCH_TheGame1

Game (1972)

BCH_TheGame2

Game (1972)

I wanted to take some space in our blog to discuss one of these films – Game – in greater detail.  Game was made in 1972 by South Shore High School (aka South Shore International College Preparatory High School) students under the leadership of photography instructor, Jerry Aronson.  The film is an allegory on the wastefulness of war and the duplicity of those who wage it. Filmmaker Wayne Williams, who was 17 at the time, cuts back and forth between a chess game and a guerrilla theater war game to underscore the sense of importance of the fighters and the cynicism of those who control their lives and deaths. Jerry Aronson – mentor, instructor, filmmaker and subject of the best faculty yearbook photo I’ve ever seen (below)- encouraged and made the production possible. It was made with Aronson’s personal Bolex and lights and was shot in one afternoon at South Shore High School. This school is only a few blocks from the Black Cinema House, adding further significance to this Sunday’s venue.

JerryAronson

photo by Curtis Durham

Since 2004, CFA staff and volunteers have discovered rare prints and oddities (the good kind) within the Chicago Public Library collection, including many with local ties. These include children’s films, documentaries, industrial films and sixteen student-made films affiliated with the library’s short-lived Young Chicago Filmmakers competition. These sixteen student films, including Game, were found either individually in cans or compiled onto larger reels. Most are unique or one of kind and have therefore gained processing priority at CFA.  All have been carefully hand inspected, placed onto cores and into archival cans, digitized, cataloged and are available for streaming on CFA’s website.

Now back to the film festival for a bit: From 1971-1973, the Chicago Public Library sponsored the “Young Chicago Filmmakers Festival” – a film festival for “any amateur filmmaker, who is a resident or attending a Chicago high school, junior college or undergraduate college, as well as non-students, 25 years of age or younger.” Local teenagers and twenty-somethings picked up entry forms at their local library branch and submitted films that they made for class, community film workshops or just for the love of it. According to the CPL, the short-lived fest “encouraged film as an art and a means of communication by providing amateur filmmakers with a place to show their works, an audience to view them, and a jury to score them.”

So how exactly did these student film festival films enter the library collection? Unfortunately we are left to speculation. A Chicago Tribune article suggests winning films were accessioned into the library’s collection, while a recent interview with a former CPL Audiovisual Center librarian revealed that these films were just simply not retrieved by the filmmakers and never intended to be accessioned. The later account proves to be more likely, as no library catalog records exist for any of these films. It is also possible that these films were placed on reserve and only available for on-site viewing within the library.

Game

Seated (from left to right): Ronald Tyler, Kenneth Tucker; Standing (from left to right): Dr. Nicholas Kushna (Principal), Steven Boykin, Wayne Williams, Jerry Aronson (Instructor/Mentor)

We are genuinely so happy that Lavon has chosen to screen Game as part of her program, especially given the geographical significance or close proximity of production and exhibition sites. We’ll be screening our original print of Game along with other 16mm films and a handful of Super 8mm home movies from our Don McIllvaine Collection…hope to see you there!

Sunday, May 3, 2015 ,  4PM

Black Cinema House
7200 S. Kimbark Ave.
Chicago, IL 60619

Doors open at 3:30pm. Seating is limited, so we ask that attendees RSVP in advance here. Please note that we cannot guarantee seats for attendees who do not RSVP.
. . .

And while I have your attention…we’re also looking for any contact information for those involved with the production of The Game. We have recently learned from Jerry Aronson that  filmmaker, Wayne Williams, has unfortunately passed away. If any one has any leads for those involved (credits below), please don’t hesitate to get in touch –> anne [at] chicagofilmarchives.org …thanks!

 

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Introducing CFA CRASHERS

**CORRECTION** – please note the new start time of 6:00PM 

Exciting news! We have a new film series in the works. It’s called CFA CRASHERS and it starts this August (over happy hour) at the Hideout.

We’ve invited some of our favorite locals to guest curate a program of CFA films all their own (no rules or strings attached). The general motivation behind the series is to have a lot of different communities and voices engaging with our materials, as we’re increasingly interested in collaborating with those who are eager to mix it up with the CFA films in ways not thought of before. It’s also a nod to those around town who make us proud to call Chicago home -or selfishly, a good excuse for us to collaborate with some people we admire ; )

So…mark those calendars (!) and join us at the Hideout the second Tuesday of every month. Expect a mix of films and topics, ranging from women in the workplace to local architecture and the existence of UFOs, all of which will be presented in 16mm thanks to our tabletop Eiki. Each program will begin roughly at 6:30PM 6:00PM (feel free to stop by early!) and end at 8PM before the Hideout’s live music programming commences. And we realize most of you might be craving a snack or dinner around that time (we sure do). We’ve got food trucks and general snacking options in the works…stay tuned !

Now let us introduce you to our guest programmers aka Crashers: 

August 12, 2014: JESSICA HOPPER 

Jessica Hopper kicks off the series with two films about women in the workplace.  Jessica is a Chicago-based music journalist and the author of The Girls Guide to Rocking. She is the music editor at Rookie, an editor at The Pitchfork Review and an advice columnist for the Village Voice. An anthology of her criticism is due out next spring.

WOMEN IN BUSINESS (1980, LSB Productions, 16mm., Color, Sound, 24 min., found in CFA’s Chicago Public Library Collection)
Six different women who have successfully started their own business are profiled in this upbeat motivational film. Owners of a moving company, a security guard firm, a cooking school, a commodities brokerage & other businesses demonstrate how entrepreneurial spirit & hard work have made dreams into satisfying realities.

THE WILLMAR 8 (1980, Lee Grant, 16mm., Color, Sound, 50 min., found in CFA’s Chicago Public Library Collection)
Activist, actor and director Lee Grant shares the story of eight unassuming, apolitical women in America’s heartland–Willmar, Minnesota–who were driven by sex discrimination at work to take the most unexpected step of their lives and found themselves in the forefront of the struggle for women’s rights. Risking jobs, friends, family and the opposition of church and community, they began the longest bank strike in American history in a dramatic attempt to assert their own equality and self-worth.

event link: http://www.chicagofilmarchives.org/current-events/cfa-crashers-jessica-hopper  

 

September 9, 2014: THE-DRUM 

Chicago production duo The-Drum consists of Jeremiah Chrome and Brandon Boom. Since arriving on the hybrid online electronic music scene in 2010, the two have put their touch on a variety of impressive releases (Le1f , Dre Green and as part of their R&B collective, JODY, to name a few). Just this past month they released their label’s debut compilation, Lo Motion Singles Vol. 1, which features 14 cuts of faded R&B from The-Drum and friends. More on Chrome and Boom here (via Britt Julious & Noisey).

Film program TBA
October 14, 2014: LEE BEY

Architecture Critic, Lee Bey, is one of Chicago’s keenest observers of architecture and urban planning. For four years he published the WBEZ blog, “Beyond the Boat Tour,” and before that he worked at the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Central Area Committee  and was Deputy Chief of Staff for Planning and Design for Chicago Mayor Richad M. Daley. Today, Bey is civic engagement and special projects manager at the Arts Incubator with The University of Chicago Arts and Public Life Initiative, where he manages strategic initiatives and partnerships with arts organizations, community groups and civic leaders.

Film program TBA
November 11, 2014: CHRISTEN CARTER

Christen Carter founded the Busy Beaver Button Company in 1995 after spending some time in England, where buttons (called “badges” over there) were still very popular. She moved back to the States and started making buttons for bands and record labels. Busy Beaver has gone from a one-woman operation in Christen’s college apartment to a Logan Square storefront with fifteen employees. Over the last 17 years, the Busy Beaver crew has overseen over 60,000 designs and produced millions upon millions of custom buttons for clients like Brooklyn Brewery, NBC Entertainment, The Art Institute of Chicago, Threadless, WordPress as well as thousands of bands, non-profits, small businesses and other great folks. Along with her brother, Joel Carter, Christen also founded The Busy Beaver Button Museum, one of the world’s only museums dedicated solely to pinback buttons.The museum, which is located at the company’s Logan Square headquarters, displays over 9,000 historical buttons and is open to the public M-F from 10-4 or by appointment.

Film program TBA
December 9, 2014: MIMI NGUYEN

Mimi Thi Nguyen is Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her first book, called The Gift of Freedom: War, Debt, and Other Refugee Passages, focuses on the promise of “giving” freedom concurrent and contingent with waging war and its afterlife (Duke University Press, 2012). She continues to understand her scholarship through the frame of transnational feminist cultural studies, and in particular as an untangling of the liberal way of war that pledges “aid,” freedom, rights, movement, and other social goods, with her following project on the promise of beauty. Nguyen was recently named a Conrad Humanities Scholar for 2013-2018, a designation supporting the work of outstanding associate professors in the humanities within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois.

She is also co-editor with Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu of Alien Encounters: Popular Culture in Asian America (Duke University Press, 2007), and co-editor with Fiona I.B. Ngo and Mariam Lam of a special issue of positions on Southeast Asians in diaspora (Winter 2012). She publishes also on queer subcultures, the politics of fashion, and punk feminisms. In 2012 and 2013, she went on the POC Zine Project/Race Riot! Tour to discuss and read from zines by people of color.

Film program TBA
January 13, 2015: GREG EASTERLING

Chicago native Greg Easterling got his start in radio while in twelfth grade at New Trier High School and later honed his skills at the University of Illinois’ WPGU. Now we know Greg as the voice of Chicago’s WDRV (97.1FM) overnight show, which airs Monday through Friday from midnight-5AM.

Film program TBA

 

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