Premiere Screenings of Bessie Coleman, First Black Aviatrix as part of the 25th The Black Harvest Film Festival

Premiere Screenings of Bessie Coleman, First Black Aviatrix as part of the 25th The Black Harvest Film Festival

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Karen Durham
312-846-2074
kdurham@saic.edu 
Lori Hile
312-846-2077
lhile@saic.edu

 

GENE SISKEL FILM CENTER OF THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO
TO PRESENT CHICAGO PREMIERE SCREENINGS OF
BESSIE COLEMAN, FIRST BLACK AVIATRIX
AS PART OF THE 25TH THE BLACK HARVEST FILM FESTIVAL

Special guests include Gigi Coleman Brooms, great-niece of Bessie Coleman

Chicago—As part of its 25th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival, the Gene Siskel Film Center is pleased to present the Chicago premiere of BESSIE COLEMAN, FIRST BLACK AVIATRIX. 

BESSIE COLEMAN, FIRST BLACK AVIATRIX
2018, Olivier Sarrazin, France, 53 min.
Saturday, August 24, 5:15 pm
Tuesday, August 27, 6:00 pm

Pioneer aviatrix Bessie Coleman was the first African American woman to receive a pilot’s license.  This classy French production uses excerpts from Coleman’s journals and sweeping aerial views of the sites where she learned to fly to accompany commentary by experts centered in France and Chicago—the two most important venues in her flying career.  

Born to a family of Texas sharecroppers, in 1916 the 24-year-old Coleman moved to Chicago, where she embraced the dream of becoming a flier.  American aviation schools were closed to both Blacks and women, but Chicago Defender publisher Robert S. Abbott encouraged her ambitions and helped sponsor a trip to France, where she learned to fly.  Returning to the U.S., Coleman gained fame as a barnstorming pilot, until her life was cut short by an aviation accident at age 34.  Buried in Chicago’s Lincoln Cemetery, she remains an inspiration for African American aviators (including astronaut Mae Jemison, who carried a picture of Coleman on her first space mission).  In English and French with English subtitles. DCP digital. 

The following guests are scheduled to appear for audience discussion:

Gigi Coleman Brooms, great-niece of Bessie Coleman and CEO/President of Bessie Coleman Aviation All-Stars;

Dr. Christopher Reed, Professor Emeritus of History at Roosevelt University and Resident Historian at the DuSable Museum;

Myiti Sengstacke-Rice, CEO/President of Chicago Defender Charities and great-grand-niece of Robert Sengstacke Abbott, founder of the Chicago Defender

Jean-Marc Giboux, director of photography for BESSIE COLEMAN, FIRST BLACK AVIATRIX (Saturday only);

Tammera Holmes, President/CEO of the AeroStar Consulting Corporation and winner of the Bessie Coleman Aviation Award (Saturday only). 

The Tuesday screening is a Movie Club event.

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About the Black Harvest Film Festival: The Black Harvest Film Festival is Midwest’s largest- and longest- running Black film festival and the Gene Siskel Film Center’s most vibrant annual showcase featuring provocative films that tell stories, spark lively discussions, and address issues relating to the experiences from the African diaspora. Black Harvest features Chicago premieres, filmmaker appearances, panel discussions, and special events. Presented are a combined total of over 50 features, documentaries, and shorts, including a number connected to Chicago, affirming the city’s role as a vital center for independent filmmaking. Black Harvest supports the Film Center’s ongoing mission to present inclusive and insightful programming. www.siskelfilmcenter.org/blackharvest

About the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago: Since 1972, the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago has presented cutting edge cinema to an annual audience that has grown to 88,000. The Film Center’s programming includes annual film festivals that celebrate diverse voices and international cultures, premieres of trailblazing work by today’s independent filmmakers, restorations and revivals of essential films from cinema history, and insightful provocative discussions with filmmakers and media artists. Altogether, the Film Center hosts over 1,500 screenings and 200 filmmaker appearances every year. The Film Center was renamed the Gene Siskel Film Center in 2000 after the late, nationally celebrated film critic, Gene Siskel. Visit www.siskelfilmcenter.org to learn more and find out what’s playing today.

About the School of the Art Institute of Chicago: For 150 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has been a leader in educating the world’s most influential artists, designers, and scholars. Located in downtown Chicago with a fine arts graduate program ranked number two by U.S. News and World Report, SAIC provides an interdisciplinary approach to art and design as well as world-class resources, including the Art Institute of Chicago museum, on-campus galleries, and state-of-the-art facilities. SAIC’s undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate students have the freedom to take risks and create the bold ideas that transform Chicago and the world—as seen through notable alumni and faculty such as Michelle Grabner, David Sedaris, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Hunt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Cynthia Rowley, Nick Cave, and LeRoy Neiman. Learn more at saic.edu.

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