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Internationally renowned artist Theaster Gates is using his ArtPlace grant to repurpose a two story, mixed-use building in Chicago into Live/Work space for film- and media-based artists of color. Gates reports on some new collaborators that have joined the project:

In this blog entry I’d like to feature two amazing local organizations that I had the pleasure of working with at various capacities and am now envisioning their involvement with the programming of the Black Cinema House. I am most excited about bridging the Chicago Film Archives and South Side Projections with what we do on Dorchester and making that film of our culture and history available to our community. They are great film presenters with an incredible archive of black, rare, and local South side films. We want to strengthen these partnerships and make these films accessible.

Chicago Film Archive
Nancy Watrous of the Chicago Film Archive was this past summer’s artist-in-residence on Dorchester. Her residency featured a variety of historic film like Mohammed Ali’s boxing match with with Leon Spinks, the genesis of the Vice Lords, the music of Sun Ra and scenes from Maxwell Street decades ago.

Chicago Film Archives is a regional film archive dedicated to collecting, preserving and providing access to films that represent the Midwest. They also seek to serve our culture by restoring and preserving films that are rare or not in existence elsewhere.

There exists great potential for a natural and evolving partnership between the Black
Cinema House and Chicago Film Archives. CFA has over sixty film collections, including amateur and home movies that bring a distinctive film vernacular and local representation of culture in the Midwest. CFA’s venues for exhibition exist throughout neighborhoods and various communities in the Chicago land area and beyond. They have been in the old Chess Record Studio, Chicago’s Cultural Centers and parks, back yards, old neighborhood theaters, banks and private homes.

South Side Projections
Michael Phillips with South Side Projections screens rare movies and has an interest in sharing his expertise and collection with youth on the South Side. Michael has been a videographer for me, and the Black Monks and have been a cultural colleague of mine.

The mission of South Side Projections (SSP) is to present film screenings and panel discussions to foster conversation on social issues; to alleviate the lack of film viewing opportunities on the south side of Chicago by presenting films in alternative venues; and to promote the film and video work of filmmakers and students who lack access to Chicago’s traditional art-house and film-school markets. SSP presents free film screenings and discussions at locations around the south side of Chicago, bringing educational, historical, and otherwise important films to these underserved neighborhoods, usually holding events in donated spaces at historical or cultural institutions. By involving subject-matter experts, filmmakers, and community members in post-film discussions, SSP educates audiences by ensuring that each screening is presented in its proper historical and cultural context.

We knew we wanted to bring film to Dorchester and are working on partnering with these film organizations that do amazing work and envisioning how they fit into this community.

-Theaster Gates

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