Before the world was proliferated by black film festivals, there was the Blacklight Film Festival in Chicago, one of the first black film festivals anywhere.
Founded in 1982 by Floyd Webb and assisted by the extraordinary Terry Glover and yours truly, the festival ran until 1986. In fact, the closing night film that year was the Midwest premiere by some small, now long-forgotten movie called She’s Gotta Have It, directed by some kid named Spike Lee. (I wonder what ever became of him?).
And I know that, without question, Blacklight was the inspiration for so many other black film festivals which are still in existence to this day.
And to mark the importance of Blacklight and its role in encouraging and developing black cinema during the past 30 years, this Saturday, the Black Cinema House in Chicago will host a retrospective Return of Blacklight event, with Webb hosting and introducing the screening of a film that was an important milestone in the history of Blacklight and black film.
And that film is Halie Gerima’s seminal 1982 film Ashes and Embers, which chronicles “a dreamlike exploration of a black Vietnam veteran’s attempts to re-enter everyday life."
Back in January, Brandon Wilson wrote a review of the film for S & A (HERE), and Webb himself has also written a special piece about the importance of the film for Black Cinema House’s website (HERE).
The screening is this Saturday, June 15, starting at 7PM, at the Black Cinema House, located at 6901 S. Dorchester.