Chicago OnScreen Local Film Showcase

2017 Official Selections

The Chicago Onscreen Class of 2017 is made up of seventeen filmmakers living, working and creating in Chicago. Their work showcases the city from every angle, creating vibrant portraits of the people who live here and the city we all call home.

Get to know these amazing films and filmmakers, then catch them all this summer in the parks.

SEE WHEN & WHERE THESE FILMS ARE SHOWING


B Love

B Love

An unconventional love triangle blooms when Bernard, a well-traveled honeybee, falls in love with a Chicago woman after he is drawn in by her color, scent and shape. As her budding romance with a young man begins to get serious, however, the rivalry is on, and Bernard knows just how to take out the competition.

Directed by Shahari Moore and Christine List.


Beyond the Sole

Beyond the Sole

Take a journey through the south side of Chicago, the sunny streets of Los Angeles and the glitz of Las Vegas as Derek Dow's autobiographical documentary examines sneakerhead culture and the many shoes of his collection as he uses his passion to reacquaint with family and friends and connect with his community.

Directed by Derek Dow


The Big Chop

The Big Chop

After negative hints from her mother and playground teasing from kids at school, ten-year-old Kris decides to ditch her beloved afro and get a perm. Years of perms later, she decides to do the 'big chop' and embarks on a natural hair journey of self love and acceptance, with hilarious and emotional results.

Directed by Derek Dow


A Bodega

A Bodega

This animated short uses only items found in a local bodega to look at how small business owners and the food on their shelves are filling the needs of their communities by bringing nourishment to food deserts, and providing a source of home-cooked goodness.

Directed and Animated by Samuel R. Mendez


Bound

Bound

A dance film in three parts, this film explores our new and evolving physical relationships to books and the metaphorical relationships to the written word in a world dominated by digital technology.

Directed by Monica Thomas


Count Me In

Count Me In

This documentary feature follows the stories of ordinary Chicagoans who take part in participatory budgeting - an innovative experiment in direct democracy. Through this process, local residents are able to roll up their sleeves and propose, vote on, and potentially fund local public projects to make an impact in their neighborhoods, but the path to completion is not always easy. 

Directed by Ines Sommer


Counting

Counting

Forced to keep their relationship secret, Milly and Violet make a private love promise over a penny in 1951. In 2015 the promise comes due, and Violet must face a heartbreaking reality.

Directed by Dan Pal


The Dividing Line of Chicago

The Dividing Line of Chicago

This youth-produced short film features interviews with residents of different neighborhoods around the city, discussing the questions of segregation and diversity in Chicago.

Produced by Free Spirit Media


Emergence

Emergence

This interpretive dance film chronicles the immigrant experience through movement and music. A love poem to America, the film relays the experience of arriving somewhere gritty and raw and turning it into something beautiful, fueled by passion and creativity. 

Directed by Rocco Cataldo


Father Burke's Boss Battle

Father Burke's Boss Battle

A young Catholic priest fights to get through his day, and fulfill his spiritual duties, as he wrestles with a serious video game addiction that is slowly blurring into his real life. A wise, but all-too-knowing Mother Superior is on to him and his parochial lapses, but might end up being more friend than foe.

Directed by J Paul Preseault


Home

Home

A young boy and his grandfather spend the day together, running errands throughout the south side of Chicago. Through interactions with community members and friends and family, the older man instills valuable principles in the boy, who later grows up to live out his grandfather's teachings. 

Directed by Barry Brewer


Home I

Home I

Part narrative and part dance film, this short explores the ways in which we perceive and engage with our world by investigating our relationship to our five senses. 

Directed by Helen Lee


Nia & Kim

Nia & Kim

This documentary short follows Nia, a high school senior months from graduation, and Kim, her mother. Together, they have to navigate the challenges of eviction and homelessness, as well as finishing high school and applying to colleges, but their relationship is strong enough to help them persevere through hard times. 

Produced by Free Spirit Media


Nuoc

Nuoc

This documentary follows two Vietnamese immigrants, one a daughter of a former South Vietnamese army captain and one an orphan taken in by an American family. By examining their different stories, the film looks at what it means to grow up "American" and how the connection and pull to a distant home doesn't feel the same for everyone.

Directed by Bing Liu


The Orange Story

The Orange Story

After the relocation act of 1942, Japanese immigrant Koji Oshima is forced to sell his small corner grocery story and everything he owns. Disillusioned as his former customers now won't speak to him, Koji finds a lone bright spot in the friendship of a nine-year-old girl. But as the national climate worsens, not even this innocence can survive the culture of fear and hate.

Directed by Erika Street


Ubuntu: The Peace Exchange in South Africa

Ubuntu: The Peace Exchange in South Africa

As part of the Peace Exchange leadership program, a group of teenage Peace Builders from all over Chicago travel to South Africa in the summer of 2016, twenty-two years after the end of apartheid. Working with civic institutions, leaders and scholars in Johannesburg, the group discovers the community-focused way of life known as ubuntu, and how that focus on others can help us all heal ourselves.

Produced by Free Spirit Media


Unbroken Glass

Unbroken Glass

This deeply personal autobiographical documentary takes the form of sort of video diary as filmmaker Dinesh Das Sabu interviews family and friends and travels to India and back to piece together the story of the death of his parents and confronts a silenced family history of mental illness and trauma. 

Directed by Dinesh Das Sabu


Yellow Gold

Yellow Gold

This stop motion animated film gives voice to a landscape affected by the strain of economics and explores the effect that modern agricultural methods and the encroachment of technology have on the living cycle of our food supply.

Directed and Animated by Cristen Leifheit