Monday, June 22, 2015

Screening of Work-In-Progress Doc 'Chronicles of Summer' (3 Young Black Girls Shaping Their Identity)

"Art is Business" article By Sergio            
Chronicles of Summer
Last year I wrote about Chicago based filmmaker and urban anthropologist, Ife Olatunji and her new 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.

Her goal in her film was to capture “the thought processes of the three small girls as they negotiated their way through the volatile and changing education system… (and was) interested in conveying the manner in which schools’ arts programs impact children’s construction of their own identity”.

Both girls were given the opportunity to participate in visual and performance arts after school. But when school ended for the summer, it was up to the parents to find a safe and affordable education for their daughters.

"Despite financial and family troubles, parents enroll their kids in summer programs with the hope of preparing them for more than just the fall semester… (as the film details the experiences of the girls as they learn while dealing)… with the personal and artistic challenges that shape their identity during a critical age. Confronting notions of a “poor education”, this community redefines what is worth learning."

The filmmaker was a 2014 Katemquin films/Community Film Workshop Diverse Voices in Documentaries Fellow, and calls herself a documentary filmmaker who specialize in methods of observational cinema, and ethnographic field work.
With a BA in Anthropology from Syracuse University, and a graduate MA in Visual Anthropology from the University of Manchester, UK, she says that her "anthropological field work has lead me to teaching media and art to students of all ages, and worldwide," and she has formed her own documentary production company Freedom Lover Films.

There are few films, whether narrative or documentary,  that focuses on the lives and experiences of young black girls, and for Ms. Olatunji, "Chronicle of Summer" will be important because it "seeks to capture the voices and experiences of elementary students as they explore the value of education and arts in shaping their identity."
Now this Friday there will be a special advance screening of her film as a “work in-progress” this Friday at the Black Cinema House in Chicago located at 7200 S. Kimbark starting at 7PM.