Sammy Davis, Jr. doc & ‘Félicité’ among early announcements for CIFF53

Events, Film Festivals, Past Events

Sergio Mims | Shadow and Act

The 53rd annual Chicago International Film Festival announced a preview of the first 20 films confirmed out of some 120 feature films and shorts planned for this year’s festival which runs from October 12-26.

And of the first 20 announced a few are definitely of interest to S&A readers:

Sam Pollard’s documentary about the legendary entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr.: I Gotta Be Me will be screening as part of the Black Perceptive showings at the festival with the director in-person.

As Pollard said, his film is “first major film documentary to examine Davis’ vast talent and his journey for identity through the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress during 20th-century America.”

And as we reported last week “…his life was complex, complicated and contradictory. Davis strove to achieve the American Dream in a time of racial prejudice and shifting political territory. He was the veteran of increasingly outdated show business traditions trying to stay relevant; he frequently found himself bracketed by the bigotry of white America and the distaste of black America; he was the most public black figure to embrace Judaism, thereby yoking his identity to another persecuted minority.”

In addition, the CIFF also announced that Alain Gomis’ award winning film Félicité will be screened in international feature film competition.

The France/Senegal/Belgium/Germany/Lebanon co-production was shot in Kinshasa (DRC) and Senegal, and stars Véronique Beya Mputu, Gaetan Claudia and Mpaka Longi, in a story written by Gomis, Olivier Loustau and Delphine Zingg. The film revolves around a single mother, the titular Félicité, a singer in Kinshasa living with Samo, her 16-year-old son, who is at risk of losing his leg from an accident, unless she can come up with the money to pay for the operation. His leg will be amputated otherwise, sending Félicité on a city-wide quest to raise the necessary funds.

The film which made its premiere at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year in February and was awarded the Silver Bear, the Grand Jury Prize at the Berlinale.

The announcement for the full Chicago International Film festival schedule will be on Tuesday, September 19.