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Together Again! Annual Black Alphabet Film Festival Returns to Chicago this November.

Updated: Oct 13, 2021

Andrew Schneider, Screen Magazine

October 5, 2021

“Together Again.” That’s the goal as many film festivals and small businesses reopen around the country and welcome people back through their doors. And it’s also the theme for one of the longest running Black LGBTQ/SGL film festivals in the world. The Black Alphabet Film Festival (BAFF) will be returning to Chicago this November, November 5-7, 2021 at the University of Chicago’s Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts.

BAFF was created in 2013 to provide opportunities for people to see images, hear stories, and relate to unique Black LGBT+ experiences absent from the mainstream media. The annual event provides a global platform for members of the SGL/LGBTQ+ community to showcase their films.

“The theme for this year’s festival is ‘Together Again,’ and we are excited to be celebrating in person again, with a focus on protecting the health of all attendees,” said Adam McMath, Executive Director, Black Alphabet Film Festival. “We also want to make sure everyone can participate in this important event, and virtual screenings will be available for participants who feel more comfortable joining from home.”

Since launching Chicago’s first Black LGBTQ film festival in 2013, Black Alphabet has worked to encourage storytelling, cultivate new dialogues, and educate communities about the cultural and social contributions that Black LGBTQ-identified people have made upon the world. The nonprofit organization advocates for social equity by creating and spreading awareness of issues uniquely or disproportionately impacting the Black LGBT+ community. This year’s film festival, an in-person and virtual event, is made possible with the support of funders AIDS Health Foundation (AHF), Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), Illinois Humanities, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), United Way of Metro Chicago, and Lorde, Rustin & Bates.

Black Alphabet Film Festival Chicago Lineup

  • Gemmel and Tim – Two complementary documentary films examine the deaths of Gemmel Moore and Timothy Michael Dean at the West Hollywood home of businessman and political donor Ed Buck. From the director of Game Face and That’s Wild.

Here is a quick chat with director Michiel Thomas about Gemmel and Tim:

  • Smoke, Lilies and Jade – Alex, a young artist of the Harlem Renaissance, flirts with the idea of bisexuality. A short film from directors Deondray Gossfield and Quincy Le Near, narrated by Billy Porter.

  • Buck – Caught in the throes of a depressive fugue, young Lynn resorts to debauchery to find joy, only to discover that happiness is a much more complicated proposition. A short 2020 Sundance Film Festival selection from Director/Writers Elegance Bratton and Jovan James.

  • All Boys Aren’t Blue – Firsthand account of the trials, tribulations, and triumphs that have made George M. Johnson into the person they are today. Based on the memoir from the author of We Are Not Broken (2021).

Here’s your first look at All Boys Aren’t Blue:

The kick-off event on Friday, November 5th beginning at 6:00 pm will include live entertainment from local artists. Wine and refreshments will be served.

You may check out the complete festival lineup, or purchase tickets on the Black Alphabet website. Tickets may be purchased for each night separately, or as an in-person festival pass, or a virtual pass. Virtual access information will be sent to ticketholders prior to the festival.


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