Alum Jada-Amina Named Lead Curator of Black Harvest Film Festival

A woman poses in a studio



The Gene Siskel Film Center at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago has named filmmaker, curator, and programmer Jada-Amina (BFA 2020) to lead the artistic vision and direction as lead curator of the 29th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival. Her curation includes the touring screening series Not Far from Here and Passion to Profession, and her films have been screened at ACRE Projects, the Music Box Theater, the Echo Park Film Center, and Otis College of Art and Design. 

In her new role, Jada-Amina will lead the Film Center programming team in viewing film entries, crafting the festival schedule, planning community programs, filmmaker dialogues, and special events. The festival will take place November 3–16.

The Film Center has also named filmmaker Nick Leffel as coordinator of the Black Harvest Film Festival. Leffel will support Jada-Amina in curation of the festival and coordination of community outreach, filmmaker discussions, and other special events. 

“I’m thrilled to welcome Jada-Amina and Nick Leffel in their new roles as lead curator and coordinator, respectively, of the Black Harvest Film Festival,” said Gene Siskel Film Center Executive Director Emily Long. “Jada-Amina’s experience in filmmaking and curation, her immersion in Chicago’s contemporary arts scene, and her enthusiasm for cinema that challenges audiences and inspires conversation, ensures that we’ll have a dynamic and exhilarating lineup for the festival. And Nick’s intimate knowledge of film–on both sides of the camera–and experience in film programming and community outreach–make him a perfect fit as festival coordinator.”

Co-founded in 1994 by Sergio Mims, who also served as the festival’s consultant until his passing in 2022, the Black Harvest Film Festival celebrates, explores, and shares the African Diasporic experience.