CollectedVoices Film Festival

20-Oct to 31-Dec

About us

Collected Voices Film Fest centers around original ethnographic media that explore the intersection of race, age, class, gender, and sexuality through documentary and fiction narratives. Season 6, 2020 is all films are online for viewing.


Dates & Deadlines

  • October 20, 2020


An emotionally damaged man decides to complete one last item on his list before he leaves.
Mother’s Fears” is a participatory documentary that interviews three diverse women with male children of color living in America. All these women come from different social, economic backgrounds. They all share one common fears of safety for their male children. Each story will display a different angle of fears and struggle of seeing her son engaging in today’s society being born into a specific race of color. These selected mothers have agreed to honest and direct regarding the fearful situations that their son will face at one point in time.
Get a first hand view into the Lifting As They Climbed: Mapping a History of Black Women on Chicago's South Side. The video features participants taking a guided tour, visiting locations, and sharing their experiences!
Variations is a portrait of three artists set apart by their own definition of ability. Dancer Kris Lenzo, musician Chris Foreman, and artist Riva Lehrer reveal the process behind their art as they talk about the influence of their lives on their practice. The film seeks to convey varied human experiences and promote the belief that disability is a natural part of human diversity and takes pride in its heritage and culture.
avery r young & de deacon board entry for tiny desk competition 2018. Did not make make the contest, but the film showcases the style of #sousefunk bridging gospel, funk and personal narrative to present blk culture and experience
Tylar, a young woman, is overwhelmed while dining as almost no one she encounters cares to say nor spell her name correctly. With her girlfriend aiding her side, she must wade through the confusion to make ends meet, receive the meal she ordered, and retain her sanity.
Film centers on a medical doctor who wants to fulfill her childhood dream of dancing.
An official selection of over a dozen film festivals. Hill Climb offers a candid look into the nearly 100 year tradition of the Mt. Garfield All Pro Motorcycle Hillclimb. The film is a snapshot of the riders, their bikes, and the enthusiasts that camp out on the shores of Lake Michigan for this exciting historic event. A short documentary by the directors of Vannin' - Andrew Morgan and Nick Nummerdor
Grief-stricken and lost after the death of his wife, Tom has decided to commit suicide. His last hope is a no-nonsense counselor with some unorthodox advice. His challenge to Tom: Give yourself one day to think of a way to make a positive impact on someone else. While contemplating his decision, Tom meets a young homeless man who may be the key to his challenge. Will Tom find his way, or remain lost forever?
In 2015, twelve Bronzeville community members waged a hunger strike that lasted over a month. It culminated a four year struggle to keep the last neighborhood high school open in Bronzeville. This short, fast video shows what happened.
A guy Likes a girl but doesn't know how to approach her
"I am what I am, because of who we all are." As part of The Peace Exchange leadership program, Peace Builders from violence-plagued Chicago neighborhoods traveled to South Africa in the summer of 2016, 22 years after the end of apartheid. The six young Chicagoans were welcomed by the Johannesburg Genocide & Holocaust Centre, explored solutions to inadequate housing with Start Living Green, lead an art therapy project for at-risk children with Lefika La Phodiso, and facilitated youth peace circles with Imagine Scholar. Produced with young adult media makers of Free Spirit PRO, a social enterprise of Free Spirit Media. |
Seven young Peace Builders from Chicago traveled to Rwanda in 2019 as part of The Peace Exchange leadership development program. Their visit coincided with the nation’s 25th commemoration of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi that cost the lives of more than 1 million people. The Peace Builders’ days were filled with educational and interactive activities, including visits to genocide memorials, conversations with survivors and génocidaires (the perpetrators), peace classes at the Kigali Genocide Memorial, meetings with Rwandan youth leaders, home stays with local families, and attendance at the national July 4th Liberation Day commemoration. Produced with emerging media makers of Free Spirit PRO, a social enterprise of Free Spirit Media. |

You Too?

Director: Rob Adler

inspired by an OpEd by Alexandra Petri, You Too? explores how the words we use affect the way we relate.
A homeless mother is trapped in an ongoing cycle of street life and poverty but amidst her violent surroundings, she soon discovers that she must make a change to better her son’s future.
Chicago artist Brandon Breaux, best known for his series of Chance the Rapper album covers, chronicles his mission to change the negative perception of South Side Chicago through his art, as the deadline for his first exhibition in Singapore looms.
A conservative African-American woman receives a rude awakening after visiting her grieving sister and wishful-thinking, dinosaur obsessed nephew.
"Statements: A Stand-Up Comedy Short Film," is a series of 6 short films made to accompany the 6 tracks from Justin Golak's fourth stand-up comedy album, Statements. Part 1 shows Golak ruminating on the machinations of everyday life while showing the life he lives every day.
"Statements: A Stand-Up Comedy Short Film," is a series of 6 short films made to accompany the 6 tracks from Justin Golak's fourth stand-up comedy album, Statements. Part 6 brings the series of films to an end with Golak discussing the end we will all eventually face.
A reinterpretation of the poem by Abel Meeropol in modern times, October travels down Middle American Main Street and finds himself trapped in a fatal cycle. At the end of the day, Who is to Blame? The Fruit or the Root? Starring Jed Curtis, Joshua Lee Johnson, Michelle Perks and Brian Blu. Directed by Shay Riddick
Julene Taylor is in denial about the severity of the violence in Chicago, until it hits her doorstep and she is forced to confront the reality that she's kept a code of silence about.
Omar Solis has always known that when changing the world seems too daunting of a task, you can start with your own street corner. Now he owns and operates three restaurants on the very block where he grew up. Passionate about bringing organic food to his neighborhood, his story is one of Chicago southside pride. A story about continuing a legacy his father started nearly 50 years ago with the opening of Bridgeport's first taqueria. We believe there is opportunity to drive meaningful change in our workplaces by focusing on the good. Portrait of a Restauranteur is a short in what we hope to become a collection of love letters to work called Huamns@Work. We hope this will provide insights into the conditions of what makes work meaningful through the lens of workers across the country and drive awareness and change in workplace culture, diversity & inclusion, and human resource practices.
"If Black Panthers and Girl Scouts had a baby, it would be the Rebel Bells." Rebel Bells is about an all-girls radical collective located in the Calumet region connecting southeast side Chicago, Illinois and East Chicago in northwest Indiana. The goal of the Rebel Bells collective is to teach young girls about social justice and community activism in an empowered and safe environment.
A sonic portrait of a Chiapan village focused on architecture and public space. Filmed over six years, ( ( ( ( ( /*\ ) ) ) ) ) is a sensory ethnography of culture and communication in a community founded by volcano eruption refugees. "In 1982, the eruption of a volcano called Chichonal forced the Zoque community to relocate. Filmed over the course of six years, (((((/*\))))) captures the unique atmosphere of the Indigenous group’s Chiapas village. This ethnographic excursion is a feast for the eyes and an auditory journey paced by quaint music and advertisements blaring from shops and roving trucks. Gradually, political themes come to the surface. Through a portrait of this world, Charles Fairbanks and Saul Kak (a Zoque artist and activist) explore the cultural richness of minority communities and neoliberal pressure on Indigenous peoples and their lands, with clear parallels to the painful condition of refugees everywhere." - RIDM (Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montréal)


Director: Melissa Pratt

Nita, takes us through her past and how its affected her today. Through domestic violence, homelessness and kindness of others she has made it to where she is today. Spending her days helping others as much as possible. Dedicating her life to volunteering for others.


Director: Laura Coleman

A teenage biracial girl struggles to come to terms with her identity in a racially driven world. This film explores the notion of racial identity told from the perspective of a young girl. It shows her struggle to find herself in a world that sometimes sees race as "black" and "white". It shines a light on stereotypes that are based either on deep-seated racism and intolerance, or on ignorance and a lack of communication.
A young woman faces a terrifying reality when she is sent to "Completion Camp."
Horror in the Andes is an intimate description of a friendship that is held together by a shared passion for filmmaking. Set in the small town of Ayacucho the documentary follows three friends during the arduous process of making a horror movie. It explores how Andean filmmakers have resorted to horror fiction as a means to revive a pre-colonial past and their desire to make cinema for Ayacuchans.


Director: Lucie Martin

When I meet Etienne for the first time at his place, I discover an empty flat, open on the street. I’m disappointed, I wanted postcards, ornaments, rugs, traces of the past or evidence of a rebuilt present. I know this man has lived on the streets but I know nothing about him. He gives me his story, all at once, without me asking for it. Because, as he says, he has nothing to hide. A tragic story, perfectly reported, wrapped in husky voice told by a man with charming eyes. A few events, memorable places. It’s a story told thousands of times, an institutionalized story. At his invitation I come back, first embarrassed, to observe the procession of neighbors, caregivers and passers-by. I come to have coffee, wasting time together. As we build trust, I slowly measure, fumbling around, the expanse of what Etienne keeps for himself. The story is full of gaps but it’s not anymore what matters between us. Demeure is a huit-clos in Etienne’s apartment, carefully unfolding his story as it shows simultaneously its opacity. The account of our encounter around the question of dwelling and attachment. Poverty and social exclusion are classic themes of documentary. Often, iconography makes an aesthetic of misery that contributes to transforming homelessness into a form of unsurpassable otherness, be it some kind of miserabilism or heroisation. Narratives depict a portrait of what is expected, the archetypal figure of the homeless, that are also the result of social practices of denial and identity reduction. The homeless are always portrayed as desocialized, disqualified, without bond and places. Demeure tries to avoid this pitfall, for example by displaying this question of representation : small glances games and reflective dialogues echoes the thin borders between the public and the private, the inside and outside, the potentially voyeuristic act of accounting for someone else’s life.
In the South Pacific Island group of Vava’u, the traditional healer Emeline Lolohea treats people affected by spirits. One day away by ferry, the only Tongan Psychiatrist Dr Mapa Puloka has established a public psychiatry well known across the region. Though they have never met in person, this film creates a dialogue between them on the nature of mental illness and spiritual affliction. Their discussion offers challenges and opportunities to help address the growing global mental health crisis.
John Center is a 67-year-old Jewish artist born in Chicago. John graduated from a woodcarving master’s program in Chicago. In an earlier life, John worked as a butcher, and he did some filmmaking. After his father died, his mother married an Armenian man who was orphaned as a child. Later on, John learned that his stepfather escaped the Armenian genocide after 1915 and came to the USA. Around the same time, other orphaned children came to the USA to escape the genocide. Ellen is John’s wife; whose grandmother’s family was in the Holocaust. Ellen’s occupation is preparing dead bodies for funerals. When Ellen talks about the Jewish genocide, she connects deeply to her family’s story. The last subject is Alan, a Kurdish man born in Iraqi Kurdistan in 1975. Alan, his three sisters, and his father were living in Halabja city in Kurdistan. On March 16, 1988, Saddam’s aircrafts attacked Halabja. Alan and his family saved themselves at the time by covering their bodies with wet blankets, and they protected their bodies from the GAZ attacks. Alan’s father left the family to attempt to help other victims of the attacks, but he never returned. Alan and his sister walked among the dead bodies, but they could not find their father’s dead body.
It's not a matter of if a fire will affect you in California, but when. This observational documentary film explores the shifting environmental impact on the iconic Southern California citrus orchard & farm in Ventura County. This film was made in collaboration with a teaching artist and lemon farmer, Ellen Birrell, who wrote the text for the piece. Her property survived a sudden conflagration that burnt most of the lemon farm in Santa Paula on the eve of Halloween 2019. The scorched landscape represents the exacerbating "new normals" of fire and drought, of global warming. Walking through a burn zone on the citrus farm one looks back and forward at a landscape entrenched in memory. The color of the earth is changing; there will be fire and lupines will abound. Face forward with remembrance.
It could be Chernobyl, Chicago, or a dystopian near future; and it could be a world more wolf than lion, more hyena than either. "Prologue," a video poem, based on an excerpt from book The Circus of Trust by Mark Tardi.
Upon learning she is HIV negative, Boitumelo develops a plan to get her boyfriend to tested: she brings home an HIV self-test kit. Set in Southern Africa, this upbeat drama depicts men and women in Botswana navigating life and love, and accepting HIV testing as a reality of modern-day relationships.
Upon learning she is HIV negative, Boitumelo develops a plan to get her boyfriend to tested: she brings home an HIV self-test kit. This upbeat drama depicts men and women in Botswana navigating life and love, and accepting HIV testing as a reality of modern-day relationships.
Red Clay Dance Company moves FIERCELY into their 11th season with 3 WORLD PREMIERS. Here is guest choreographer Du’Bois A’Keen, of A’KEEN BRAND, in a behind the scene look; discussing his creative process for the development of INCARNATION 1 with Red Clay Dance’s founding Artistic Director Vershawn Sanders Ward.
A glorious past withering away in a fast-changing world – The film is about a Postal Runner, a person who runs or walks from one place to another carrying mail bags. The runner used to be held in high regard with tales of his valour resonating in the myths and folk forms of the land. With improvements in modes of communication, the runner's profession has become almost redundant. Kalipada, belonging to the indigenous Mura community is one of the last surviving runners and lives in a small town in Purulia, West Bengal, India. Age has caught up with Kalipada, and he seems a mere spectator as the images from the past, present and future pass by. The film gently explores his metaphorical ‘Last Run’, imbuing it with resonances from history, myth, music and folklore.
This short mythology intertwines my personal narrative with the artists' genealogical quest to understand the home of her late grandmother while building community and creating joy! This inter-generational animation combines community members with historical great figures who at one time lived in Saint Louis, Missouri.
As the viewer follows a joyful trip to the beach by a family with three young children, innocence and happiness give way to the unthinkable.
This is a 14min documentary about the relationships between the filmmaker and his grandfather, mother and daughter. There are many things that managed to survive the family's generations, but nothing seems to be more important than the family's sweet potato pie. While this is a personal story, it is like many such stories of African American culture that should be celebrated as rich and meaningful insights into who we are as individual human beings in a diverse community.