Empowering Communities

Bronzeville students gain experience in filmmaking

August 24, 2020

Leslie Williams was speechless when her group’s film was announced as one of this year’s Bronzeville Film Festival winners.

Sponsored by ComEd, the Bronzeville Film Festival is an event for high school and college students from Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood to present short documentary films that highlight their neighborhood’s history and the role innovative energy technologies play in their community.  

“To be one of the winners of the Bronzeville Festival is actually pretty cool,” Williams said. “I’m proud of the film my group and I made because we worked really hard on it. We learned how to work the cameras and what not and it was really fun.” 

Watch their film below:

The Bronzeville Film Festival is part of ComEd’s larger Community of the Future initiative, built to transform the South Side community into one of the greenest, most resilient and sustainable neighborhoods in the nation.          

“Part of working together with a community to meet future goals is recognizing the history and the foundation of that community. Building on that history, ComEd began development of the film festival,” said Aleksi Paaso, ComEd director of distribution planning, smart grid and innovation.

Following months of planning, recruitment and informational sessions, seven films were submitted by 25 students from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. College Prep High School, De La Salle Institute, Perspectives/IIT Math & Science Academy and Columbia College Chicago.

“Bronzeville’s distinguished history and exciting future are what make it an extraordinary neighborhood, and this film festival presents an opportunity for student filmmakers to create films that reflect that beauty and history,” Paaso said.

The festival also provided student participants with an opportunity to experience the artistic process of filmmaking and festival submission, some for the first time, to help generate a ripple effect of artistic engagement in the community. Winners of the festival are being sponsored for submission in an international film festival and were awarded $5,000 in scholarship money.

The Bronzeville Film Festival was moved to virtual space due to COVID-19.