By Lee Hubbard
The San Francisco Black Film Festival has grown after 14 years from a side event at the San Francisco Juneteenth celebration to a premiere event of its own.
The festival was originally founded by Ave Montague as a way to show positive images of African Americans.
The festival quickly began to outgrow Juneteenth, and Montague found herself focused primarily on the film festival.
This year’s festival continues with a stellar line-up of international, national and local films, which will take place June 15-17.
“The San Francisco Black Film festival is growing each and every year,” said Jackie Wright, a festival spokesperson. “It is really important to the cultural legacy of Black people in San Francisco, as the festival provides a positive voice and representation of Black people in film.”
The June 15 opening night ceremony will be held at the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre at 450 Post St. A red carpet ceremony and reception starts at 6 p.m., followed by a screening of the Robert Townsend film, “In the Hive,” starring Michael Clarke Duncan, Vivica Fox and Loretta Divine.
Other venues across the city will hold screenings, including the Jazz Heritage Center in the Western Addition, the Buriel Clay Theater in the African American Cultural Center and the Roxie Theater on Valencia Street.
There will also be a family day and showing of San Francisco native Kevin Epps’ “Fam Bam,” a 30-minute documentary that examines the customs and challenges Black families face today.
“My film is a mixed media project, which tells a story about the Black family and kinship, how we used kinship to overcome slavery, Jim Crow, racism and other obstacles black Americans face on a daily basis,” Epps said.
Another film, Jacquie Taliaferro’s “10-10 Gotta Win,” looks at the 2010 District 10 Supervisors race in San Francisco, with a panel discussion to follow hosted by Dr. Joseph Bryant Jr., senior pastor at Calvary Hill Community Baptist Church.
“What is happening in District 10 is also happening in other Black communities across the country,” said Taliaferro.
“We are witnessing economic exclusion, limited educational opportunities and gentrification. Most of the time gentrification moves so slowly that most people don’t notice it, unless you are in it. It is not as blatant as bulldozers in South Africa, but it is just as effective.”
Over 100 films ranging from documentaries, shorts, to feature films, will be shown during the three-day festival, sponsored by the Bay Area Black Journalist Association and others. “The Black film festival, not only impacts our culture, but also the economy,” said Wright. “It is a beacon for tourism as Black people and others from all over the country and the world, come to this festival.”
Prices vary from event to event, generally starting at $10. For show times and information on the San Francisco Black Film Festival go to www.sfbff.org or call (415) 400-4602 or 415.400.4602.