Live From the Oakland International Film Festival:

An interview wit’ film-maker Samm Styles

Check for the Oakland International Film Fest listings at

by Minister of Information JR

Samm-Styles1, Live From the Oakland International Film Festival:, Culture Currents The Eighth Annual Oakland International Film Festival (OIFF) opened last Thursday at Merritt College in the Huey P. Newton-Bobby Seale Room. The event started with David Roach, founder of the OIFF, giving an introduction. Robert Adams, president of Merritt College, spoke next; then Samm Styles, an accomplished Bay Area based filmmaker who is on the advisory board of the Oakland International Film Festival, hosted a press conference-style Q&A wit’ local filmmakers.

We got wit’ Samm Styles to do this interview, because we wanted our readers to be educated and understand the importance of the Oakland International Film Festival to movie-goers, filmmakers and local business, specifically.

M.O.I. JR: You hosted the opening session of the Oakland International Film Festival, where you introduced some of the filmmakers who will be presenting this year. What is your relationship to this film festival?

Samm Styles: That is my relationship with the festival. As I think about that, I am noticing that there is more than one answer. So I will try to keep it short.

My first answer would be: First and foremost I am a filmmaker and a movie lover. Second I believe that it’s my obligation to give back to such an important cause in which one is using the camera to tell their story. My relationship with the festival is a love so that I would like to see, at some point, the festival being held more than once a year. And for the simple fact that as we speak, someone is making a film; a story is being told. Another relationship is that I am also on the advisory board for the festival, and another is that David Roach and I are homies.

M.O.I. JR: What is the purpose of a film festival for cinema freaks?

Samm Styles: Hmmm, I would like to believe it is to learn something more about what’s going on around us, to have a good laugh, to be deeply moved, to get inspired and to become filled with a purpose to support the art form of filmmaking somehow by being in front of the camera, behind the camera or just the person buying the ticket. I think another purpose of the festival is the validation for the first-time filmmaker which is, I am on the right track and that I am among family.

M.O.I. JR: What is its purpose for filmmakers?

Samm Styles: For filmmakers, I believe it is to do several things: to get their story told, to show their talent, to get a distribution deal, to see what else is on the screen, to get as many people as possible to see something they have to say, to get their name out there and to be known for being the one who did it, and the list goes on. At some point during a filmmaker’s life, each of these feelings will tickle the filmmaker’s purpose.

M.O.I. JR: What is its purpose for sponsors?

Samm Styles: I would like to believe that the majority of the sponsors are avid moviegoers too. So for them to be affiliated with this festival is a win-win situation. They get to come out and watch great films, and it’s good for business. When I see their logo on the poster, it lets me know that this is how we must support each other to keep the cameras rolling.

M.O.I. JR: This year the Oakland International Film Festival has more sponsors. Is it getting bigger?

Samm Styles: The festival has always been big. It’s the sponsors that are catching up. This is the eighth year for the festival. Where you at, Tom Hanks, Lucas and Pixar, my local big wigs of Hollywood? Come support and get on board.

M.O.I. JR: What movies are you excited about that are in the festival, and why?

Samm Styles: There isn’t any one film that I’m more into seeing than the others, but I would say that I’m just as excited to see each of them. There are so many types of stories that are going to be told, in so many ways. And then there’s the back stories of why the film was made; that’s beautiful.

M.O.I. JR: What have you been up to as a filmmaker?

Samm Styles: I myself am in the getting finance stage for my next film.

At the same time I’m keeping my chops wet directing music videos, which is another exciting form of filmmaking, which I love deeply. I just wrapped up a music video for singer Allen Anthony, former singer with the group Christion. The song is “Do 4 U.” The video right now can be seen on my Facebook page.

M.O.I. JR: How can people keep up with the Oakland International Film Festival?

Samm Styles: People can keep in touch at; it’s the website.

M.O.I. JR: How can people keep up with you?

Samm Styles: My email is and I’m on Facebook. I post up my latest work on there, such as the latest music videos I just completed. They are on my page now. Holla. Thanks, JR.

Email POCC Minister of Information JR, Bay View associate editor, at and visit