by Minister of Information JR Valrey, SF Bay View Oakland Bureau
Black August has always been a time when Black revolutionaries recommit themselves to their beliefs, principles and the movement for human rights and Black self determination. It is a time when exercise and the intense study of militant resistance is focused on and encouraged.
On Aug. 13, the First Annual Black August Film Festival will be held at Boston Court in Pasadena, organized by Dennis Haywood and James Farr. I wanted to talk to Dennis Haywood, the founder and owner of the Pasadena Black Pages, about what will be going down this year at the inaugural festival.
JR Valrey: Who are the organizers of the Black August Film Festival? What is the story behind how it was conceived?
Dennis Haywood: The organizers of the Black August Film Festival are Dennis Haywood and James Farr.
JR Valrey: What is Black August? How does that theme correlate with the theme of the Black August Film Festival?
Dennis Haywood: Black August honors the freedom fighters, especially those inside the walls of our sprawling prison-industrial complex, who, with their vision, tenacity and deep love for our communities are leading us toward the horizon of abolition. Black August is an invitation to reflect on the history of the Black freedom struggle, to celebrate those who have come and gone before us, and to commit to continuing this fight for justice and liberation until we win.
JR Valrey: What kinds of films are you screening this year?
Dennis Haywood: The festival will welcome films from all over the world that will be about the social and economic issues of the oppressed.
JR Valrey: What are your favorite films that you are screening this year?
Dennis Haywood: I really like “Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story,” starring Ledisi and Columbus Short. I think “Diabolical” is a powerful short film and I also really like “Something in the Clouds.” My favorite foreign film entered is “A Pasi Fu Romeo” (“Romeo’s Road”).
JR Valrey: How long is the Black August Film Festival? Where and what kind of venue will it be held in?
Dennis Haywood: This is our first year and it’s being held at Boston Court in Pasadena. It’s a really great space for the festival.
JR Valrey: Will there be any panels or parties connected to the Black August Film Festival, especially for the people attending from out of town?
Dennis Haywood: There will be three panels and an after-party. The panels will be on housing, Black fathers and the Black Panther Party.
JR Valrey: What is the headlining film? Why did you pick this film to headline the First Annual Black August Film Festival?
Dennis Haywood: The headlining film is our own “Zinzun: A Revolutionary Activist.” Being from Pasadena, it’s only fitting that this film is highlighted in our first year.
JR Valrey: Is the Black August Film Fest in person and virtual? Are there any Covid restrictions?
Dennis Haywood: There are no virtual showings this year and everyone has to have a current negative Covid test to enter the theater.
JR Valrey: How could people get more information?
Dennis Haywood: www.blackaugustfilmfestival.com
JR Valrey, journalist, author, filmmaker and founder of Black New World Media, heads the SF Bay View’s Oakland Bureau. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Facebook. Visit www.BlackNewWorldMedia.com to read more.