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The San Francisco Black Film Festival is celebrating its 20-year milestone this year with a myriad of magnificent and majestic films from all over the Black world. Kali O’Ray, the SF Black Film Festival director and son of festival founder Ave Montague sat with me as he does every year to explain the happenings and expected high points of this year’s festivities. For the 20th anniversary, we’re applying the theme 20/20, which is 20 years forward and 20 years back.
The San Francisco Black Film Festival has once again proven itself to be one of the most anticipated Black events in the Bay Area. From June 15 to 18, Black independent films were the talk of San Francisco. San Francisco acting legend Danny Glover did a Q&A for the film “93 Days.” “Abina and the Important Men” was one of the highest grossing films in the festival. We sat down with Kali O’Ray, the director of the San Francisco Black Film Festival, to discuss what happened at this phenomenal festival.
On the second weekend of June this year, the San Francisco Black Film Festival will be celebrating its 19th year by screening over 100 independent Black films in this annual four-day cinema marathon. San Francisco Black Film Festival director Kali O’Ray, son of founder Ave Montague, sits down to discuss how it feels for the festival to celebrate its 19th birthday, the importance of indie films, remaining in a city that was once a lot more chocolate but has been gentrified to 3 percent Black – and more.
Director of the San Francisco Black Film Festival Kali O’Ray has already showed me a number of potential films that are in the running to be selected to be for this year’s festival; great films like “Codigo Color” about colorism in Cuba, “Hustler’s Convention” about some of the greatest protest poets of the last 50 years, the legendary Last Poets, “Tear the Roof Off,” the untold story of Parliament Funkadellic, and “Blackboard,” a movie about Black professional skateboarders.
Every June, we celebrate the upcoming San Francisco Black Film Festival that was founded by Ave Montague and is now run by her son, Kali O’Ray, and his wife, Katera Crossley. On the same weekend as Juneteenth, the film festival features the very best in independent films by and about Black people. This year the roster features a phenomenal lineup of films from every walk of life. See the full schedule and many trailers at sfbff.org and BE THERE from Thursday, June 11, through Sunday, June 14, for some unforgettable shows.
The San Francisco Black Film Festival is one of the premiere events for the shrinking Black community in the Bay Area, annually. This year, the two headlining movies are “AMERICA Is Still the Place” and “Njinga – Queen of Angola.” I interviewed the San Francisco Black Film Festival director Kali O’Ray about what is happening this year at the festival. Check him out in his own words, telling us the history of the festival and what’s going on this year.
The SF Black Film Festival is one of the film festivals that I most look forward to in the Bay Area every year. This year it is from June 12-15 at various theaters in San Francisco. It was founded by the late Ave’ Montague, and now it’s under the direction of her son, Kali O’Ray. Every year I’ve seen great films that don’t have the promotional budgets to reach a wider audience without the help of a festival like SFBFF.
The 15th Annual San Francisco Black Film Festival was a huge success with hundreds in attendance. Some of the headlining films included documentaries on Iceberg Slim and Sly from the Family Stone. Tupac Shakur’s 42nd birthday was celebrated in style with a number of revolutionary and reality rap legends in the Fillmore celebrating him 17 years after his assassination in Las Vegas in ‘96.
There are two film festivals in the Bay Area that are famous for presenting excellent work by Black filmmakers: the Oakland International Film Festival and the San Francisco Black Film Festival. In a few weeks, thousands of people will be trailing into theaters all over San Francisco to check out what the SF Black Film Fest has deemed some of the best Black indie films of the year.
Monday, Nov. 26, at the Bay Area Black Media Awards event hosted by Greg Bridges and sponsored by the San Francisco Bay View and Block Report Radio, it was so wonderful to see all the media friends and family for an evening of celebration. KPOO, KPFA, New California Media/Pacific News Service, Wanda’s Picks Radio, Oakland Post, Globe, Poor News Network, Oakland International Film Festival, Black Panther newspaper alumni and others were in the house as “Best” this and “Best” that were saluted.
San Francisco Bayview’s own, the undefeated Welterweight Champion of the World, Karim “Hard Hitta” Mayfield (16-0-1), brings his knockout power to the San Francisco Black Film Festival. “In the Hive” director Robert Townsend is coming a day early, on Thursday, to promote his film, which opens the festival. It stars Michael Clarke Duncan, Loretta Devine, Vivica A. Fox and newcomer Jonathan McDaniel.
“The San Francisco Black Film Festival,” June 17-19, opens with the Mario Van Peebles directed film, “Things Fall Apart,” starring Curtis (50 Cent) Jackson III, Ray Liotta and Lynn Whitfield.
Our beloved Mother Mary Ann Wright passed last month; she was 87. She was soft-spoken when not in the pulpit or behind her bullhorn holding church at her multiple food giveaway sites. I marveled over this woman who'd done so much to comfort the poor, a woman loved by all who knew her.
Be sure to listen to the archived Wanda's Picks Radio for Feb. 11, when the guests are Cynthia McKinney in the first hour and Guy Patrice Lumumba and Lisa F. Jackson, director of the film, "The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo," in the second. Extraordinary radio! Superb mix of arts and politics!
We want to call the names of those who made their transition in January and offer condolences to their loved ones who have yet to cross that bridge. I still can't wrap my mind around the fact that Ave Montague is gone.