Festival pays due homage to black films

Friday, the Black Filmmakers’ Hall of Fame brings its ninth annual film festival to the Bay Area. In addition to showcasing talent from America and the African diaspora over the course of the next two weekends, the Hall will honor winners of its annual film and video competition Sunday.

The Hall is in its 25th year of trying to make inroads for blacks in film and television and vice versa. Primarily, it serves two groups youths seeking meaning in these two media and filmmakers, actors, and others seeking entry. In addition, its mission is to preserve and honor a rich African and black American film history.

Before its inception, legitimate black experience rarely translated to celluloid. Characters were either relegated to the edges of society or so stereotyped, they bore no relevance to the people they supposedly represented.

The ’70s defied these depictions, from Melvin Van Peebles’ “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song” (1971) and Gordon Parks Sr.’s “Shaft (1971) to Martin Ritt’s “Sounder” (1972). Black writers, directors, actors and actresses began making their way in independent and studio scenes. While opportunities were still limited, they were expanding.

The nonprofit film hall has since set up educational outreach programs, a lecture series and film screenings. Its most visible event may be its Black Filmworks Festival, which presents awards to winners of its video and film competition and honors artists from Clarence Muse to Harry Belafonte to Maya Angelou.

The schedule and ticket information follow. Tickets are $5 for a one-day film pass, $10 for film and video competition or $75 for a festival pass. Admission to Kids’ Day at the Oakland Museum is free, but reservations are required. Film tickets can be purchased at the Black Filmmakers’ Hall of Fame, 405 14th St., Suite. 515, Oakland, 510-465-0804 or at the Oakland Museum, 1000 Oak St., Oakland, 510-238-2200. The awards ceremony tickets can be purchased only at the Paramount Theatre box office, 2025 Broadway, Oakland, 510-465-6400.

Here’s a schedule of events and screenings for the festival.

  • 6 p.m., Academy of Art College, 625 Sutter St., San Francisco Screenings of “The Last Weekend” and “Rituals”
  • 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oakland Museum, 1000 Oak St., Oakland Kids’ Day, featuring “Tell Me Who I Am The Journey Begins’ ” animation festival winner; HBO’s “Happily Ever After Fairy Tales; ” and appearances by T.C. Carson (“Living Single”), Kenny Blank (“The Parent ‘Hood”) and Karen Malina White (“Malcom and Eddie”)
  • 10 a.m.-noon, Oakland Museum Lecture Hall Screenings of “For My People: The Life and Writing of Margaret Walker; ” “Family Name”
  • 12:15-2:45 p.m., Oakland Museum Lecture Hall Screenings of “Fillmore No More; ” “All Power to the People”
  • 1-3 p.m., Oakland Museum James Moore Room Screenings of “Ruby Bridges; ” “Tell Me Who I Am The Journey Begins’ “
  • 3-5:30 p.m., Lecture Hall Screenings of “Portraits; ” “Nights; ” “Touchy Subjects; ” “Woman and Man; ” “Letter to My Mother; ” “A Short Wait Between Trains; ” “Morningside Prep”
  • 7 p.m., Oakland Marriott City Center, 1001 Broadway, Oakland reception welcoming filmmakers.


  • 6 p.m., Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland 1998 Black Independent Film & Video Competition’s award ceremony. Followed by special film screenings and question-and-answer session with filmmakers.
Oct. 2
  • 7-11 p.m., Geoffrey’s, 410 14th St., Oakland Screenings of “Cappuccino; ” “Secrets; ” “You Say Tomato”
Oct. 3
  • 10 a.m.-12 p.m., Oakland Museum Lecture Hall Screenings of “Record Row: Cradle of Rhythm and Blues; ” “About Race”
  • 12:30-2:40 p.m., Oakland Museum Lecture Hall Screenings of “Malcolm X: The Soldier of Righteousness; ” “Divided We Stand”
  • 3-5:30 p.m., Oakland Museum Lecture Hall Screenings of “Louisville; ” “Unspoken; ” “Drylongso (Ordinary)”
  • 7-8:30 p.m., Oakland Museum Lecture Hall Screenings of “Tumbling Down; ” “Sister, I’m Sorry”
Oct. 4
  • Noon-2 p.m., Oakland Museum Lecture Hall Screenings of “Snake Skin; ” “Kaos on Warwick Avenue; ” “East of Hope Street”
  • 2:30-4:30 p.m., Oakland Museum Lecture Hall Screenings of “It’s On; ” “Sabrina; ” “Two Seasons; ” “Presenting James Bell on the Cultural Connection; ” “Exposure of a Movement; ” “The Promised Comforter”
  • 5-7 p.m., Oakland Museum Lecture Hall Screenings of “Not a Nickel’s Worth of Doubt; ” “Airmen and Adversity”

This article originally appeared in the Contra Costa Times

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