SF Black Film Festival Marks 15th Year, June 13-16

Everyday People. Left to Right: Greg Errico, Rose Stone, Sly Stone, Cynthia Robinson, Freddie Stone, Jerry Martini, and Larry Graham.

One of the films that will be shown at this year’s San Francisco Black Film Festival, June 13-16, explores the life of classic singer Sly Stone, known for his song, “It’s a Family Affair.” The late Ave Montague began the festival as a way to get Hollywood film industry experts and emerging and local filmmakers together in a diverse setting.  That theme continues today, as films such as HBO “Soul Food” series star, Hollywood director, choreographer and actor Darrin Henson’s “Hotel” will be among the line up during the Juneteenth Celebration and Father’s Day Weekend. “Hotel” has a multicultural cast including: Henson, Indian celebrity Amrapali Ambegaokar, Carlos Korotana, and Mona Sishodia.  As a choreographer, Henson has worked with the King of Pop Michael Jackson and his former Bronx neighbor, Jennifer Lopez. A German documentary that aired on German public television, “Brown Babies: Germany’s Lost Children” by Michaela Kirst, is scheduled to be screened on “Father’s Day.”  George Lucas’ popular “Red Tails” gave a glimpse of romance between Black U.S. World War II Soldiers and European women with the Romance between characters Joe “Lightning” Little played by David Oyelowo and Sofia played by Daniela Ruah. “Brown Babies” gives an enlightening look at the realities of the offspring of thousands of those relationships.  Veteran actress Peggy Blow, who performed in “Hat Lady” Ruth Dewson’s production of “Crowns” and the title role of “Bricktop” at the Lorraine Hansberry a few years ago and just guest starred in the season finale of ABC’s Castle, is one of the subjects in the documentary. After decades of not knowing her heritage, a fellow “Brown Baby” and high school alumna, genealogist Henriette Hood Cain, helped Peggy find a sister and two nieces in Germany and unbelievably, a sister who lives in California. “The story lines of the films are incredible, and it is so interesting to see how the universal themes of humanity weave truths and experiences we can all relate to,” said Kali O’Ray, executive director of the festival, and Ave Montague’s son. “We’re excited about the celebrities that are trying to clear their calendars to join our festivities and those who have helped in the past like comedian, actor, producer, and humanitarian Robert Townsend who joined us last year to promote his film “In The Hive.”  Most of all we’re really excited about the growing audience of the San Francisco Black Film Festival.” “We’ve been fortunate to have celebrities like the Bay Area’s own Shabaka Henley who has done a number of films with prolific director Michael Mann join us for the festival,” said Katera Crossly, co-director. Returning attractions to the festival include the Urban Gaming Suite, which will give youth a look at developing video games and the “My Dad is My Hero” Video and Essay Contest. Last year’s winner was Tiffany Armstrong Gorman who won a weekend stay for two at the InterContinental Hotel San Francisco for her father Lionel Armstrong.  The InterContinental has again agreed to provide the top prize for “San Francisco Black Film Festival XV.” For more information about the San Francisco Black Film Festival XV visit www.sfbff.org.
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