The 10th Annual San Francisco Black Film Festival Wraps

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Something Is Killing Tate, Directed by Leon Lozano wins Melvin Van Peebles Award. Kings Of The Evening, Directed by Andrew P. Jones is the Audience Favorite 2009 Festival Dates Announced

10 Years, 10 Days, more than 100 Films

The San Francisco Black Film Festival (SFBFF) celebrated its ten-year anniversary from June 4-8 and June 11-15, 2008. Befitting its milestone status, the theme of this year's festival was "10 Years, 10 Days, more than 100 Films" as the SFBFF spanned the globe with works from Africa, Australia, Canada, Europe and the United States.

Ave Montague, SFBFF founder and director commented, "Screening at five venues including MoAD, the African American Art and Culture Complex, Yoshi's, Sundance and 1300 on Fillmore presented its challenges, and at the end of the day we were exhausted but thrilled with the number of new and repeat filmgoers and record breaking box office numbers."

The festival got a jump start with the annual Urban Kidz Film Series at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco. Created with young viewers in mind, the annual film series is an offshoot of the San Francisco Black Film Festival and featured a striking assemblage of short and feature films, designed to spark the imaginations of the 5-to-12-year-old set. Audience favorites included The Don of Virgil Jr. High and African Academy Award winner, Do You Believe In Magic?

Opening night kicked off on Wednesday, June 4th with Shoot the Messenger, a funny and sometimes controversial work from Nigerian-born British filmmaker Ngozi Onwurah about a Black British teacher who fights his way out of madness and stops blaming his own people only after losing his job. Our audience loved the film and folks are still talking about it. The opening night festivities continued with a standing room only party at Rasselas Jazz Club. The festival continued with non-stop films, receptions and workshops throughout the historic Fillmore District.

On Saturday, June 14, the first annual Awards Brunch was presented at the posh 1300 on Fillmore restaurant. Owners David Lawrence and Monetta White welcomed the film community as they sipped mimosas and sampled the restaurant's signature barbeque shrimp, grits, eggs and organic black-skillet fried chicken.

The Awards Brunch sponsored by PG&E was followed with an awards program acknowledging the best works in screenplay, short, feature, documentary, student and Urban Kidz categories. The first St. Clair Bourne Award was presented for the best documentary. The overall winner received the Melvin Van Peebles Award, which honors an emerging filmmaker with a unique vision, singular style and uncompromising point of view.

Actress Taraji P. Henson (who currently plays attorney Whitney Rome on Boston Legal) received the first-ever Phoenix Award in honor of her swift rise to stardom. Taraji who stole all of our hearts as the pregnant "Shug" in Hustle and Flow and shined opposite Don Cheadle in last year's Talk to Me, has four major releases approaching in the next few months. They include Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with Brad Pitt, Taraji stars opposite Forest Whitaker and Lil' Wayne in Hurricane Season and opposite Morris Chestnut in Not Easily Broken.

The festival's closing film was Tribute: Stanley Tookie Williams: 1953-2003 directed by Barbara Becnel. The documentary examined death row prisoner, Crips gang co-founder, children's book author, and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Stanley Tookie Williams.

2008 San Francisco Black Film Festival Winners

Each winner received a custom made plaque and the winner of the Melvin Van Peebles Award received two round trip tickets to South Africa courtesy of South African Airways.

2008 Melvin Van Peebles Award Winner and Best Feature
Something Is Killing Tate
Director: Leon Lorenzo
(Grand Prize: Round trip to South Africa)

2008 St. Clair Bourne Award Winner for Best Documentary
Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans
Directors Dawn Logsdon and Lolis Eric Elie

Best Short
Director: Randall Dottin

Best Student                
Director: Christopher Babers                    

Best Urban Kidz Winner
The Don of Virgil Jr. High
Director: Deon Hayman

Best Screenplay
American Dream
Olugbemiga Idowu

Audience Favorite
Kings of the Evening
Director: Andrew P. Jones

Festival sponsors include: San Francisco Grants For The Arts, Starbucks, Wells Fargo, Rainbow Cooperative and Comcast.

The dates for the 2009 San Francisco Black Film Festival are: June 3-7 & June 10-14, 2009
Call for entries: Early deadline December 15, 2008 Final deadline January 15, 2009

For further information log on to or call 415.771.9271


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