A very cinematic Juneteenth: previews from the SF Black Film Festival

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Female civil rights activists take to the screen at the SF Black Film Festival (starts Thurs/17)

General Gordon Granger could hardly have known that by signing General Order No. 3 into effect that sunny June 19th, 1865 in Galveston, Texas, he'd be providing an occasion for San Francisco's young black filmmakers to share their artistic voice. He (most likely) didn't appreciate that Juneteenth - as the day would come to be called - would mark a time for Bay area African Americans to reflect on the past, present, and future of their community. Probably not. But we get it. So as you munch your popcorn through these previews of the stories screening at this year's San Francisco Black Film Festival (Thurs/17-Sat/19), take a moment to think on history's - often unseen - framing of today.

Sounds of Poetry

When I first watched this preview, the young poet's eloquence struck me. Child actors these days are something else, I thought. But Dawntavia Butler, who plays the lead role of Monique, a girl striving to rise above her mother's addictions, is only half acting. Filmmaker Henderson Maddox based the script of Sounds of Poetry on Dawntavia and her sisters' real life experiences at home. In light of the challenges she faced, Bullard's spoken word performance takes on new meaning.

Flags, Feathers, Lies

The Mardi Gras Indians is a long standing tradition in New Orleans, a group that honors the role Native Americans played in helping slaves escape their bondage. But ask around at the parades these days – nary a party goer knows their name. Filmmaker Pablo Palacios makes the connection between the disappearing Indians with the devastating displacement Katrina left in its wake.

 

Mountains That Take Wing: Angela Davis & Yuri Kochiyama

Sure, you know about Angela Davis. But what about Yuri Kochiyama, who was interned with her family during World War II, and grew up to join the struggle for Puerto Rican independence, liberation of political prisoners, and nuclear disarmament? What about what those two civil rights leaders would chat about, if they got the chance to hang? Mountains That Take Wing is here for you so that you can find out.

 

Trapped Haitian Nights

Of course, it's not all civil rights and social problems. Take this action packed suspense, the last movie shot in Haiti before the disaster. The plot follows Vivica A. Fox investigating the murder of a doctor's wife, a yellow boa, and rumors of voodoo craziness.

San Francisco Black Film Festival

Thurs/17-Sat/19

various venues and times, SF

(415) 400-4602

www.sfbff.org

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