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There is still time to experience the Oakland International Film Festival founded by David Roach, a graduate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s alma mater, Morehouse College in Atlanta.
The Oakland International Film Festival has as its focus, the world. It's themes, although the festival is founded by a Black man in Oakland, goes beyond the African Diaspora themes which it includes but is not limited to investigating. The World is at the feet of Oakland when the Oakland International Film Festival is in session. It kicked off Thursday, September 16thand runs through Saturday, September 25th with themes "Feed the Planet" and "Rediscover Oakland."
If you didn't have on your running shoes ( always need them with whatever David Roach is doing) or didn't get your ZOOM links in time, you've missed the boat on a few events, but alas you can still catch a dinghy to the Oakland International Film Festival boat that's still in the harbor. Thank goodness until Saturday, September 25th. Yeah! Over 80 films were selected.
In the "if I, woulda, coulda, shoulda," category, thought provoking opportunities got by some of us. As Lynette Gibson McElhaney said in a Facebook post, "I wish I had known sooner." That's the sentiment of many. Take a look at what happened. Because of fighting a second round with COVID, Roach learned to take advantage of the circumstances and used the COVID situation to stretch and grow.
"We decided to circulate the festival to bring more awareness to some of Oakland's main destinations as well as places often overlooked," said David Roach, Executive Director & Founder of the Oakland International Film Festival "For example, we partnered with Jack London Square to show a few short films prior to the feature film "Miss Congeniality" that had been programmed for their 'Waterfront Flicks,'" explained Roach.
Saturday, September 18th the Oakland International Film Festival was at Freedom Farmers Market. Roach and a team of volunteers hosted a Zoom discussion with Mr. Richard Campbell, the founder of Geological Agriculture (see instragram/tosoiless to see their latest), Dr. Gail Myers and other professors who are demonstrating that rocks can grow food in place of soil. (Mmmm…does NASA know about this? We may be off to Mars sooner than we think. The civilian crew already tested the waters just a few days ago…WOW rocks growing food. Now that's food for thought!).
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Saturday night was more than alright according to Roach; "As the day fell into the night, we blew up our inflatable screen and showed independent films from several Oakland filmmakers including Jim Hollis of the Calculus Club, filmmaker Alba Roland Mejia's, filmmaker Brian Wollitz and others."
Sunday, OIFF was on the road again. The festival traveled to East Oakland, and set up at the Black Cultural Zone at Oakland's Eastmont Mall. "The Black Cultural Zone is one of those gems, as The Freedom Farmers Market which each week promotes small farmers / small businesses right here in Oakland," said Roach.
What did you miss Just Last Night?!…The Oakland International Film Festival hosted an outdoor screening at the Oakland Library -Dimond Branch on Fruitvale Avenue featuring 10 short films. A few of the films were from Oakland filmmakers and the others from around the world including the short film - "The Atomic - Cover -up." "This film is based on the atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese people by the United States. It is the first footage taken after the attack and that has been held from public viewing for decades," said Roach. "We believe and hope that after seeing this film, every country will get rid of weapons of mass destruction. No way should any "civilization" ever do this to other humans and to our planet."
In between screenings, the festival is hosting networking zoom meetings and also meetings with particular topics related to solving some of societal problems around issues of social justice, equity, economic justice, food scarcity, and education.
On Thursday, Sept 23rd, The Oakland International Film Festival (OIFF19) returns to Jack London Square to highlight one of Oakland's rising filmmakers - Alrik Bursell. His feature film - ":The Alternate" is the feature presentation preceded by short films: "Lets talk about Farts' directed by Greg Runnels , "My Brother's Keeper" directed by Kyle Heard, "Watani : "My Land" directed by Joan Pauls Verge, "Strength", directed by Artur Gallery", "Americanized" directed by Erica Eng and "Pacha Kuti - The Golden Path " directed by Reed Rickert, .
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On Saturday, September 25th, the journey to rediscovering Oakland through film will continue to the outside area of the headquarters of Critical Resistance in Temescal.
Critical Resistance seeks to build an international movement to end the Prison Industrial Complex by challenging the belief that caging and controlling people makes us safe.
Critical Resistance explains their POV: "We believe that basic necessities such as food, shelter, and freedom are what really make our communities secure. Our feature documentary will be "Since, I been Down" directed by Gilda Sheppard takes an inside look at the Prison Industrial Complex. In 1993, Washington State voters passed the three-strikes law and sent children to prison for life without parole. We feared these children as irredeemable super predators. Our fear was wrong, but in 2020, sixteen states continue to keep children in prison for life. "SINCE I BEEN DOWN" shows the power of these children, now adults nearly forty years later, creating a true path to justice and healing from inside their prison walls." The feature will be preceded by the short films: "Labor" directed by Niema Jordan, "Queen of the Court" directed by Jenn Lee Smith, "Wide Open" directed by Wren Rene and "Oakland Futures "directed by Jeff Arthur & Kimberlee Webber.
Take a look at the Oakland International Film Festival going forward. First, for the events that you can still attend. Second, for the films that are being presented virtually at oiff.org. You can still check them out. Third, for an opportunity to contribute to the on-going work of the Oakland International Film Festival with events throughout the year. Contact David Roach at email@example.com.
Last but not, least in respect to elders, "Happy 100th Birthday #BettyReidSoskin" to our Richmond Neighbor on Your Birthday, 9/22!
For more Oakland based Fun, Check out Michael Burdette's Hylife O'City Productions:
https://www.hylife-ocity.com with next show:
& THE LADIES SOUL REVOLUTION!
Wright Enterprises, www.wrightnow.biz
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