Wednesday, June 05, 2019

The San Francisco Black Film Festival XXI Tribute to Jeff Adachi By Wanda Sabir

(L-R) Yoko Coleman, Brett Harrison, S.F. Mayor London Breed, Jim Chabin, Kali O’Ray.
Photo credit: William Hammons

The San Francisco Black Film Festival opens its 21st Anniversary Season this year, June 13-16, with a media preview, briefing and tribute, June 12, 4-6 p.m. to the late Jeff Adachi, San Francisco Public Defender and filmmaker. Kali O'Ray and Katera Crossley, SFBFF Festival Co-Directors want to honor a friend to the festival, whose work: “America Needs A Racial Facial” debuted in 2016. Jacq Wilson, the brother of Jacque Wilson who worked with Jeff Adachi in the Public Defender’s Office, will be a part of the prison reform panel. Oher panelists include: CA State Senator Nancy Skinner (Invited-Author of SB 1437); Attorney Jacq Wilson; Supreme Court-Winning Civil Rights Attorney Pamela Price and Former PUC Judge Karen Clopton.

There will be two short films that evening, “Disparity: A Tale Of 2 Pushaz,” dir. Justin Givens. Givens’ film challenges the uneven and unfair mandatory sentencing laws for crack vs. powder cocaine. The director said that he became interested in the topic while at Arizona State College completing a degree in criminal justice and noticed how many people are serving lengthy sentences based on race. In the film one character, Charlie, is convicted and sentenced based on his race not the crime. In fact, the town where Syd lives the majority of his customers are white. The tag line is: Same story, different endings.

When Attorney General Eric Holder changed federal laws around sentencing mandates for crack vs. powder cocaine, Black community cheered. The Fair Sentencing Act (2010) ended mandatory sentencing and the 2018 First Step Act expands job training and other programming aimed at reducing recidivism rates among federal prisoners; however, for the majority of prisoners in this nation in state prisons these efforts to reduce mass incarceration do not affect them.
Another film that evening looks at State Senator Nancy Skinner's SB 1437, the bill that made it possible for Neko Wilson’s release after spending nearly a decade in jail for a murder he did not commit.  Wilson is the first Californian freed by SB 1437. However, as of May 2019, his release has been challenged. There are lawmakers who want him sent back to jail.

With the settlement with San Francisco City and County for the shooting death of Mario Woods by SF Police Officers, once again, SFBFF programming addresses issues that face its constituency. Along with Justin Givens’ film will be screened the short documentary "Neko Wilson, Social Biography" by Raj Jayadev & Silicon Valley DeBug.

The tribute and briefing June 12, 2019 @ Cinemark Theatres, 845 Mission Street (across from the 5th and Market Garage) is guaranteed to inspire dialogue which is what SFBFF is known for—programming that “serves as a vehicle to initiate dialogue on the important issues of our times to lead to a better understanding of and communication between, peoples of diverse cultures, races, and lifestyles.” 

This year there are short and feature length films covering a range of topic reflective of the diversity that is Pan African Diaspora. The venues are within walking distance of one another in the Fillmore community. Tickets are just a click away. Visit  The media briefing and screening are free with RSVP at the website where patrons can watch trailers. This year SFBFF is introducing the Urban Pitch Fest, an opportunity for Urban Storytellers to pitch their stories (Movies, Television Programs, etc.) to Industry Professionals. The new partnership with The Advanced Imaging Society, will help to ensure the right people are in the room. Listen to Wanda’s Picks Radio June 5, 2019 for an interview with SFBFF co-directors.


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