The San Francisco Black Film Festival, traditionally held between Juneteenth and Father’s Day, is officially underway, celebrating its 25th anniversary.
“We continue with our motto, ‘Healing the world one film at a time,’” said Cree Ray, executive director of the festival, and granddaughter of its founder, the late Ave Monague.
The centerpiece event on Sunday at the AMC Kabuki 8 includes the premiere of “Third Baptist Church.” Director Kevin Epps’ documentary about the Black church founded in 1852 in San Francisco and renowned for advocating social and economic justice and mentoring youth screens at 2 p.m. It’s preceded at 1:30 p.m. by “A Stranger’s Story,” a film by Alonzo Waller based on the memories of John J.J. Batiste Sr., a Black Louisiana man who traveled to Vancouver, Washington in 1942 to work in the shipyards to support the war efforts.
Then, at 2:30 p.m., “Surrounded,” a new Western directed by Anthony Mandler starring Letitia Wright of “Black Panther” fame screens. Wright portrays a former Buffalo Soldier in disguise as a man, who, after her stagecoach is ambushed, is forced to guard an infamous outlaw; a battle of wills ensues. The festival’s closing award ceremony follows at 4 p.m.
The African American Art & Culture Complex’s Buriel Clay Theater is the location for two different programs of short films on Saturday and Sunday, along with slate of feature films. They include:
“Name of the Game” is a striking documentary by William Forbes and Douglas Skinner telling the previously untold story of the male exotic dance scene in South Central Los Angeles in the 1990s and early 2000s. (5 p.m. Friday)
“Whatever Happened to Dinner?” is writer-director Cydney Griffin’s film about a woman thwarted in her attempts to tell her family about her serious medical condition during a communal meal. (4 p.m. Saturday)
Wade in the Water: The documentary by David Mesfin chronicles the 1,000-year-old Pan-African surfing tradition on the coastline of West Africa from Senegal to Angola, which has since taken root in America. (5:30 p.m. Saturday)
“This Is My Black,” a documentary by Jarrett Roseborough about choir students at Pine Forge Academy, a historically Black boarding school in Pennsylvania, who make sense of their changing world with music. world. (2 p.m. Sunday)
“Here They Go,” a comedy by Southern California director Bryan Bostic about a what happens when a young man takes his girlfriend home to meet his overprotective mother and crazy family. (3:30 p.m. Sunday)
The San Francisco Black Film Festival runs June 15-18 at the African American Art & Culture Complex’s Buriel Clay Theater, 762 Fulton St., and the Kabuki 8, 1991 Post St. Many screenings are free. For tickets and complete program information, visit sfbff.org.