San Diego Black Film Festival

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The San Diego Black Film Festival is one of the largest black film festivals in the country. It is held in southern California recognizes African American and movies and production. The festival was founded in 2003, and takes place every year during the last week of January in San Diego, California. People from all over southern California and even across the United States attend this festival every year and in the year 2010, famous musical artist, Jay-Z attended. There are numerous stars who attend the festival and is proven to be a popular event for the “greater” figures of the United States. The festival’s motto is "Spotlight on African American and African Diaspora Cinema.” The San Diego Black film festival was created in order to preserve African American film and has succeeded in this so far.



The San Diego Black Film Festival, originally known as the Noir Film Festival, was started nine years ago in a room at a Gaslamp hotel (3). There were only three films shown, and less than 100 people attended. In 2006 the name of the festival was changed because the organizers of the event figured out that many people were getting “Noir Film” confused “Film Noir”, so they changed the event name to the San Diego Black Film Festival. Since then, the festival attendance has boomed. By 2011, This festival is known as one of the biggest black film festivals in the United States and one of the biggest festivals in all of southern California. This year (2011) 15,000-30,000 attended the festival. The organizers of the festival cannot believe how far the festival has come since its stint at a Gaslamp Hotel and its organizers are amazed by the quantity of people that attend this event of African American Film preservation. The Black Film Festival is centered at downtown San Diego’s Westfield Horton Plaza Mall. The movies and films are shown at Regal United Artists Theatre and this theatre is located on the fourth and fifth floor of the plaza mall.

The San Diego Black Film Festival screens more than 100 films each year. There are a variety of categories and they include; Comedy, Drama, Documentaries, Animation, GLBT, Horror, Religious, Foreign/African Diaspora, Shorts, Feature Films and music videos. The event continues to grow and currently (2011) stands as one of the top tier festivals in the United States and one of the biggest on the west coast (3).


2011 was the San Diego Black Film Festival’s ninth year and it was celebrated with a diverse collection of exciting, groundbreaking and hilarious films. During that San Diego Black Film Festival, films are being shown throughout the day and night and this is what makes the event so incredible. A normal schedule for the film screening is as follows (3): Film Screening Schedule: 8 - 10 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27 Opening Day 6 - 10 p.m. Friday Jan. 28 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Saturday Jan. 29 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 30 Closing Day With more than 100 films screening during its four-day run, the San Diego Black Film Festival is one of the largest of its kind. To help narrow it down, organizers offer up their must-see “Big 8” films. These films are regarded as the best of the year and all cover different genres of African American film.

The event continues to improve year after year and in 2011 it made the following additions and changes to the festival; There is now a Big 8 Film Pass for $30 and this pass enables the person to view all eight of the Big Eight films. The Big 8 Films (as seen above) are regarded as the eight biggest films of the 2011 San Diego Black Film Festival. Also, another event EXPO 2011, a partner event to the San Diego Black Film Festival, will have vendors, exhibitors, art, food, and merchandise on the second floor of the Westfield Horton Plaza Mall. They are also kid-friendly and even have an area for kids to play during the festivals. EXPO will be running from 11 a.m.- 8 p.m., and is open during the San Diego Black Film Festival without charge.

Awards and recipients [1][2][edit]

Below is a list of the San Diego Black Film Festival award winners and honorees.


The “top” 8 films shown in the year 2011 included (2); Jan. 27 7:30 p.m., “The Three Way” Director Julian Renner takes a comedic look at the fallout a couple experiences when a secret comes out. Jan. 28 7:30 p.m., “Infiltrating Hollywood (The Rise and Fall of ‘The Spook Who Sat by the Door’)” The controversial 1973 film “The Spook Who Sat by the Door” was ultimately pulled from theaters by the FBI. Featuring interviews with cast and crew, this documentary sheds light on a dark moment in American history. Jan. 29 11 a.m., “Dog JackLouis Gossett, Jr. narratives director Edward Mcdougal’s Civil War tale about an escaped slave boy who, along with his dog, Jack, joins a Northern regiment and faces his former captors. 1:30 p.m., “Happy Holiday” When a ladies man befriends a young boy with a big Christmas wish, he re-evaluates everything he thought about true love. Directed by Harry Arnold. 3:30 p.m., “The Company We Keep” In this romantic comedy directed by Roy Campanella II, an ambitious female executive at a struggling record label struggles to balance her love life with her endangered career. 5:30 p.m., “Shaft or Sidney Poitier”; In this feature-length documentary, director Jonathan Gayles examines the origins of black masculinity and the influence of race in comic books during the late 1960s and ’70s. 7 p.m., “Church” Sunday services are anything but boring in this uplifting musical set inside an African-American church. Directed by Cory King. Jan. 30 11 a.m., “The Human Web”; Based on the hit stage play “The Sacrifice,” director Benedict Dorsey tells the fictional tale of a young man struggling to make sense of his life amid a complex web of lies, betrayal, drugs and revenge. In the year 2011, the following awards were given out to the participants (2):

Best Film (Infiltrating Hollywood, the Rise and Fall of the Spook Who Sat By the Door)

Best Director (Julian Renner)

Best Short (Underground)

Best Actor (Al Thompson)

Best Drama (Dog Jack)

Best Documentary (Gang Girl)

Filmmakers Choice (The Three Way)

Best Religious (Church)

Best Comedy (The Three Way)

Best Diaspora (Heaven Garden)



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