The 2011 San Diego Black Film Festival continued to focus on great African American movies, and this was the 9th year for the event. The San Diego Black Film Foundation hosted the annual festival and included more than 100 movies, shorts and documentaries. Jamie (name changed to protect her privacy) attended one evening of the film festival and shared her experience.
The San Diego Black Film Foundation started the festival in 2003. Their goal was to preserve African American cinema and highlight some of the best new productions. Since 2003, the festival has grown immensely, and it is estimated more than 30,000 people planned to attend this year. The number of submissions has also increased. The 2011 event had a variety of movies including comedies, dramas, animations and shorts.
The Westfield Horton Plaza mall was the only venue for the San Diego Black Film Festival. Located downtown, the mall’s Regal United Artists Theatre was the center of the event. All of the movies were shown here. The mall’s 130 stores gave audience members a chance to shop before and after the film festival. The Westfield Horton mall had indoor and outdoor shops open throughout the event. The complicated architecture of all the buildings was also fun to explore. This San Diego mall resembles a labyrinth with wrong turns, endless staircases and confusing levels.
The San Diego Black Film Festival had a full schedule of movies. One of the most interesting documentary features was “A Lot Like You.” This film has not been released, but people were able to see it at the San Diego festival. It was directed by Eliaichi Kimaro, and it is her personal story. She details her life with her Korean mother and Tanzanian father. She returns to Mt. Kilimanjaro with her father and begins to uncover details of her family’s past. Eliaichi Kimaro discovers shocking stories of abuse that change her perception and make her question her identity.
One of the most interesting shorts at the San Diego Black Film Festival was “Round on Both Sides.” This drama’s main character, Niecy Bridges, is a struggling model and single mother. She has left her daughter with relatives to pursue her modeling career, and eventually returns home to check on her child. The entire movie was shot in Youngstown, Ohio. It deals with families, abandonment and choices.
The 2011 San Diego Black Film Festival was a great event for audience members. It presented a variety of movies and themes. The focus on exhibiting the best of African American cinema was evident at this San Diego event.