Today we spoke to Kali O’Ray, Co-Director of the


DEADLINE  • 15 May 2013  



Kali O'Ray, Artistic Director, San Francisco Black Film Festival

This year, the new venue we will probably be using is the Sundance Theater for the Opening Night. Of course we have new venues for the after parties and other social events – we always use different community places around here like doing screenings in some of the local cafes and stuff like that.

A new award that was actually introduced last year is called the Ave Montague Award. It is named after my mother who passed five years ago, so now we give an award out to the film that best fits the mission statement of the festival. That is the newest award, the rest of the sections stand as usual.

One time we were quoted as ‘the little festival that could’. This was a while ago and this is now our fifteenth year. My mother ran the first ten years and I have done the last five and it is definitely been a rebuilding process. I have been taking it on board but I still have maybe a couple more years before I get to where my mother was.

Of course the one thing that we specialize in is presenting positive, independent films. We are looking for black content or something that deals with black people – it doesn’t necessarily need to be by a black person – it could be about or by white people also – it just needs to be some kind of content we could feature.

We get a lot of films, a lot of different films but I guess content wise, we mainly get smaller, independent films by people out there making their first, second and third features. A lot of other festivals might be looking at your budget and the more technical aspects but we are looking for a good story and an altogether solid film. Sometimes you know, you can look at the film and it looks like amateur film but you can see the work put in; they have done the job, the color correction and definitely learnt something in the process but mainly the story is great and that is really what we are looking for.

Kali O’Ray, Co-Director, San Francisco Black Film Festival to FilmFestivalLife, 23 April 2013 

13 – 16 June 2013, San Francisco, United States

 San Francisco Black Film Festival on FilmFestivalLife



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Claire French

Claire French is the Marketing and Communications Director at FFL. Her editorial training is grounded in Arts Management, Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and Communications and Media, Notre Dame University, Fremantle. Her film experience includes her position as Festival Director of Perth's Bamboo Mainstage Amphitheater. Reach her at