International Black Women’s Film Festival

I’m the founder and curator of the International Black Women’s Film Festival in San Francisco, California. I established the festival in 2001, and in 2002 it debuted with a sold-out gala at the Delancey Street Theater in San Francisco’s South Beach district. My festival’s landmark event underscored the public’s interest in seeing good, quality films by and/or featuring Black women from around the world.

To date, the festival has received over 400 entries and has garnered international attention from around the world including the Netherlands, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Germany, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Paris, Ghana, Canada and Australia. In 2002 the festival received personal support and sponsorship from STAR WARS director and creator George Lucas and his media company LucasFilms, Ltd.

In my tenth season, Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer (Best Supporting Actress for THE HELP) made a personal appearance with her cast to showcase her film THE UNFORGIVING MINUTE, narrated by Tony Award-winning actress Viola Davis. A number of filmmakers and cast members attend the festival. THE UNFORGIVING MINUTE screened as a West Coast premiere at my festival. She attended to support her cast and film and provided a 15-minute Q&A about her film and the filmmaking process.

My festival provides panel discussions and workshop along with screenings, and many filmmakers participate in insightful and relevant discussions about issues impacting directors and actors of color. During the off-season, there’s an active online community on Facebook and Twitter, and I provide industry information, tips and reports (PDF) regarding filmmaking –especially in regards to how it impacts communities of color.

The festival itself helps the public to understand that there are creative and exciting films featuring Black women that don’t result in violence against Black women and don’t reinforce negative stereotypes. My festival inspires young women, builds self-esteem, and impacts how Hollywood sees Black women in front and behind the camera

However, since 2002, the lines between film, television, and new media have blurred. With video sharing sites like YouTube, Brightcove, and others, media can be broadcast farther than just the theater and television; unfortunately, so can harmful images of Black women.

The Impact of My Festival

My festival’s impact on the film festival scene has inspired a number of other cities and countries to reconsider how they select their films, and to re-visit how Black women have changed the discourse in filmmaking. Since the festival’s beginnings, the film industry has seen a growth in Black women in front of and behind the camera. I’m proud to say that the International Black Women’s Film Festival has proudly contributed to this change by screening over 100 films by and/or featuring Black women from around the world in non-stereotypical, non-pornographic roles. Starting in 2009, I’m not just combating negative stereotyping of Black women in film, but also in television and new media.

My year-round web-site –which debuted in 2001– has been an invaluable resource for emerging filmmakers, fans, and the film industry. The IBWFF web-site was designed by me, and I manage and curate the information that’s posted on it. Community-based organizations, film industry professionals, and filmmakers regularly send their news and press releases, while also using the web-site for insightful and informative information.

Partial List of Films Screened at the Festival

  • *A Conversation with Mrs. Carter (USA) – Documentary, Short
  • *A Funeral at the Samba School (Brazil) – Short
  • *A Touch of Tutelage (USA) – Short
  • *Bessie’s Blues (USA) – Short
  • *Calypso Rose (Trinidad/France/USA) – Documentary, Feature
  • *Can’t Let Go (USA) – Short
  • *Cruzeiro (Brazil) – Documentary, Feature
  • *Duka’s Dilemma (Ethiopia) – Documentary, Feature
  • *Houna & Manny (USA) – Short
  • *In Search of Consonance (USA) – Comedy, Feature
  • *Jackie (USA) – Short
  • *Kuvuka Daraja (Crossing the Bridge) (Tanzania/USA) – Short
  • *Love Takes Time (USA) – Feature
  • *Mind Wars (USA) – Short
  • *Of Mary (U.K.) – Short
  • *Portia White: Think on Me (Canada) – Feature, Documentary
  • *Preying on the Hunter (USA) – Feature
  • *Skeleton (USA) – Short
  • *The Hands (USA) – Short
  • *The Happiest Day (USA) – Short, Horror
  • *The Meeting (Greenland) – Feature, Documentary
  • *The Next Day (USA) – Feature
  • *Women Surviving the System (USA) – Short
  • A Single Rose (USA) – Short
  • A Testament of Karma (USA) – Short, Horror
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild (USA) – Fantasy, Feature
  • Birth of Bardo (USA) – Short, Experimental
  • Black Orpheus (Brazil) – Feature
  • Blue Covers (USA) – Short
  • Call for Back-Up (USA) – Short, Comedy
  • Carmin’s Choice (USA) – Short
  • Chrysalis (USA) – Short
  • Claudia Makes a Difference (USA) – Short
  • Critter Island (USA) – Short, Animation
  • Def Dance Jam (USA) – Short, Documentary
  • Destiny (Canada) – Short
  • Did I Wake You? (USA) – Short
  • Ebony Goddess: Queen of Ile Aiye (Brazil) – Feature, Documentary
  • First Cut (USA) – Short
  • Get Down (USA) – Short
  • Good Hair (USA) – Short
  • Hair Daze (USA) – Short
  • Hair Stories (USA) – Short
  • Harriet Returns (USA) – Short
  • Holiday (USA) – Short
  • Hollywood Shuffle (USA) – Short
  • Illuminations, Vol. 2 (USA) – Short
  • In Our Heads About Our Hair (USA) – Feature, Documentary
  • In Search of Consonance (USA) – Feature
  • Irony of a Negro Policeman AKA Roll Call (USA) – Short, Experimental
  • Jacob’s Sound (USA) – Short
  • Karmen Gei (Senegal) – Feature, Musical
  • Kissed by the Devil (USA) – Short
  • Knock, Knock; Who’s There? (USA) – Short
  • Lipology (USA) – Short
  • Mama Africa (Burkina Faso, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tunisia, and Zimbabwe) – Shorts
  • Man Made (USA) – Short
  • Maple (Canada) – Short
  • Memoirs of a Black Latina (USA) – Feature, Experimental
  • Mother & Daughter (USA) – Short
  • My Escape with BIKO the Balloon Deity (USA) – Short
  • Nappy (USA) – Short
  • New York 45 (USA) – Feature, Documentary, Experimental
  • Nobody Knows My Name (USA) – Feature, Documentary
  • Portrait of a Film Extra (United Kingdom) – Short
  • Promised Land (South Africa) – Feature, Documentary
  • Quase Todo Dia/Almost Everyday (Brazil) – Short
  • Rain (USA) – Short
  • Ravishing Raspberry (USA) – Short, Animation
  • Rebel in the Soul (USA) – Short
  • Rendez-vous (Canada) – Short
  • Rize (USA) – Documentary
  • Say My Name (USA) – Feature, Documentary
  • Secrets (USA) – Short
  • Severed Souls (USA) – Short
  • Silence (USA) – Short
  • Skin Quilt Project (USA) – Feature, Documentary
  • Soliloquy (USA/France) – Feature
  • Special Day (USA) – Short
  • Stomping on the Devil’s Head (Dominican Republic/USA) – Feature, Documentary
  • Strike! (USA) – Short
  • Sushi (USA) – Short
  • Tears of a Swamp Fox (USA) – Short
  • The Actual Importance (of Being Somewhat Earnest) (USA) – Short
  • The Becoming Box (USA) – Short
  • The Letter (USA) – Short
  • The Unforgiving Minute (USA) – Short
  • The Vineyard (USA) – Short
  • The Wiz (USA) – Feature, Musical
  • Traces (Canada) – Short
  • Two Bodies (USA) – Short
  • Vivian (USA) – Short
  • When Spirits Dance Mambo (Puerto Rico/USA) – Short, Documentary
  • White Sugar in a Black Pot (USA) – Short


*Premiered at the festival