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10/9-10/16 Oakland International Film Festival

Posted by novoscene on October 9, 2008

Oakland’s a hardworking kind of town, a hustling kind of town, a town usually more focused on getting it’s grind on than looking pretty for the cameras. While Oakland’s definitely got style, we tend to leave the flashing lights for our friends over on the other side of the water. As such, The Town’s film industry hasn’t really taken off into the Hollywood heights. We’ve got a ton of working filmmakers and actors but to date Oakland’s biggest claims to film fame have been cameos in The Matrix: Reloaded and The Pursuit of Happyness and that old rumor about how the cranes at the port were inspirations for the Star Wars AT-AT Walkers ( a rumor Spielberg continually denies, btw).

Well, if the Oakland International Film Festival continues to grow, the East Bay could become a destination for both filmmakers and film lovers. Cannes? Sundance? Bleh, who needs ’em.

Kicking off tonight and wrapping up next Thursday, the festival features nearly 50 films from across the country and several flicks shot in our own backyard, including The Equinox, one of tonight’s two opening films. Directed by Oakland filmmaker Bayaan Bakari, the film follows a young man as he joins a Rites of Passage program as a way to fight the trials and temptations of growing up in the ‘hood. Since it’s premier earlier this year, Bakari’s film has been selling out engagements across the country.

Here are a few of the films that look like they’ll be well worth the price of admission. Things kick off at the Parkway tonight with the inaugural program at 6pm and run through the Oct. 16, closing out with the East Bay premier of the documentary Public Enemy: Welcome To The Terrordome and a closing night bash at The Uptown. All films screen at The Grand Lake Theater.

Equinox: The Movement

In a community where real men are increasingly hard to find, 18 year old Malachi joins a ‘rites of passage’ program to learn the true definition of manhood. What he learns is put to the test when his girlfriend resists his growth, his mother abuses his father, his sister’s provocative lifestyle endangers her safety, and he’s asked to join a revolution against the local radio station. The film makes it plain that gangsters, pimps and players have nothing to do with real manhood. Screens 10/9 at 9pm.

Hood Games

Hood Games began in 2005 in Deep East Oakland from the minds of artist K-Dub & Pro-Skater Karl Watson, the Hood Games has become a urban skateboard and youth art festival spreading events from the Bay to Los Angeles. One goal of the Hood Games family is to build a “one of a kind” Skate & Mural Arts park at Historic De Fermery Park in West Oakland. Screens 10/10 at 9pm.

Hit, Run and Score-The Oakland Banshees Story

A hard-hitting documentary following a unique group of female athletes through the challenges of a season as professional tackle football players. Screens 10/12 at 6pm

Roses Have Thorns

Roses Have Thorns tells the story about a cross cultured couple with a strained relationship. As the events unfold in a voyeuristic view through each persons perspective we experience the hidden agendas and views of everyone involved. Separated through various colors of roses leading to the prick of the thorn that lies beneath their perspective of what happened. Screens 10/12 at 9pm.

Manilatown is in the heart (Time Travel with Al Robles)

A one-man social service agency and poet, Al Robles is truly one of Asian American hidden gems. For three decades, he has been roaming Chinatown/Manilatown’s single room occupancy hotels, taking elderly veterans to their appointments and delivering lunch to shut-ins. Screens 10/13 at 6pm

Public Enemy: Welcome To The Terrordome

Public Enemy: Welcome To The Terrordome recounts the groups monumental impact on music and global culture over the past two decades through behind the scenes interactions between Chuck D and Flavor Flav, live concert footage from shows as far flung as Moscow, Rio, Italy, Spain, the UK and finally Austin, and interviews with artists such as the Beastie Boys, Tom Morello (Audioslave, Rage Against The Machine), Henry Rollins, Talib Kweli and Jonathan Davis of Korn. Screens 10/16 at 6pm

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