Contrary to popular belief, unlike its famous sister city, San Francisco, Oakland contains one of the largest and most ethnically diverse concentrations of LGBTQ people in the nation. A survey by the International Federation of Black Gay Prides ranks Oakland seventh among U.S. cities with the highest number of Black LGBT people.
In 2003 Oakland Int’l Black LGBT Film Festival founders Debra A. Wilson and Joe Hawkins decided to do what many thought was impossible – create a film festival dedicated to showcasing films about the lives of lesbian gay, bisexual and transgender people of African descent in Oakland.
The festival started as a two-day event screening only four feature films and a few shorts at the Parkway Theater. By the third year the festival expanded to a four-day event screening nearly 60 films to sold out audiences. By the seventh year, the Oakland International Black LGBT Film Festival had become the largest film festival of its kind in the world attracting film producers, directors, writers, actors, and lovers of film, from around the country.
In 2009, the old Parkway Theater suddenly closed, leaving the Black LGBT film fest along with various other festivals held there, without a home.
In 2010, Co-founder Debra Wilson produced the 8th and final film festival at the Rialto Theater, in Berkeley. But it was clear that Oakland is where the festival belonged.
In 2011 Joe Hawkins learned that the New Parkway Theater would be opening at a new location and immediately contacted the owners.
We are happy to announce that the 9th Oakland Int’l Black LGBT Film Festival will debut at the all New Parkway Theater during Black History Month, February 15-17, 2013.
This will also be the New Parkway Theater’s first ever film festival.
Please stay tuned for the film schedule and other details, save the date, tell your friends, and join us as we embrace our new Parkway home for a new beginning!
If you would like to submit a film for consideration, please contact our programmer Debra Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org
The New Parkway Theater is located in the Uptown/KoNo section of Oakland, near the corner of Telegraph Avenue and 24th Street:
474 24th Street
Movie and Information Hotline: +1 510 658-7900
Our mission is to recognize emerging and established black LGBT filmmakers, writers, directors and producers, in a culturally enriched environment. We hope to inspire writers and filmmakers of African descent to tell our stories and provide them with an opportunity for their projects to be screened to the viewing public. Our goal is to continue to be apart of the Bay Area film arts community and showcase local talent, while bringing international and popular films to our audience. We hope to broaden Black LGBT visibility in film and expose the viewing public to entertaining and thought provoking films/documentaries about our diverse Black LGBT community.
Source: Oakland Black LGBT Film Festival