An opportunity to reconsider our connections with the earth, the economy, with each other, & with that that brings us together — food.

Written by Pam Uzzell

Hunts Point Food Distribution Center in the Bronx is comprised of three independent cooperative markets: the Hunts Point Cooperative Meat Market, the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market, and the New Fulton Fish Market, each of which in turn sublets space to various private distributors and vendors. Image from “How the Coronavirus is Affecting New York City’s Food Supply Chain” courtesy The New Yorker.

This pandemic has brought home our relationship to food; not only does it affect our ability to easily find food in our markets, but also the role of restaurants as places where we nourish our bodies and share the ritual of eating with friends, family, and neighbors. The loss of the communal space of restaurants has been felt keenly by all. This film and panel program provided the opportunity to hear from those fighting to keep independent restaurants alive and a glimpse into the frontline work of food supply workers risking their lives to keep grocery…

Narrative Justice As Resistance When Exclusion Is Set In Stone

Written by Shijia Bobby Lu

“Where The Pavement Ends” investigates the material and nonmaterial repercussions of a physical barricade between Ferguson and Kinloch, MO. Still from “Where The Pavement Ends” courtesy the Director.

Closing out the 2021 SF Urban Film Fest, the Where the Pavement Ends panel discussion brought together artist and educator Jane Gillooly; social justice artist, photographer, and creator of the Folded Map Project, Tonika Johnson; UC Berkeley Assistant Professor of Geography and Global Metropolitan Studies Dr. Brandi Summers; and University of San Francisco professor and SF Urban Film Fest Humanities Advisor Ronald Sundstrom (who moderated) in conversation around the film that gave this program its name.

Directed by Jane Gillooly, the Where the Pavement Ends documentary tells the story of racial and physical separation between…

Cinematic Memories of Social Transformations Under COVID-19

Written by Richard Davis

“A Pandemic of Opportunity: What & How to Change the Public Realm,” was presented as a virtual roundtable in association with a physical installation on the street-facing walls of YBCA: Mourning is an Act of Love, on display outdoors at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) through May 7, offers diverse perspectives on memorials and inter-generational memory, with an attention to the remembrance of those lost to COVID-19. Quarantine-imposed isolation, outdoor social distancing, and a profound emphasis on the power of collective gathering for social change has prompted a reevaluation of urban public space.


Recognizing the Legacy and Future of Native Americans in the Bay Area

Written by Richard Davis, Edited by The American Indian Cultural District Staff

Multigenerational activists raise a tipi honoring the 1969 Native Occupation of Alcatraz Island. Still from “The People’s Home,” courtesy the Director.

Today, non-Native San Franciscans are guests on the unceded ancestral homeland of the Ramaytush Ohlone, the traditional stewards and original habitants of Yelamu, also known as San Francisco. The SF Urban Film Fest (SFUFF) pays its respects to the Ramaytush Community by affirming their sovereign rights as First Peoples. …

Written by Nix Guirre & Fay Darmawi

Photo by South of Market Community Action Network (SOMCAN)

Multigenerational. Families. Community.

Those are the words that kept coming up during the SF Urban Film Fest’s (SFUFF) Level 2 storytelling workshop produced in collaboration with SOMA Pilipinas Cultural Heritage District (SOMA Pilipinas). SOMA Pilipinas was established as a cultural heritage district in 2016, an official designation recognized by the City of San Francisco and the state of California. The formation of the SOMA Pilipinas came out of a coalition of residents, small businesses, and nonprofits fighting displacement and gentrification in the South of Market (SOMA). Each cultural district is required to create…

Written by Adam Mayer, Fay Darmawi, & Omeed Manocheri

Proposition 15 was a California ballot measure in the November 2020 election that aimed to amend the state’s Constitution to adjust the limitations on property taxes introduced by the 1978 California Proposition 13. Colloquially referred to as ‘split roll,’ Proposition 15 would have increased taxes on large commercial properties by assessing them at market value. Analysts projected that this would have raised 11.5 billion dollars for California’s public schools, community colleges, and other government services.

For this SFUFF program, panelists Ynze Bijl, a producer and director for campaign ads, and Tenoch…

Written by Adam Mayer, Fay Darmawi, & Omeed Manocheri

The 2021 SF Urban Film Fest brought audiences several new program types. Virtual formats that have been in development for some time and became a necessity in response to social distancing and shelter-in-place guidelines due to the COVID19 pandemic. Among the new formats, which provided a broader audience with new engagement opportunities, was the interactive watch party. In this session, “The City” — a short film from 1939 and based on urban historian Lewis Mumford’s ideas — was simultaneously broadcast with live commentary from two remote panelists. …

Is It Enough To Uplift A Voice? How Do We Take Action With Storytelling?

digital illustration of two people with bald heads wearing bandana face masks and kissing
digital illustration of two people with bald heads wearing bandana face masks and kissing
Still from Primavera by Adrian Garcia Gomez. Image copyright of the artist, courtesy of Video Data Bank,, School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

When the pandemic hit, we saw how cities across the country struggled to adapt, to reevaluate their priorities, and provide resources for the most vulnerable. We wondered too if we needed to pivot on our mission and activities: if our communities are in crisis, what can we contribute immediately to support them? In reflection, we ultimately found that in doing what we do best, bringing people together and sharing their stories, we could continue to be an active catalyst in reinforcing necessary change.

So we turned to the streets, to our communities, and to the people who have been fighting…

What better way to celebrate the legacy of everyday heroes that brought joy and life to the Bayview than a night of musical performances and interactive murals?

Written by Iris Crawford

The scene outside of Laughing Monk Brewing the night of “City is Alive”, featuring an interactive motion capture mural projected on the side of the building; photo by Lucas Bradley

Entitled “City is Alive”, SF Urban Film Fest in partnership with Young Community Developers, Imprint City, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, created a night of storytelling that featured two multi-layered video projections — the first was the BayviewLIVE hip-hop concert and the second was a series of interactive videos of historic murals that celebrate the legacy of everyday heroes who brought resources and joy to the Bayview. These heroes include the Big Six, Lenora LeVon, Santie Huckaby and the Bayview community coming together to restore a beloved mural, Tuzuri Watu. The event, held on…

How Young Community Developers Built a Coalition for Action Using Film

Workshop participant, Maria Judice, presenting her group's proposal. Photo by Shantre Pinkney

At its core, this is a story about building generational wealth, power, and agency for the Black community in San Francisco.

Where do white papers go? Not unlike a resolution passed behind closed chamber doors (res·o·lu·tion noun. implying an unstoppable path to realization) white papers unfollowed by appropriate action mean little to anyone. Convening around a small table at the Young Community Developers (YCD) office, a seemingly eclectic group of people considered just this — how might they organize YCD’s network around a white paper addressing housing needs in the Bayview?

SF Urban Film Fest

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