Brief History of the Oakland Film Society
After The Roach Brother’s (Mack, Paul and David Roach screened the feature film Sydney Byrd Private Eye, in other film festival’s and hosting screenings locally in the Bay Area in pursuit of locating a distributor, David Roach came up with the concept of starting an Oakland International Film Festival and co-founded the Oakland Film Society with Johnny Drake and Sharon Norwood in 1996.
The Oakland Film Society later partnered with The Film Life in New York to showcase films in the Bay Area that had previously screened in the American Black Film Festival. Black Cinema Cafe was a 12 city circuit of independent promoters of independent films curated by The Film Life to representatives from those 12 cities to host a quarterly screening of their films. The Black Cinema Cafe team in Oakland consisted of: Kwame Wade, Wayne Green, Paula Harrell , Johnny Drake and David Roach.
After a couple of years of hosting Black Cinema Cafe in the Bay Area, 911 hit and so did the sponsors of Black Cinema Cafe. However, from the above experience and improvements in technology, The Oakland Film Society believed the film community in Oakland had grown to a level where the film festival “concept” was time to become a reality. The 1st Oakland International Film Festival was held in October of 2002 at the Grand Lake Theater.
We realize now, more than ever the important role The Oakland International Film Festival role has played in the City of Oakland and with this role the responsibility we have of being a channel for independent filmmakers and the stories they tell. Since 2002, thousands continue to attend the Oakland International Film Festival each year. Oakland filmmakers and filmmakers from around the world continue to benefit from contacts made during The Oakland International Film Festival.
To improve Oakland and the world around, we also realize we cannot continue to operate the Oakland International Film Festival with a shoestring budget. Please consider donating to The Oakland Society. We are a non-profit organization in the State of California. Our fiscal sponsor is The Familyhood Connection Inc. The Familyhood Connection Inc is a 501 c-3 corporation and the community partner of our mission of building Healthy Economics.