What to see at the 2022 Oakland International Film Festival

When the Oakland International Film Festival launched in the fall of 2002, one of the intentions of its organizers was to honor the diversity that has made Oakland a breeding ground for artistic talent and cultural movements. Twenty years later, its mission remains the same. So it’s no surprise that this year’s film lineup includes We were Hyphy, a documentary realized by Larry Madrigal and produced by Jason O’Mahony. The film chronicles the Oakland origins of the hyphy movement – a scene that dominated Bay Area hip hop sound and culture in the late 90s and 2000s – told by those directly involved or who are became adults at that time.

2022 Oakland International Film Festival

From Thursday September 15 to Saturday September 24.

See all the programming and buy tickets here.

We were Hyphy screens at the Grand Lake Theater on Wednesday, September 21.

To buy tickets here.

“We view Oakland as a city that represents culture, freedom and justice,” said festival co-founder and director David Roach. “We carry that theme, and the movies that come to us often are in that particular space.”

We were Hyphy will be projected on Wednesday September 21to Grand Lake Theateras well as two other Oakland films: Free Nias and The god(s) of the game.

For Madrigalseeing the film screened at Grand Lac is a dream come true.

“Looking back, when we started as a team, I thought of it as this whimsical fantasy: How cool would it be to play at the Grand Lake Theater?” said Madrigal. “That was the goal from the start.”

For Roach, presenting the documentary at this year’s festival was a no-brainer. “We’re feeling hyphy right now the more we talk about it. There’s so much culture in Oakland, and it’s often not celebrated,” he said. to be a platform to let the world know that Oakland is unique.”

Madrigal came of age during the hyphy era and grew up as a fan of the music and culture around it. But it was O’Mahony, with whom Madrigal had worked on previous video projects, who first suggested making a film about the movement.

“I was always telling stories to Jason, and he was fascinated by it. I used to send him Mac Dre songs and side show snippets when we were at work,” Madrigal said. “Then he approached me one day and said, ‘You should do a little short film about the hyphy movement. If you want to direct, I’ll produce it. And I said, yeah, that sounds good.

The duo began working on the project in 2018, often working shifts on weeknights and weekends. What started as a short turned into a full-length documentary featuring heavyweights of the day as producers Rick Rock, Trackacademics, Droop-Eand the Oakland rapper Mistah FAB. The filmmakers also researched the cultural and academic perspectives of Pendarvis Harshaw, KQED reporter and Sacramento State University scholar-activist Dr. Andrea L. Moore.

“It’s 100% a function of what a brilliant storyteller Larry is. I think he’s done an amazing job of capturing the hyphy movement,” O’Mahony said. was so integrated, and I wasn’t at all. The film does a good job of bridging that gap between people who know what hyphy is and those who don’t – there’s a kind of wonderful universality to that.

The pandemic slowed the project down, and as a result, post-production wasn’t completed until last spring. He made his debut soon after at Cinequest Film Festival in the South Bay in April.

Madrigal and O’Mahony said they have over 80 hours of footage that was not used in the film that they hope audiences will see at some point, possibly in future productions.

“I hope this inspires more people to make more hyphy movies,” Madrigal said. “You can have a show where each episode is about a different part of the culture. There’s so much that we couldn’t incorporate.

We Were Hyphy Trailer of Larry Madrigal on Vimeo.

In his two decades at the helm of the festival, Roach has seen how advances in technology have helped democratize the filmmaking process, resulting in more content than ever before.

“In the past, we had to shoot a movie and you needed someone who specialized in editing to edit the movie,” Roach said. “Now people have non-linear systems like Premiere and Adobe and other kinds of software that people can afford. There’s such an abundance of stories being told, so now you have the problem of accessing to so much content. What are we going to do with that? We’re trying to figure that out.

In addition to stories about culture, Roach has seen an increase in shorts and feature films that focus on pressing social justice issues like climate change, food justice, and Indigenous land rights. This is one of the reasons why he chose to have a screening at Liberty Farmers Market at Temescal, a non-traditional location for a film festival but one that embodies the values ​​of social justice embedded in many films this year.

“We are also trying to educate the market. It welcomes African American farmers and other minority farmers,” Roach said. “We hope people will come out and support the films and connect with the people providing the food.”

Roach plans to use the festival’s 10-day run as an opportunity for greater community engagement among residents and small businesses in movie theater districts. On opening night, social gatherings are planned along Grand Avenue in partnership with the festival. “People can expect Lakeshore and Grand Avenue to become a movie hub,” he said. “Also, a real central part of our festival is the Q&A sessions that follow.”

The film festival starts September 15 at the Grand Lake Theater and culminates with the screening of the film American Pot Story: Oaksterdam to Fox Theater on Saturday, September 24.

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