Strong Second Act

The San Francisco Black Film Festival suffered a major setback two years ago with the death of founder and guiding force Ave Montague. Yet any concerns for the fest’s long-term survival have been erased by the cracking program assembled for its 13th edition. (Born under a bad sign? Not a chance.) Angry young man turned middle-aged sage Mario Van Peebles pours a double shot of poignant dramas, starting with Things Fall Apart (9:30 p.m. at the Delancey Screening Room). The opening-night film is a stunning showcase for 50 Cent, who co-wrote the screenplay and reportedly dropped 50 pounds to play a college football superstar diagnosed with heavy-duty cancer. Van Peebles’ earthy 2010 yarn, Black, White and Blues (8:30 p.m. Saturday at Delancey), stars Morgan Simpson (who also co-wrote the script) as a hard-living young musician accompanied by older, wiser Michael Clarke Duncan on a blues-and-country-steeped journey through the South. Closer to home, Straight Outta Hunters Point 2 (7 p.m. at the Lumiere, preceded by a reception) finds documentary filmmaker Kevin Epps reporting on the state of his district nearly a decade after his heralded debut. Somehow, it seems appropriate that maturity and mortality are front and center at this year’s SFBFF.
June 17-19, 2011

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