For over 30 years, the SFFILM Mel Novikoff Award is given to an individual or institution whose work has enhanced the film-going public’s appreciation of world cinema. The Mel Novikoff presentation will include Stanley Nelson and Marcia Smith in conversation with programmer and filmmaker Amber Love, followed by a screening of The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution.
Sat, Apr 15 at 3:15 pm
CGV San Francisco
3:15 pm: Award Presentation
3:45 pm: Screening
The SFFILM Mel Novikoff Award is given to an individual or institution whose work has enhanced the film-going public’s appreciation of world cinema. The 2023 Mel Novikoff Award celebrates Firelight Media, a nonprofit that supports filmmakers of color.
Stanley Nelson charts the Black Panther Party’s meteoric rise in the 1960s and its disintegration several years later.
Fed up with racial discrimination, poverty, and police brutality, Oakland’s urban Black youth were ready for radical change. For them, the BPP was the vehicle. Nelson’s film offers candid accounts by lesser known rank-and-file members—many of them women—who did the Black Panthers’ daily work. Packed with anecdotes and new revelations, the documentary captures the excitement of a time filled with idealism, internationalism, and impatience. Beyond explicating the party’s compelling political program, archival footage also reveals the members’ swaggering image and seductive style. With police brutality, the militarization of police departments, and government surveillance once again at the forefront of the American conversation, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution remains profoundly resonant. — Cornelius Moore, Festival 2015
Award-winning filmmakers Stanley Nelson and Marcia Smith founded Firelight Media in 1998 as a nonprofit documentary production company with a focus on telling stories seldom broached in mainstream media. Ten years later, the company adjusted its focus to concentrate on backing filmmakers of color, while Nelson led a new, for-profit documentary production house, Firelight Films. With labs, fellowships, and film funds, Firelight Media supports artists around the world. Their cohorrt includes 2022-2024 Firelight Documentary Fellows Silvia Del Carmen Castaños and Estefania “Beba” Contreras, whose debut feature, Hummingbirds, screens at this year’s Festival. Join SFFILM as the Novikoff Award returns to the festival and we celebrate Firelight Media for their enormous impact upon the independent film community.