The New Parkway Theater is hosting its first “Oakland Week” from September 16th-22nd. Titles that are chosen for the series include films created by Oakland filmmakers, films that star Oakland actors, documentaries and stories that are set or shot in the town. As Oakland is a city known for its social justice spirit, many of the films that wee selected are on the political side, examining race, poverty, and other socioeconomic issues.
Fruitvale Station, which tells the story of Oscar Grant’s murder by the BART police, will screen several times throughout the week, and BlackOut for Human Rights will host a post-film discussion on Monday, September 19th. Waiting Room, which documents events in Highland Hospital’s under-resourced emergency room is also on the calendar. To round out the selection, there will also be screenings of cultural films like East Side Sushi, which was a recent film festival favorite set entirely in Oakland. Plus lighter films like ’80s movie classic Big, starring Oakland-native Tom Hanks.
The New Parkway Theater identifies itself as somewhere within the gray area between “New Oakland” and historical Oakland and is seen by many as an important Oakland staple. The New Parkway Theater was founded in 2012, following the original Speakeasy Parkway Theater’s closure in 2009. J Moses Ceaser, owner of the New Parkway, led the grassroots community effort to fundraise and reopen the theater. The New Parkway has prided itself on being a place for the community and offers free community activities every weeknight and have made it a point to offer fresh, local food and craft beverage options on their menu.
Their general manager and Bay Area native Diane Tadano spoke about the need for an Oakland-centered series like this. “As gentrification and cultural change in Oakland have increased rapidly over the past few years. During these times of change, it’s important to showcase the diversity and beauty of Oakland and its residents. Oakland is resilient and we plan on being consciously committed to upholding the spirit of Oakland and maintaining a valuable connection to the community.”
Find the full list of films here.