San Francisco Black Film Festival
Heartbroken Due to Passing of Director Kali O'Ray
Kali O'Ray, Son of San Francisco Black Film Festival Founder Ave Montague
Succumbed to Heart Failure, not COVID-19 on
Friday, August 7, 2020
San Francisco- The early report that San Francisco Black Film Festival Director, Kali O'Ray died as a result of "COVID-19" is incorrect. He tested negative for the disease. The talented and passionate festival director died of a degenerative heart condition on Friday August 7, 2020.
The public's forbearance is continued to be requested as O'Ray's wife and Co-Director, Katera Crossley with her daughter, sons and family, need space and time to process their personal loss.
"We are shocked and deeply saddened, as those of us who have worked closely with Kali and Katera over the years feel as though we have been robbed of a talented, bright and endearing light," said Jackie Wright, Publicist and Community Relations Director. "Kali's artistic acumen is seen in his graphic design work and the websites of the San Francisco Black Film Festival and the San Francisco BayView Newspaper to name a few. Katera has lost her love and partner for life and is understandably devastated; so we ask everyone to please give her time and space to talk about how she'd like to pursue next steps. In the meantime, family, volunteers, friends, and fans of the San Francisco Black Film Festival are on standby to assist in any way we can."
Kali O'Ray and Katera Crossley moved to San Francisco from Atlanta after the untimely death of Ave Montague, O'Ray's mother and founder of the San Francisco Black Film Festival. After working with KBLX Radio Station on the "President Barack Obama West Inauguration Event" in January 2009, Montague was found deceased a few days later in her apartment in the Fillmore District of San Francisco, where she had founded the festival.
|Katera Crossley, Kali O'Ray San Francisco Black Film Festival Directors
Photo: Lea Suzuki, The Chronicle
As previously noted in the San Francisco Chronicle, O'Ray and Crossley worked diligently to keep the festival going with its mission to provide a multicultural platform to positively express the images and legacy of the African Diaspora worldwide: "The San Francisco Black Film Festival Is Not For Just One Race." With its theme "Healing the World One Film At A Time," to that end, the San Francisco Black Film Festival had just begun collaborations with the Durban Film Mart that will be online September 4-13, 2020 and Durban International Film Festival that will also be virtual, September 10 through September 20th due to the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic.
Live Talk @SFBFF's "Black Lives Matter Via "Riot! 1906 Atlanta" by Micah Penn was held yesterday to honor Kali O'Ray and to signify the intent of The San Francisco Black Film Festival to continue its work for social justice, career development for emerging artists, and promotion of established artists. It was noted during the program that the reading of "Riot! 1906 Atlanta" emanating from Atlanta, San Francisco and Dallas, planned prior to O'Ray's unexpected death served as a tribute to the memory of O'Ray who loved Atlanta where he had lived many years with his wife Katera. The live program also was signification that the festival would go on to serve it's embedded social justice mission to depict the African Diaspora worldwide eliminating negative stereotypes and living out its motto of "Healing The World One Film At A Time."
"We were pleased to use our artistry to honor Kali O'Ray and bring condolences to his wife, Katera Crossley and the San Francisco Black Film Festival in an effort to move forward the conversation for social justice," said playwright, musician, and actor, Micah Penn.
The San Francisco Black Film Festival sponsors to date include: San Francisco Arts Commission, California Arts Commission, Bill Graham Productions, Mayor London Breed, Key to the City of San Francisco, KPOO, KPFA, San Francisco BayView Newspaper, The Boom Boom Room, New Community Leadership Foundation, Inc., LaHitz Media, Film Bread, and Wright Enterprises.
The San Francisco Black Film Festival and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women San Francisco Chapter's Doris Ward Workforce Development Training and Employment Program have joined forces for the third year. Festival training participants are given opportunities in the area of customer service, media relations, and public relations. The National Coalition of 100 Black Women San Francisco Chapter and the San Francisco Black Film Festival thank InterEthnica, a multicultural Marketing & Design Firm that funded this year's program participants' stipends.
For more information about San Francisco Black Film Festival XXII, visit www.sfbff.org.
Condolences over the Internet have begun to flow via email and social media
"It was so very, very sad to read about Kali O'Ray. He has now joined his mother and may he rest in peace as those of us left have to
seek the Lord to help us in our time of grief."
Reverend Rochelle Frazier
"I'm so sorry. This is unbelievable. Whatever help Katera needs let me know. We are here for her."
New Community Leadership Foundation
"I was very saddened to hear this news. It took my breath away!"
Thomas Robert Simpson
Executive and Artistic Director
"I am so sorry to hear this news. Thomas shared the information with me this morning. What a loss for his family and the community.
African-American Shakespeare Company
"Rest in Power brother Kali O'Ray! A culture keeper of the people! You will be missed good brother! Our Condolences to the family!"
"Condolences to Katera and the family. Praying for your strength in the LORD. He will carry you through."
Dr. Maxine Hickman
National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. San Francisco Chapter
"Thank you for sharing this very sad news. I am in disbelief. If there is a public event to celebrate his life, please let me know. If donations in his name are being coordinated, let me know that as well."
Talent Manager &
"Please tell me how I can help. And please pass along huge love from the Bay View to Katera."
SF Bay View Editor
"Kali and Katera were masters of using social media to market, promote and showcase films on the internet, skills that were utilized this year when the entire festival was presented online." FB Tribute
"Maaan wish I wasn't making this post. Aaaaw man still dont quite believe it. In Community organizing field we are a fraternity or sorority by default. We run into each other , wind up working with each other. The rights of passage is the work that keeps us intersecting, the chase. "
San Francisco has a community of organizers , Black organizers .
I'm sorry to say we lost a member and I lost a friend in flesh
owner of the San Francisco Black Film Festival ..............
In the words of Kali "Alright Mon"
Shocked and heartbroken to learn about the death of Kali O'Ray. Kali brought such vision and commitment to the art world and community when he took over the SF Black Film Festival from his mother over 10 years. Along with his wife,Katera Crossley, they have been developing the Black Film Festival to be an important forum for activist and artistic voices of these times. Heartfelt condolences to Katera and the family.
Click Image for Sarah Allen's Tribute
"Please accept our heartfelt condolences from DIFF staff.
We sincerely trust that Kali O'Ray's family will find strength in these trying times."
Durban International Film Festival
"This is really sad news. Our sincere condolences to Kali O'Ray's family and the festival family. Lots of strength during this difficult period."
Jackie Wright, of Wright Enterprises, who has served for years as publicist and community relations director for the San Francisco Black Film Festival, apologizes for erroneously reporting the cause of death of Festival Director Kali O'Ray was due to COVID-19.
"It was with great grief that I wrote on Saturday 8/8/20 that Kali is no longer with us and I have the added sorrow that I included an inaccurate cause of death. I extend my condolences once again to the family. I regret any distress to the family of Kali O'Ray and all those affected by my error." Jackie Wright
About San Francisco Black Film Festival
Ave Montague (1945-2009), arts impresario, fashion industry executive, publicist, founded the San Francisco Black Film Festival in 1998. Montague created the San Francisco Black Film Festival, a nonprofit, with the artistic vision to provide a platform for Black filmmakers, screenwriters, and actors to present their art. As a competitive film festival, SFBFF identifies filmmakers, screenwriters, and actors that are emerging as talents and established artists who are of all races and contributors to the cinematic legacy of African Americans.
SFBFF conscientiously expands the notions of "Black film-making" to a global perspective. The organization is multicultural and inclusive of all in the expression of the African Diaspora experience. The San Francisco Black Film Festival has screened more than 10,000 films from around the world. Kali O'Ray (son of Ave Montague) and his wife Katera Crossley, both formerly of Atlanta, Georgia co-directed The San Francisco Black Film Festival.
The Mission of the San Francisco Black Film Festival is to celebrate African American cinema and the African Cultural Diaspora and to showcase a diverse collection of films - from emerging and established filmmakers. This is accomplished by presenting Black films, which reinforce positive images and dispel negative stereotypes, and providing film artists of all races from the Bay Area in particular and around the world in general, a forum for their work to be viewed and discussed. The San Francisco Black Film Festival believes film can lead to a better understanding of and communication between people of diverse cultures, races, and lifestyles, while simultaneously serving as a vehicle to initiate dialogue on the important issues of our times.
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