Storytelling for Equitable Urban Futures

The SF Urban Film Fest gathers a diverse, engaged audience and uses the power of storytelling to spark discussion and civic engagement around urban issues. We ask what it means to live together and create just and equitable cities.

How We Got Started

SF Urban Film Fest was born from the vision of Fay Darmawi, an immigrant from Jakarta, Indonesia. Fay’s impactful career in the affordable housing industry saw her leading the financing of over 10,000 low-income units from the early 1990s until the dissolution of redevelopment agencies by then-Governor of California Jerry Brown in 2012. This significant shift in funding sources, particularly affecting affordable housing, propelled Fay into action.

Witnessing the looming homelessness crisis, Fay harnessed the transformative power of film and storytelling to catalyze a crucial conversation. Drawing inspiration from how the film “An Inconvenient Truth” had mainstreamed discussions around climate change, Fay envisioned doing the same for the pressing issues of housing justice through a film festival. In 2014, armed with a dedicated team of volunteers and donated space, SF Urban Film Fest took its first steps, hosting an inaugural festival featuring four events that captivated 200 attendees over a long weekend.

Fast forward to 2023, and SFUFF proudly reflects on a journey that has engaged nearly 11,000 Bay Area residents through 138 in-person events, plus 11,500 individuals worldwide through 41 virtual and hybrid events, as we continued to engage our diverse audiences during the pandemic.


Recognition for Outstanding Service, California Assemblymember David Chiu, 2018

YBCA 100, 2019

Field & Movement Building Award,  BAVC Media/Reel Stories, 2023


SFUFF’s practice revolves around community engagement through film and storytelling. We believe it takes folks from a range of sectors and lived experiences to create narratives and build power to forge sustainable and equitable solutions rooted in place. Learn more about our team members below:

Fay Darmawi

Founder & Executive Producer

LB Byrd

Production Manager

Kristal Çelik

Program Producer

Omeed Manocheri

Program Producer

Robin Abad Ocubillo

Program Producer

Abigail Pañares

Program Producer

Susannah Smith

Program Producer

Ronald R. Sundstrom

Humanities Advisor

We thank the following volunteers for their hard work and enthusiasm in current and past years:

Shalini Agrawal, Anjeliqueca Bajita, Aireen Batungbakal, Amy Beinart, Austin Blackwell, Miguel Cedeno, Mu-Ping Cheng, Emma-Marie Chiang, Chris Cummings, Nabi Cheung-Cuono, Sarah Danson, Nikki Diaz, Julie Doherty, Colin Dunne, Connor Eichten, Destiny Evans, Ken Fisher, Jamon Franklin, Sebastian Galasso, David Garcia, Alizia Gonzalez, Judy Graboyes, Alesia Hsiao, Lian Ladia, Nate Love, Omar Masry, Reetu Mody, John Moody, Hannah Moore, Rafael Murillo, Isa Nakasawa, Nazanin Nematollahi, Hilda Ngan, Darin Ow-Wing, Kavya Palepu, Shantré Pinkney, Jimmy Ramirez, Serginho Roosbald, Ilaria Salvadori, Jon Schwark, Stephen Severon, Avni Shah, Anne Simmons, Joseph Smooke, Mindy Splatt, Reanna Tong, Robert Ungar, Rob Ungar, Erica Waltemade, Keith Wilson, Nic Winstead, Jason Wyman, Alex Zimmer

SFUFF in the Press

December 2023

September 2023

August 2023

July 2023

June 2023

May 2023

March 2023

February 2022

May 2021

April 2021

February 2021

January 2021

December 2020

October 2020

June 2020

January 2020

July 2019

March 2019

April 2018

November 2017

September 2017

November 2016

October 2014

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