Local exclusive: ABC7 News interviews director and star of film 'The Last Black Man in San Francisco'

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- In the middle of a loud and crowded café, ABC7 News sat down with two guys hoping to make more noise with their new film.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco was directed by Joe Talbot and stars Jimmie Fails. They're both San Francisco natives and best friends.

"It kind of just started out as an idea," Fails said.

Their idea has gotten pretty big. The film took home two awards from the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

Fails' life inspired the story about a fictional Jimmie Fails, who's obsessed with reclaiming the Victorian home his grandfather built in San Francisco. His family lost it.

"The people that are here make San Francisco great and if you start to lose those people, and they're such an important fabric of this city, then what is this city," Talbot said.

The film digs into what we see all over San Francisco-- gentrification, an affordability crisis and a shift in racial demographics. The title clearly doesn't shy away from the city's dwindling Black population.

"I'm losing my community in my hometown," Fails said. "I definitely felt like it needed to be mentioned."

Talbot called the film "unfortunately universal."

"We were getting letters from people in Atlanta, London, Paris, and New York who are saying these same things are happening here," Talbot said.

The film is also a story of friendship.

"I have a lot of friends here including me who are aspiring film makers," Phil Elleston II, a San Francisco native, said.

Elleston attended a workshop hosted by Talbot and Fails Wednesday night. The two were mentoring the next wave of film makers. They want to see more untold stories make it to the big screen.
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