The Core Team brings rich backgrounds in civic innovation, urban planning, housing finance, media, filmmaking, and the humanities. We work year-round planning our events and curating our programming, and during the festival season, a small army of volunteers help us with photography, marketing, ticket sales, audience surveys, and more. Have a question about how a film festival gets produced? Email us.
Fay Darmawi is a film festival producer, community development banker, and urban planner interested using all forms of storytelling and media to create lasting social change. She is the Founder and Executive Producer of the SF Urban Film Fest, a film festival focused on civic engagement inspired by great storytelling. Her 25-years of experience as a leader in affordable housing finance, including managing the low income housing tax credit platform for Silicon Valley Bank, as well as 5-years of screenwriting training, informs her media-related work. She is a screenwriter alumni of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, a Yerba Buena Center for the Arts community fellow and was recently awarded a National Arts Strategy Creative Community Fellowship. Fay served on the Boards of Directors of Chinatown Community Development Corporation and the American Institute of Architects San Francisco Chapter, and is currently on the Board of Livable City organizing ten Sunday Streets open streets events per year in San Francisco. Fay is the recipient of the Community Alliance Award from the American Institute of Architects San Francisco Chapter, and the Special Recognition Award for Accomplished Planner from the American Planning Association, California Northern Chapter. Fay’s formal urbanist training is from M.I.T. and the University of Pennsylvania but her love of cities is from her childhood growing-up in the epicenter of Jakarta, Indonesia.
Robin Abad Ocubillo is an Urban Designer and Planner with a passion for film. His career has focused largely on public space design, management, and policy. Currently with SF Planning, he manages the Central Waterfront-Dogpatch Public Realm Plan, a multi-agency effort to scope and program streetscape and open space infrastructure projects into the City’s capital implementation plan. He also serves as the Lead Policy Planner for Places for People, the first municipal placemaking ordinance of its kind in the country for amplifying tactical urbanism activity in San Francisco’s streets and open lots. Prior to his current role at the San Francisco Planning Department, Robin worked with LADOT People St. and the Mayor’s Great Streets Project on advocacy and performance evaluation of projects throughout L.A. Before that, he served for several years as a Project Manager in the Golden Gate National Parks, working on cultural landscape and visitor access projects at sites throughout Bay Area parklands.
Kristal Çelik is a first-generation Turkish-American serving as the Festival Manager and Program Producer for the SFUFF. With a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley, she has a background in clean energy engineering. Rooted in the Bay Area, she focuses much of her energy on continually learning and unlearning about the bioregion she occupies. Kristal is particularly grateful to participate in local interdisciplinary community-based organizations. She works on environmental justice issues in the Bayview Hunters-Point area, counsels on tenants’ rights at the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, and is a long-time peer support volunteer with the Shanti Project.
Omeed Manocheri is a first generation Iranian-American multimedia producer and entrepreneur born in California and living in San Francisco. He moved to San Francisco for its culture and to attend the Academy of Art University, graduating with a BA in Multimedia Communications. His ongoing projects include: Maker City, a social-impact and advocacy firm focused on closing the skills gap in American cities; Heart of the City, a documentary film and social news platform investigating San Francisco’s socioeconomic divide in the Tenderloin neighborhood and its adjacent districts; Daily Kabob, a new digital platform on a mission to inform, entertain, and unify the MENA and DESI communities; and Giant Steps, an innovative music residency uniting musicians from across the globe to create social impact music.
Omeed is low-key obsessed with the American Dream.
Susannah Smith is a documentary filmmaker with a focus on stories about the importance of place for often-marginalized urban communities. In particular, she is interested in exploring the ways race and sexuality intersect with the politics of gentrification and sustainable cities. In addition to her work with SFUFF producing, directing, and curating multi-media events (City Is Alive, let me tell you what home looks like, The Stories We Will Tell, 2020 Festival Manager), she is the Assistant Editor & Archive Researcher on the Pete Nick’s film, HOMEROOM, premiering at Sundance 2021, was a 2018 BAVC National MediaMaker Fellow, and is currently working on a feature film about SF’s legendary Lexington Club. Her films have been featured at festivals and online nationally, including at SFFILM, Q-films Long Beach, Bernal Heights Outdoor Film Festival, SF Streetsblog, and by the UC Critical Sustainabilities Group. She holds an MA in Social Documentation from UC Santa Cruz, and a BA in Installation Art from Hampshire College.
Ronald R. Sundstrom is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of San Francisco. He is also a member of USF’s African American Studies program and teaches for the university’s Honors College. He is the Humanities Advisor for the SF Urban Film Festival and a co-convener of the Black Philosophy Consortium; additionally, he is involved with academic organizations seeking to build bridges between academic philosophy and public policy, such as the Public Philosophy Network, the North American Society for Social Philosophy, and the Philosophy of the City Research Group. His areas of research include philosophy of race, political and social philosophy, justice and ethics in urban policy, and African American and Asian American philosophy. He published several essays and a book in these areas, including The Browning of America and The Evasion of Social Justice (SUNY 2008). His current book project is titled, Just Shelter: Integration, Gentrification and Racial Equality (Oxford, forthcoming).