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To Oakland, With Love


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Filmmaker Mateen Kemet’s love letter to our oft-overlooked East Bay city, Oakland B Mine, debuts this month on the giant media wall of Oakland International Airport’s Southwest terminal. Commissioned by the Port of Oakland, the 10-minute short tells the story of an African American woman named Oakland whose beauty bewitches a stranger at the same baggage claim area where the film will play.

A cat-and-mouse flirtation ensues throughout an urban wonderland that ranges from the picturesque (Montclair, Shoreline Park) to the eclectic (dancers at Esther’s Orbit Room). It’s an unconventional travelogue meant to subvert stereotypes. “Oakland isn’t just 98th and International,” says Kemet, 42. “It’s also Lake Merritt, Rockridge, Piedmont Avenue.”

After an extensive casting call, Kemet found Erinn Anova (pictured), who Kemet says embodied the “mischievous soulfulness” of the city he has called home for two decades. He hopes Oakland B Mine will capture the attention of the terminal’s estimated 10 million travelers during its yearlong run. “It’s a success if they see one thing that makes them say, ‘Wow, that’s in Oakland?’ ”

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