2013 Langston Hughes African American Film Festival features 50 films, 35 premieres

Filmmakers will talk about Garifuna April 19

Filmmakers will talk about Garifuna April 19

The 2013 Langston Hughes African American Film Festival is getting ready to launch a week of screenings, premieres and chats with established and up-and-coming black filmmakers.

For the first time, all films will be screened in the renovated and reorganized Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute at 17th and Yesler.

The festival gets under way April 13 and runs through April 21. Tickets are on sale now and cost $10 for adults ($5 for youth and seniors), or you can buy passes starting at $50.

Here’s the full (long) press release:

The Langston Hughes African American Film Festival (LHAAFF), a keystone program of the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, celebrates its 10th anniversary with a nine-day festival featuring over 50 feature-length and short films, 35 of which are either world or Seattle premieres. Black film luminaries from across the nation will convene in Seattle from April 13 to 21. Many films are either shot in the Northwest (The Blank Canvas) or directed by Northwesterners (Ali Allie, Elijah Hasan). For the first time in the festival’s history all activities will take place at the newly renovated Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (LHPAI) and record attendance is expected.  Details on all films, including show times and press photos, are available at langstoninstitute.org or by calling (206) 684-4758.

Many films will be screened together in mini-fests featuring shorts, family-friendly selections, and LGBTQ themed films among others. Tickets are $5 for seniors and youth under the age of 16 and $10 for adults. Gold, Silver and Bronze Festival passes range from $50 to $150. LHAAFF is curated by Zola Mumford.

The festival kicks off on Saturday, April 13 with a 30th anniversary screening of the sci-fi classic Brother from Another Planet. Actor Joe Morton will be in attendance to lead a Q&A discussion. On April 19 at 7 p.m. filmmakers Ali Allie and Ruben Reyes host a talkback at the Seattle Premiere of their film Garifuna in Peril. This film features a Garifuna language teacher struggling to preserve his endangered Afro-Amerindian culture by building a language school in his home village in Honduras but complications arise when a nearby tourist resort plans to expand. This is the first feature film with the majority of dialogue in Garifuna. The festival closes on April 21 with a presentation of actor/director Robert Townsend’s newest independent film In the Hive at 7 p.m. as well as a 4 p.m. screening of his 2009 film Why We Laugh.  Robert Townsend (director) and Cheryl West (screenwriter) will both be at the closing night screening of In the Hive.

Seattle and Northwest film/filmmakers featured, or in attendance, include: Bryan Johnson, Sharon Williams, and Robyn Johnson (What About Us 4/21 at 1 p.m.), Alonzo Crawford (Jake’s Wake 4/14 at 7 p.m.) Elijah Hasan (Laying Awake 4/17 at 9 p.m.), Bryan Tucker (Closure 4/18 at 4 p.m.), Dorothy Sekebira (Dole/The Doll 4/18 at 7 p.m.), Ali Allie and Ruben Reyes (Garifuna in Peril 4/19 at 7 p.m.), Rafael Flores (The Blank Canvas 4/20 at 7 p.m.).

A filmmakers panel discussion on Saturday, April 21 at 11 a.m. will feature Robert Townsend, Cheryl West, and NW filmmakers Bryan Johnson and Sharon Williams in an informative thought-provoking discussion on the Black independent filmmaker experience. Topics include online fundraising, Black characters in narrative film, and the ever-changing film distribution model. Tickets are $10 or free with a Gold Pass.


World Premieres

  • 4-1-9 (4/15 at 9 p.m.)
  • A Family Man (4/14 at 3 p.m.)
  • African Independence (4/15 at 4 p.m.)
  • All Me: The Life & Times of Winfred Rembert (4/19 at 4 p.m.)
  • Black Girls Code (4/14 at 3 p.m.)
  • Breezewood (4/14 at 1 p.m.)
  • From the Streets to the Fields (4/17 at 4 p.m.)
  • Home (4/19 at 9 p.m.)
  • Little House of the Big City (4/14 at 3 p.m.)
  • Living Jazz with Bill Saxton (4/15 at 7 p.m.)
  • NGUTU (4/14 at 1 p.m.)
  • Perfect Timing (4/15 at 9 p.m.)
  • Red White Black & Blue (4/14 at 3 p.m.)
  • SOLACE (4/18 at 9 p.m.)
  • Space Out (4/14 at 3 p.m.)
  • Stonefaced (4/15 at 7 p.m.)
  • The Art of Sound (4/19 at 4 p.m.)
  • The Blank Canvas (4/20 at 7 p.m.)
  • The Retrieval (4/20 at 4 p.m.)
  • The Silent Treatment (4/14 at 7 p.m.)
  • We Are Family (4/15 at 7 p.m.)

Seattle Premieres

  • Breaking Night (4/18 at 9 p.m.)
  • Docket 32357 (4/15 at 9 p.m.)
  • Even Me (4/16 at 7 p.m.)
  • FunkJazz Kafe: The Story of a Movement (4/20 at 9 p.m.)
  • Garifuna in Peril (4/19 at 7 p.m.)
  • Harlem (4/16 at 9 p.m.)
  • In Our Heads About Our Hair (4/18 at 7 p.m.)
  • Jake’s Wake (4/14 at 7 p.m.)
  • The Sunflower County Freedom Project (4/16 at 4 p.m.)
  • Laying Awake (4/17 at 9 p.m.)
  • Things Never Said (4/17 at 9 p.m.)
  • White Space (4/15 at 9 p.m.)
  • wishing… (4/18 at 9 p.m.)
  • WOW! Ted Joans Lives! (4/19 at 4 p.m.)
  • Yellow Fever (4/18 at 9 p.m.)

NGUTU (4 min.) Ngutu is a newspaper street vendor who hardly sells any copies at all. Resentful, he starts to closely watch passersby to make progress in his business. Breezewood (7 min.) Eight-year-old Frieda Brown has her first encounter with racism while stopping in Breezewood, Pennsylvania, as she and her parents travel from Ohio to Virginia in June of 1968. The Loving Story (77 min.) reveals how Mildred and Richard Lovings’ quest to live together as husband and wife in the state of Virginia was pivotal. As a white man and a part-Black, part-Rappahannock woman, their effort to live free of shame and exile reminds us of oppressed and exiled people everywhere. Never-before-seen footage and photographs of this very private couple reveal their story, and what it was like to marry as a mixed-race couple in the Jim Crow South.

Five films with a special appeal to teens and families (recommend for ages 9 and up) with intermission. In Space Out (11 min.) Damian struggles with learning disabilities and spaces out during a test, bringing together real-world high school experiences with a science fiction space fantasy. Family Man (3 min.) John L. Black, Sr. was a janitor for the Cincinnati public school system. He regularly put in 16-hour days to provide for his wife and eleven children. His son Samuel talks with his wife about his father’s lasting legacy and the power of a look. Black Girls Code (3 min.) tells of an organization that introduces young girls of color into the fields of science, technology and mathematics. Little House of the Big Cry (5 min.) is a fantasy story about two young people who discover a miniature house in their backyard with a little old man who is very sad. The video utilizes a blend of low- and high-tech visual effects with melodic music composed and performed by John Steiner. Red White Black & Blue (1 hour 21 min.) Thirty-eight high school students from South Los Angeles fly to New Zealand to play Rugby. The tour provides these American students and the Kiwi teams they battle a rare opportunity to dig beneath troubled histories, and rise up to lead. All become stronger for facing up to the challenge.

Fela Kuti: Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense (58 min.) In anticipation of Broadway Across America’s June presentation of the touring musical FELA!, the festival will screen this 1984 documentary that examines the extraordinary  life and music of the remarkable Nigerian artist Fela Kuti. He pioneered afrobeat music, embraced social justice themes and served as a prominent activist for human rights in Africa before dying in 1997 of complications from AIDS.  Nostalgia (15 min.) Gabe Robinson is a tap dance legend who struggles to hold onto his music and his muse, despite the fervent opposition and resentment of his loving son. Starring Dulé Hill (The West Wing, Psych). Living Jazz with Bill  Saxton (12 min.) is about a veteran saxophonist and his intimate Harlem Jazz Club called Bill’s Place. We Are Family (7 min.) In 2012, Chic guitarist and music producer Nile Rodgers threw a free pre-concert party for his fans – we get to experience the result.

SHORTS SHOWCASE – 4/15 at 9 P.M.
White Space (5 min.) follows the inner life of a deaf performance poet as he makes his debut at an open-mic night for a hearing audience. Perfect Timing (18 min.) Ken has always been late to important dates with his wife. On their 7th anniversary Ken promises to pick up his wife on time for their romantic rendezvous. Will he make it? Docket 32357 (14 min.) an estranged wife and a grieving mother discover an awful truth in a courtroom hallway. Junior (11 min.) Seven years after a police raid gone wrong, Detective Daniel Abrams Sr. and son Daniel Abrams Jr. are confronted with revenge-seeking Marvin Williams Sr. 4-1-9 (14 min.) centers around two British-Nigerian brothers, Ade and Segun. Ade is finally ending the illegal family business with his girlfriend Sophia at his side. Segun is at odds with this decision and his mom Tudi is taking no sides. Prima Facie (8 min.) is the story of two polarizing individuals whose lives collide on an ordinary day in a poverty stricken city. One man is desperate to make ends meet, while the other is desperate to get home to his lovely wife and daughter. They travel together and discover that things aren’t as they appear.

Three films and a filmmaker/community expert panel discussion address medical issues facing the African American communities. Even Me (24 min.) with guest filmmaker Megan Ebor provides an intimate portrait of ethnic minority older adults living with HIV/AIDS, in an effort to dispel perceptions of older adults as asexual and therefore not at risk. Ending the Silence (28 min.) with guest filmmaker Katherine Cheairs is a documentary shot over a period of five years that explores the impact of HIV/AIDS on the Black community. Bumming Cigarettes (22 min.) is a short film about a brief and intimate meeting between a young Black lesbian woman who is in the process of taking an HIV test and a middle aged Black gay HIV positive man. See what she experiences during her 10 minute wait for test results with a stranger, Jimmy.

Science Fiction & The Future Through the African, African American & Black British Lens
Special guest artist Gabriel Teodros and two sci-fi films delve into Afrofuturism and the Black presence in science fiction. Gabriel Teodros is an Ethiopian-American emcee, storyteller and teaching artist from Seattle’s Central District. His music is a combination of Hip Hop and Soul, desperation and vulnerability, imagination and Afrofuturism. Kenyan filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu’s Pumzi (22 min.) is set in a post-apocalyptic world where water is scarce and all life above ground is extinguished. One scientist investigates the possibility of germinating seeds beyond the confines of her repressive subterranean Nairobi culture. The Last Angel of History (45 min.) is an engaging and searing examination of the hitherto unexplored relationships between Pan-African culture, science fiction, intergalactic travel, and rapidly progressing computer technology. Director John Akomfrah’s analysis is rooted in an exploration of the cultural works of Pan-African artists, such as funkmaster George Clinton and his Mothership Connection, Sun Ra’s use of extraterrestrial iconography, and the very explicit connection drawn between these issues in the writings of black science fiction authors Samuel R. Delaney and Octavia Butler.

LADIES NIGHT – 4/18 at 7 P.M.
Dole/The Doll (5 min.) with guest filmmaker Dorothy Sekebira in attendance. Miss Divine (3 min.) two cousins recall the “ultimate” church lady. The only woman who scared them more than their grandmother. In our Heads About Our Hair (79 min.) is a documentary that examines, with candor and humor, Black women’s issues regarding hair and self-esteem. It advocates for the acceptance of all hairstyle choices including cancer survivors, women bald by choice, and women whose faith dictates that hair never be seen.

SHORTS SHOWCASE – 4/18 at 9 P.M.
wishing…(5 min.) tells of a man, in search of his lost bride, ushered into “another world” by two guardian angels. Why Do You Have Black Dolls (25 min.) is the award-winning debut documentary focusing on the little-known black doll community. It brings heart-warming and powerful stories of the doll history, beauty, and pride and shows black dolls as cultural artifacts that represent the history of the people they depict. Yellow Fever (7 min.) examines African women’s self-image, through memories and interviews. Mixed media is used to describe an almost schizophrenic self-visualization where homogeneous aspirations of beauty has resulted in distorted self-image across the planet. Solace (10 min.) Sole is a compulsive binge eater who is compelled to make friends with Jasmine her perfect, pretty neighbor. Breaking Night (7 min.); A girl flees a heavy situation at home with her boyfriend.  Return (10 min.) A young veteran returns from Iraq to his lower income, inner city community and finds difficulty re-adjusting to life back home. Mr. Stokes’ Mission (30 min.) A half-hour documentary about Civil Rights activist and educator John A. Stokes. On April 23, 1951, Stokes, then president of his senior class at the Robert Russo Moton High School in Farmville Virginia, helped organize and lead a walkout by students to protest inferior conditions for his fellow African-American students. His efforts contributed to the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling three years later, which banned segregation in public education.

LGBTQ MINI-FEST  in partnership with Sistah Sinema – 4/20 at 2 P.M.
Bumming Cigarettes (22 min.) Filmmaker Tiona McClodden will be in attendance to discuss her short film about a brief and intimate meeting between a young Black lesbian woman who is in the process of taking an HIV test and a middle aged Black gay HIV Positive man. See what she experiences during her 10 minute wait for test results with a stranger, Jimmy.  Difficult Love by visual artist Zanele Muholi (48 min.) is a highly personal take on the challenges facing black lesbians in South Africa today. This documentary offers a moving answer – and a compelling plea for understanding and tolerance. It counters the charge head-on that being lesbian or gay is “unAfrican” or unChristian.

Beginning as a weekend series, LHAAFF has expanded over the past decade to include nine days of film, workshops, filmmaker events and community celebrations renowned for presenting positive, provocative and penetrating independent films created by emerging and established filmmakers. Films are selected by panel and will feature contemporary and vintage offerings, as well as local and international filmmakers.  For more festival details visit www.langstoninstitute.org.

2 thoughts on “2013 Langston Hughes African American Film Festival features 50 films, 35 premieres

  1. Pingback: Today’s Links | Nubian Stylez

  2. You forgot to mention CLOSURE, which is a locally produced documentary and a World Premiere at LHAAFF :)