Sunday, March 30, 2008

2008 LHAAFF begins April 12!

Festival Runs: April 12 – April 20, 2008
Opening Reception & Special Guest: Donnie L. Betts (4/12; 7:00)
Closing Reception & Special Guest: Charles Burnett (4/20; 7:00)

SEATTLE –Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center (LHPAC) will host its Fifth Annual African American Film Festival, featuring a powerful lineup of documentaries, narratives, film shorts and animation. The festival is thrilled to announce that
Honeydripper , a film by John Sayles will be featured on Opening Night April 12th. Audience members will get the rare opportunity to see behind the scenes footage of the film and filmmaker Donnie L. Betts will be on hand to share a "making of" insight into the film. On April 20th the festival will wrap with a special showing of Namibia: The Struggle for Liberation and the film’s director, Charles Burnett will be on hand to discuss his work.

The African American Film Festival runs nine consecutive nights from April 12th – 20th and all the showings will take place at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center. The festival includes a record number of entries from emerging and established filmmakers from around the world. The selection of powerful, diverse, intelligent and evocative films will include a robust shorts program designed to give rise to the emergent filmmaking voice, and a wide array of talkbacks, panels and receptions provide a much needed bridge for artists and community patrons to engage in meaningful dialogue.

This annual event is expected to draw over 1000 people who are passionate about creating and appreciating films by and about Black people in the world . The Festival spotlights over 40 feature-length and short films by independent filmmakers, and includes panel discussions, readings, special screenings for senior & youth and the rare opportunity to chat face-to-face with prominent filmmakers, industry professionals and community leaders.

“Our goal for each year’ is to present as wide, and as honest, a variety of portrayals of Black life as possible.’ said Zola Mumford, the festival’s curator. “People of African descent are doing all sorts of interesting things all over the world; and this little gem of a festival invites audiences to learn and expand their view of the African experience.”

A few of the films & workshops currently scheduled include:
Honeydripper is a Rock n’ Roll fable about Guitar Sam set in 1950’s Alabama. It is directed by John Sayles, stars Danny Glover and features music by Keb Mo
• The Seattle premiere of
Namibia: The Struggle for Liberation. An epic tale by legendary director Charles Burnett about the rise of Sam Nujoma, the first President of Namibia. Burnett will be on hand to discuss his work
• Seattle filmmaker
Eddie Smith premieres two films, Man to Man, a psychological drama; and Behind Closed Doors, a courtroom drama exploring racial identity.
Women Together as One by Gilda Sheppard is a documentary about Liberian women refugees and child soldiers
• Seattle poet and filmmaker
Stacey Tolbert premieres Got Breast?
Pariah is a coming-of-age drama about a lesbian teenager who unsuccessfully juggles multiple identities to avoid rejection from her friends and family.
Adopted by Aliens Animators Shawnee and Shawnelle Gibbs will be in town to host an animation workshop
Alonzo Crawford, Howard University Cinematography Professor and filmmaker will also host a film workshop

Photos and background info on these, and other films are available upon request. A complete list of films and schedules will be released in early April.

All festival activities take place at the historic Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center on 17th & Yesler (104 17th Ave. S). The opening night event, Honeydripper begins at 7 pm. The closing night event, Namibia also begins at 7 pm. All evening showtimes are 7:00 pm. Matinees are at 4:00 M-F and 2:00 pm Sat. & Sun. Tickets are $ 7 for adults $5 for seniors and $2 for youth. An all-access “Langston Pass” is $75. Film details and ticketing information are available at or by calling 206-326-1088.

The African American Film Festival is supported by The Lucky 7 Foundation, Seattle Parks and Recreation, 4 Culture, the Washington State Arts Commission, the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, and a host of local businesses and organizations. The Langston Hughes African American Film Festival gives Northwest audiences a chance to view a diverse array of irreverent, poignant, provocative documentary films on topics such as youth, politics, history, social justice and relationships.
About the Langston Hughes African American Film Festival: The Langston Hughes African American Film Festival supports community building by providing opportunities for artists and audiences to connect using the medium of film as a catalyst for dialogue that leads to social change. The festival creates year round opportunities to enhance media literacy, self reflection, and community discussion. By creating the shared experience of films that are by and about black people, the festival is a creative and collaborative opportunity to build cultural competency across the aisle and across neighborhoods in greater Seattle.

About Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center: Established in 1969 as a dynamic and creative cultural arts center under the Model Cities, Urban Renewal program the Center provides a cultural institution in Seattle’s Central Area, where arts specific to the African American experience could be taught, explored, expressed, and enjoyed by all. LHPAC has been at the core of experimental, cutting edge, traditional, and emerging art forms for more than 35 years. LHPAC became a program of Seattle Parks and Recreation in 1972. It has been a core gathering place for an African American cannon of work in a neighborhood that has seen numerous demographic changes over the past three decades. The Center remains committed to championing that voice and building powerful connections with the diverse cultures in our community. This is accomplished through the creation of dynamic performing arts experiences for all. LHPAC partners with organizations such as: The Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas, Seattle Public Schools, the Paramount Theater, Book-It-Repertory Theater, ReAct Theater, the Seattle Symphony, Earshot Jazz and many more organizations that share our commitment to quality programming for a diverse audience.