Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Joséphine Baker: Black Diva in a White Man’s World (Germany, 2006; 45 min.)

Annette von Wangenheim, Director

A WDR (Westdeutschser Rundfunk) television production

The Langston Hughes African American Film Festival, in cooperation with the Seattle Art Museum Community Partnership

Program presents the Seattle premiere of Annette von Wangenheim's documentary. An examination of Baker's life and performance, both as a mirror of European colonial fantasies and as a symbol of the 20th century's Black consciousness movement.

Tuesday, January 26 at 7:30 PM at the Seattle Art Museum, downtown Seattle, 1300 First Avenue. Admission: suggested donation of $5 at the door. A panel discussion with visual and performing artists will follow the screening.

This documentary focuses on Joséphine Baker's life and work from a black perspective and presents the artist both as a mirror of European colonial fantasies and as a symbol of the worldwide black consciousness movement of the 20th century. Pioneers of black dance, such as Geoffrey Holder, Arthur Mitchell, Carmen de Lavallade, Maurice Hines and Elsa Wolliaston, recall their stage appearances and encounters with Baker; biographers and historians comment on well-known and unknown footage and photographs. Clichés that have persisted to this day are deconstructed and the underlying facts are set in a new historical context. Joséphine Baker was the first black diva who thought and acted in global dimensions. She became a star in Europe and a world-wide symbol of peace and a better understanding among nations and different cultures.

The Langston Hughes African American Film Festival (LHAAFF) is an annual event presented by the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center in central Seattle. The LHAAFF presents films from independent filmmakers from around the world. The LHAAFF features panel discussions, screenplay readings, training workshops, matinée screenings for middle and high school youth and in-depth discussions with filmmakers, industry professionals and local community leaders.

The Underground Railroad, a project of the annual Langston Hughes African American Film Festival, is a fall - through -winter film and discussion series. Using the metaphor of a series of strategically located "Safe Houses" in Seattle neighborhoods, the Underground Railroad is a series of intimate screenings designed to build community across the aisle and across neighborhoods. Each Safe House along the trail brings forth a different provocative work about African American life, leading to 'freedom' at the annual Langston Hughes African American Film Festival in April. www.langstonblackfilmfest.org