Thursday, March 27, 2008

Fifth Annual African-American Film Festival!

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 retrospective of Sayles’ work. 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:

· Filmmaker Donnie L. Betts will share a retrospective of Sayles’ work before the festival’s opening night event. 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 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

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