The 10th edition of Seattle’s Langston Hughes African American Film Festival kicks off a nine-day run on Saturday. For the first time, all festival events will be held at the freshly renovated Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute.
Opening night is an oldie but a goodie: John Sayles’ witty 1984 science-fiction satire, “The Brother from Another Planet,” whose versatile star, Joe Morton, plays the title role. He’s scheduled to attend, along with Mayor Mike McGinn. (7 p.m. April 13)
Closing night will be “In the Hive,” a new film by Robert Townsend, creator and star of 1987’s sharp sendup of racial stereotypes, “Hollywood Shuffle.” He will also attend, along with the film’s screenwriter, Cheryl West. The based-on-fact story of a North Carolina school for “throwaway boys,” it co-stars the late Michael Clarke Duncan in one of his last screen roles. (7 p.m. April 21)
Townsend’s 2009 film, “Why We Laugh,” will also get a rare screening. It features Chris Rock, Bill Cosby, Whoopi Goldberg, Eddie Murphy and many other comics who try to work through the puzzle suggested in the film’s title. (4 p.m. April 21)
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More than 50 films will be screened, including a “Brother”-like program: “Science Fiction and the Future Through the African, African American & Black British Lens.” It’s made up of two films: Kenyan filmmaker Wanuri Kahui’s “Pumzi,” about a water shortage in the near future, and John Akomfrah’s “The Last Angel of History,” an intergalactic-travel fantasy that will be presented by local music artist Gabriel Teodros. (7 p.m. April 17)
Another program with a theme, “LGBTQ Mini-Fest,” presented in partnership with Sistah Sinema, includes a couple of lesbian shorts. Tiona McClodden’s “Bumming Cigarettes” deals with HIV tests while Zanele Muholi’s “Difficult Love” addresses South African homophobia. (2 p.m. April 20)
A collection of documentaries focuses on racism and includes the feature-length “The Loving Story,” the true story of Mildred and Richard Lovings’ attempt to live together (he was white, she was part black) as a married couple in 1960s Virginia. (1 p.m. April 14)
Another collection, “Family Film Showcase, “ is aimed at ages 9 and up. It includes several shorts and the feature-length “Red White Black & Blue,” about a New Zealand rugby contest between American and Kiwi teams. (3 p.m. April 14)
Musicals dominate a group of shorts and featurettes, including “Fela Kuti: Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense,” that focuses on a “Broadway Across America” touring show. Also on the program: “Living Jazz with Bill Saxton” and “We are Family.” (7 p.m. April 15)
Also part of a package of shorts: “Even Me,” about older adults living with HIV/AIDS, and “Ending the Silence,” which covers five years in the lives of several people living with HIV/AIDS. (7 p.m. April 16)
Townsend, West and Northwest filmmakers Bryan Johnson and Sharon Williams (“What About Us?”) will participate in a panel discussion about low-budget filmmaking, online fundraising and the recent, drastic changes in film projection and distribution. (11 a.m. April 20)
The Langston Hughes festival, curated by Zola Mumford, is a founding member of the African American Film Festival Releasing Movement.
John Hartl: email@example.com