A preview of the 2015 Langston Hughes African American Film Festival, which celebrates its 12th year and runs April 11-19.
Initially a weekend affair, the Langston Hughes African American Film Festival is celebrating its 12th year with a nine-day marathon, beginning Saturday, April 11.
The opening-night special, at 6 p.m. at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, is “August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand,” a new documentary about the prizewinning playwright who moved to Seattle in 1990. It includes interviews with James Earl Jones, Viola Davis, Laurence Fishburne and others who appeared in his plays.
Among the high points of the first weekend is “The Godmother of Rock & Roll” (3 p.m. April 12), a rousing documentary about bisexual gospel singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who inspired Elvis Presley, Little Richard and Chuck Berry. It’s irresistible.
2015 Langston Hughes African American Film Festival
Runs April 11-19 at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, 104 17th Ave. S., Seattle, and for one night only, April 13, at the Northwest African American Museum, 2300 S. Massachusetts St., Seattle. Festival passes ($50-$150) are available at brownpapertickets.com. Individual tickets ($7-$25) are available at 206-684-4758 or langstoninstitute.org.
Proof that good things can come in small packages is “A More Perfect Union,” a three-minute voting-rights cartoon that packs a punch similar to “Selma.” It plays as part of a program of shorts at 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. April 16.
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The closing-night event, at 6 p.m. April 19, is the world premiere of “Cincinnati Goddamn,” a documentary about police brutality and Ohio activism. The director, April Martin, is scheduled to attend.
Other world premieres include “On Fathers and Sons and Love,” which was inspired by a Harvard Grant study on human development (3 p.m. April 15), and “Lords of BLV,” about Brooklyn street kids who learn the art of dance (8:30 p.m. April 17).
The final day of the festival will include a gay/lesbian double bill: the 15-minute “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner: Naija Edition” and the feature-length “We Came to Sweat,” about the eviction of a Brooklyn gay bar (2 p.m. April 19). Another short, “The Emerging Queer Hip-Hop Movement,” plays at 8:30 p.m. April 17.
“Positively Beautiful” (6:30 p.m. April 14) is set in South Africa and deals with five strangers who are living with HIV and become politically involved. The director, Diveena Coopan, is scheduled to attend the screening of this feature-length documentary.
New to the festival is a horror film: “The Summoning” (formerly known as “Haunted”), Charles Murray’s story of a struggling mother who is given the chance to bring back her dead husband (3:30 p.m. April 17). Murray is set to attend. Also new is a Saturday Brunch (11 a.m. April 18).
Local filmmaker Amen Gibreab will show his documentary “Horeta: Journey Beyond Culture” (12:30 p.m. April 12), about a multicultural group of University of Washington students who explore Ethiopia.
All but one festival event will be held at the institute. For one night only, Monday, April 13, the festival moves to the Northwest African American Museum for a 7 p.m. double bill of “100 Years After ‘The Birth of a Nation’: A History of Race Messaging” and Oscar Micheaux’s “Within Our Gates,” his response to “The Birth of a Nation.” The program includes a discussion with writer Charles Mudede and LHAAFF curator Zola Mumford.