Back in its usual April date (after pivoting to July during last year’s pandemic flurry of rescheduling), the Seattle Black Film Festival is once again an all-digital event. Now in its 18th year, the SBFF — formerly called the Langston Hughes African American Film Festival — will run April 16-26. It will include twice as many films as last year, with more than 70 feature-length films and shorts. A quarter of the films are from outside the U.S.; countries represented include Zimbabwe, Eritrea, Canada, French Guiana, Brazil, Ghana and the United Kingdom.
And the format is a little different this year, with the festival’s 10 days featuring on-demand programming grouped into four themes: “A Diaspora in Displacement,” “Decolonizing the Narrative in Our #OwnVoices,” “The Future of Our Identity” (youth-focused films) and “Black Love, Self Love.” Opening night will be a celebration of local Black voices from the arts community, hosted by Sharon Williams, executive director of the Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas. The festival’s second weekend, April 23-25, will feature special streamed events in conjunction with some of these themes, with each including a screening and a live panel discussion.
Among the feature-length films on tap: the documentaries “Before Things Fell Apart,” in which griots (traditional storytellers/historians/musicians) tell the history of Western Sudan; “In My Skin,” about structural racism in Brazil; “Ophir,” which examines the revolution in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea; and the romantic drama “Love Like Winter.” The festival will offer a wide assortment of short films, including several by Pacific Northwest filmmakers: “Bazzooka” (Danny Denial), “Aje Ijo Series (4th installment finale): Immortal” (Kiana Davis); “Such an Honor” (Nicole Pouchet) and “Depression: Antidote” (Catherine Harris-White).