City of Seattle

Ed Murray, Mayor


SUBJECT:   Langston Hughes African American Film Festival celebrates 'Transformations' during 10th anniversary
2/11/2013  3:00:00 PM

Langston Hughes African American Film Festival celebrates 'Transformations' during 10th anniversary
Festival runs April 13 to 21 at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute

Opening film and gala:
Brother from Another Planet
(7 p.m., April 13; $25)
Actor Joe Morton in attendance

Closing film and gala:
In the Hive
(7 p.m., April 21; $25)
Actor/director Robert Townsend in attendance

SEATTLE—The Langston Hughes African American Film Festival (LHAAFF), celebrates its 10th anniversary this year at the newly renovated Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (LHPAI). LHAAFF takes a look back with a 30th anniversary screening of the sci-fi classic Brother from Another Planet, and a look forward with a presentation of actor/director Robert Townsend's newest independent film In the Hive. Both films spotlight powerful personal transformation stories. Transformations also appear thematically in many in many of the more than 40 films and shorts expected to run during the nine-day festival, April 13 to 21. Check starting in March for up-to-date film festival additions.

"The Festival has grown tremendously since its inception in 2004," says artistic director Jacqueline Moscou. "I am thrilled at the role we now play on a national level. We fill a niche that truly enhances our local community and we have strong support from dedicated volunteers and patrons. Ten years is cause for celebration; it's a great time to reflect on the past and build the foundation for the years to come."

LHAAFF opening and closing night gala events always generate large crowds and provocative discussions and this 10th anniversary year will be no different. Actor Joe Morton of Brother from Another Planet is scheduled to attend the Opening Gala, which takes place at 7 p.m. on April 13 and Robert Townsend will be in attendance at the Closing Gala, which takes place at 7 p.m. on April 21.

Thirty years ago director John Sayles began work on the now classic sci-fi film Brother from Another Planet. It tells of a mute alien and slave (Morton) who crash-lands his space ship just off Ellis Island in New York. When discovered, he is considered homeless and is dropped off in the middle of Harlem. This poignant yet wildly funny film takes both surprising and familiar turns as the brother learns about his new world through the lens of his own experience –racism, class struggles, crime and drugs. Morton will be on hand to answer questions and lead a discussion about the charming movie that launched his career.

Townsend's new film In the Hive ( written by Seattle's own Cheryl L. West (Seattle Repertory Theatre's Pullman Porter Blues) is based on the true story of a unique school in North Carolina, The Hive, that was a last stop for a group of "throwaway boys." The film stars Michael Clarke Duncan (The Green Mile, Armageddon) in one of his final films, and Loretta Divine (of TV's Grey's Anatomy, Broadway's Dreamgirls, and the film: Waiting to Exhale) as the school's courageous administrator Miss Inez. Actors Vivica A. Fox, Roger Guenveur Smith and newcomer Jonathan McDaniel appear in the film as well.

Record attendance is expected over the nine-day festival given that it's the 10th anniversary. The festival will feature a powerful lineup of thoughtful films and shorts. A complete list of festival films will be released online in March. The lineup will include Seattle premieres, locally directed films, matinee screenings for middle and high school youth, and mini-fests for shorts, and family themed films and LGBTQ films. This year's filmmakers brunch, titled "Women in the Driver's Seat", will be a panel discussion featuring rising women film directors.

Tickets are $5 for youth under the age of 16 and seniors, $10 for adults. Festival passes range from $50 to $150. Updates on all films, including show times, locations and ticketing information are available at or by calling (206) 684-4758.

LHAAFF is pleased to welcome back Zola Mumford as the 2013 film festival curator, and Calvin Rivers as the film festival coordinator. A dedicated crew of passionate volunteers brings the film festival to life for our communities. If you are interested in volunteering, please email or (206) 684-4758.

Beginning as a weekend series, LHAAFF has expanded over the past decade to include nine days of film, workshops, filmmaker events and community celebrations renowned for presenting positive, provocative and penetrating independent films created by emerging and established filmmakers. Films are selected by panel and will feature contemporary and vintage offerings, as well as local and international filmmakers. For more festival details visit

The LHAAFF is a founding member of the African American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM). This organization celebrates fresh voices in Black filmmaking. Anchored by the passion and prowess of founding film festivals, AFFRM empowers black independent filmmakers with collaborative, simultaneous theatrical distribution in multiple markets. For more information on AFFRM, go to

In addition to the annual festival, the LHAAFF Underground Railroad Film Series runs year-round and presents independent film screenings throughout King County, highlighting African American intersections with other cultures.

Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (LHPAI) celebrates, nurtures, presents, and preserves African American and Diaspora performing arts, cultural wealth and iconic legacies. Named for the prolific African American artist Langston Hughes, LHPAI represents the pluralism of local, national and global Black people, in the media platforms of film, dance, theatre and music.

The Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs supports the health and vitality of our city by providing access to arts and culture, advancing the role of the arts in our community, and advocating for issues that affect the entire cultural community. The 16-member Seattle Arts Commission, citizen volunteers appointed by the mayor and City Council, supports the city agency.

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