Thursday, April 19, 2007

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Welcoming all to the 2007 Langston Hughes African American Film Festival, Seattle

Dear friends of the LHAAFF,

I extend a sincere welcome to all as the 2007 Langston Hughes African American Film Festival begins its fourth year. We appreciate the support of our community partners, sponsors, volunteers, and of course you, the audience.

It is with respect and pleasure that the LHAAFF Advisory Committee dedicates this year’s event to the memory of the late James Brown and Octavia Butler, who passed to the realm of the ancestors this past year. These creative giants each held a unique and compelling place of honor in their respective fields. Each produced work with a powerful cross-generational influence. The alchemy of Brown’s powerful stage persona and skills as a singer, bandleader, songwriter, and dancer combined to make a unique style. Even his recorded music could make you feel as though you didn’t want to stop dancing. Octavia Butler’s speculative/science fiction novels immerse the reader in the alternate world she creates. Familiar themes like time travel, telekinesis, vampires and alternate, sometimes dystopian futures for the Earth go in surprising new directions in Butler’s engaging storytelling. She is fondly remembered for her friendship and mentorship of emerging writers. Her characters and intellectually challenging storylines can make you want to stay up past your bedtime or miss your bus stop. We are hoping that you will have a similar “can’t put it down” reaction to the diverse variety of films on this year’s schedule; that you won’t stop dancing, but will enjoy as many films and workshops as possible this year.

There is work by filmmakers from a wide variety of ethnic and national backgrounds: African American, Black British, European American, French-Israeli, Ghanian-American, Jewish, African/Native American, South African, and South African/South Asian. Each day, stories from around the African diaspora express the complexity of Black life in fictional narrative and documentary forms.

To paraphrase the old saying, being Black ain’t easy, but it sure is interesting. Saddle up with the Black cowboys of Brooklyn. Explore the idea of Blackness in alternative, “what-if” scenarios of the present and the future (THE SPOOK WHO SAT BY THE DOOR, INVISIBLE UNIVERSE). Experience the musical and political scene of modern Nigeria with Fela Kuti’s son Femi.

At a Tanzanian flea market, a Muslim woman tries on a bra over her hijab, before one young man, a group of several planning to migrate and seek work in Europe or Canada, declares to the camera and by extension, the industrialized world, "I 'm not afraid of you or Osama." (SWAHILINI).

Hear from Black women and men working together to reduce violence, sexual and otherwise, in our communities (NO!, PEACE PROCESS). Ask yourself how the Middle Passage has lingering effects on your own life (THE HEALING PASSAGE). Look deeply into what was good and bad about Blaxploitation (MACKED, HAMMERED, SLAUGHTERED AND SHAFTED, surely one of the best film titles ever).

Part of the LHAAFF mission is a commitment to presenting independently produced work, and we are honored to have several films by talented local filmmakers. Please take the opportunity to meet them, participate in post-screening talkback sessions, and be a voice of appreciation and support.

Thank you for your support of the LHAAFF.

Zola M.


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