By Luciano Marano
LANGSTON, the nonprofit arts organization established in 2016 to lead programming within the historic Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, will bring its Seattle Black Film Festival to the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art for an afternoon of thought-provoking short films, one feature-length film, and post-screening discussions centered around “the Black diaspora experience” and the Living Life Leadership and Living Arts Cultural Heritage Center’s Black History Month theme of “Black Excellence and Achievement.”
The special event is planned from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23.
Admission is free and open to all, though reservations are recommended.Visit www.biartmuseum.org/event/seattle-black-film-festival to learn more and reserve a seat.
LANGSTON guides generative programs and community partnerships that center Black art, artists and audiences, that honor the ongoing legacy of Seattle’s Black Central Area.
This reflects community recommendations from a three-year stakeholder engagement process led by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, with the vision of transforming the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute into an independent and thriving arts organization.
Formerly the Langston Hughes African American Film Festival, the Seattle Black Film Festival was established in 2003 by artistic director Jacqueline Moscou.
From the start, the Langston Hughes African American Film Festival sought to give audiences access to underrepresented perspectives and emerging filmmakers from across the African diaspora. Curator Zola Mumford researched and programmed films from many different countries and genres. Mumford invited Karen Toering, a media producer and a leader in nonprofit arts and funding organizations, to join the festival in 2004.
With Toering as program director, the festival grew from three days of films and discussions to nine.
Over the years, guests and participating filmmakers have included Charles Burnett, Ava DuVernay, St. Clair Bourne, Zeinabu Irene Davis, Katherine Cheairs, Danny Glover, Brazilian director Joel Zito Araujo, Jayne Cortez, James Spooner (Afropunk), Tionna McClodden, David Walker, and many others.
Following changes to the administrative structure of the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, the festival became a production of LANGSTON, and scaled to the current four-day event.
In 2019, Langston Hughes African American Film Festival changed its name to Seattle Black Film Festival, to be more inclusive and representative of the festivals goals.