Besa Gordon

Besa Gordon

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SEATTLE: 16th Annual Langston Hughes African American Film Festival

This year I told myself I would attend more events that are curated for African American’s, so when I seen Langston Hughes is having their the 16th Annual Langston Hughes African American Film Festival; I knew it was a must for me to not only attend but to share!

About the film festival:

LANGSTON presents the 16th Annual Langston Hughes African American Film Festival: A Celebration of Contemporary Black Storytelling Through Indie Film

Seattle, WA - This April, LANGSTON will showcase stories from the African Diaspora through the lens of over 25 independent filmmakers in the 16th annual Langston Hughes African American Film Festival (LHAAFF). The four-day event, hosted at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute {104 17th Ave. S} will run from Thursday, April 25th through Sunday, April 28th , kicking off with a screening of provocative short films by emerging talent. The Langston Hughes African American Film Festival is a preeminent event for LANGSTON, an organization with a deep-rooted legacy as a hub of African American arts and culture in Seattle.

The 2019 festival lineup truly celebrates the nuance of Black storytelling, boasting films that grapple with themes both potent and timely in the current political climate as well as stories of self-discovery and personal triumph. “This year we've got a particularly interesting mix of voices exploring art, politics, history, love; the films are a unique peek into what's on our conscious today,” says Festival Director, Andrea Stuart-Lehalle. “There are some really funny films in there that catch you off guard, and others that revisit what we thought was familiar territory." LHAAFF opens on April 25th at 6:00pm with a Bites and Bubbly soiree where guests and filmmakers are invited to gather in celebration of Black brilliance. Following the mixer, film screenings kick off with a series of cutting-edge short films across a range of genres, from dark comedy to animated drama. Audiences will have an opportunity to engage with some of the filmmakers in attendance at a talk-back following the screenings.



LANGSTON is a non-profit arts organization created to continue the mission of the historic Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. Our mission is to strengthen and advance our community through Black arts and culture. Our vision is to Cultivate Black brilliance.

After 45 years as a program of Seattle Department of Parks and Recreations, the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture fostered a community-led three-year review and engagement process with the vision of transforming Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute into an independent and thriving arts organization. LANGSTON, the culmination of that process, is envisioned as strong stewardship for an African American arts and cultural hub in Seattle.

LANGSTON is based out of the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute building, which is still owned and operated by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.

For more information visit

Facebook: Langston Seattle

Instagram: @206Langston



#WeMatter by Sherri Quannea

#WeMatter is a short film that strives to highlight the growing epidemic of police violence against people of color. We hope that by focusing on the human aspect of the issue--the hurt, frustration and often the feelings of hopelessness, the importance of changing a system that allows these actions to flourish, can be thwarted. We hope that our film not only elicits an emotional response and encourages conversations of change, but inspires action. Still Here Troy Charbonnet 08:18 2018

Still Here by Troy Charbonnet

Left to their own devices in a flooding house during the wake of a life-threatening hurricane, a caregiver and an elderly patient with differing spiritual beliefs struggle to find hope in each other.

PAWG - Day 12 “Pretty Ass White Girl” 2.1 by John Eddins

In this dark comedy, the ending is only the beginning as lovers reunite 12 days after one of them gets a whole new lease on life and love.

Baby Steps by Eric Dyson

Every year on the anniversary of his father’s suicide, Kenny's battle with depression pushes him in the same direction. Goodnight, Fred Wes Goodrich It’s after midnight in Chicago on December 4, 1969 and young Black revolutionary Fred Hampton only has a couple hours to live. The FBI is tracking him, The Chicago Police are outside his door and there’s a mole in his ranks. But all Fred can think about is his unborn child and the divided country it will be birthed into. “Goodnight, Fred” is the true story of a young black man, his girlfriend and his sudden, tragic demise.

SUBSTANCE by Jamaal Bradley

Based on True Events; Jason, the oldest of two boys loves his home but battles with wanting to change the deteriorating community and the desire to leave it behind. Tension turns to anger as Jason and his brother John battle over the decision to embrace the drug culture while simultaneously endangering John's daughter. Her symbolic gesture will change the future of the family and change her father’s SUBSTANCE.

Dynamite by Leila Jarman

A short, poetic performance art/dance film that investigates gender and masculinity --more specifically the American black male experience-- through embodied inquiry to find spaces where identity exists between and in opposition to social constructs. This film guides us through narrative incorporating movement, spoken word, and chant, as it uncovers truths about race, gender, and success in an ever-changing social landscape.

Me Time by Iyabo Boyd

After a long work week, Deborah is exhausted and needs to relax. One part of her psyche, Sexy Deb, appears and tries to bully her into going out to a bar for a hook-up. Soulful Deb also shows up- she lights some incense and tries to guide her into some self care stroking. Then Scaredy Deb pops in and whines that she just wants to eat oatmeal and watch Gilmore Girls. When they finally rally together to get-it-on solo, Scaredy Deb questions aloud if they've ever truly had an orgasm, undermining each aspect of the Debs and threatening to derail their whole plan. Through laughter and introspection, ME TIME explores women's sexuality, self care, and highlights the richness of our inner lives.

My Life Interrupted by Alana Devich

Alana Devich Cyril is on a quest to figure out how to navigate life following a stage 4 cancer diagnosis. In this comical, poignant documentary, she wants to show the world what her life looks like, but things like 3 million doctors’ appointments and a fear of travel get in her way.

Knock Knock by Kennikki Jones-Jones

Sinia does the best she can to help the kids next door, however when they are in danger, she does nothing. Stricken by guilt, she decides to check on the kids, but she discovers is a chilling reality that pushes her over the edge.

FRIDAY, 4/26

Women Empowered | 4:30pm (Ticket Link)

Two unique stories of women taking necessary risks in their quests for triumph after trauma.

Respect & Love by Angelique Webster

It has been said that Gloria was the first African-American woman to sue the Catholic Church. RESPECT and Love is a short experimental documentary, in which the film-maker sits down with her mother 30 years later to gain insight on how those experiences have shaped her mother’s life.

Solace by Tchaiko Omawale

Following the death of her father, a 17-year-old girl is sent to live with her estranged family and finds comfort in a questionable friendship with a self-destructive neighbor, leading both on a startling path to self discovery.

On The Beat | 8:00pm (Ticket Link)

Two films explore themes of Black music: A documentary uncovers the birth of Africa’s most exported music genre and a drama follows a passionate DJ in pursuit of his dream.

The Birth of Afrobeat by Opiyo Okeyo

African music pioneer, Fela Kuti once said, 'Without Tony Allen, there would be no Afrobeat" In this hybrid live-action/animated short, filmmaker Opiyo Okeyo documents drum legend Tony Allen as he recounts his contribution to the birth of Africa's most exported music genre--Afrobeat.

Wheels by Paul Starkman

Wheels is a coming of age story about Max, a 19 year old from Brooklyn who wants to be a well known DJ. He has been the sole provider for his sick grandmother, DJing parties for Oscar, a neighborhood shark. Things shift when Max's brother Terry returns home after three years in prison, forcing Max to reconcile their relationship. Max gets close to Liza, the manager of a dance studio who inspires him with her work ethic and determination. Max finds himself at a crossroads between family obligation, the streets, and pursuing his dream.


Perseverance | 12:00pm (Ticket Link)

A series of films in various genres showcase characters who ascend from challenging circumstances, often gaining a stronger sense of purpose in the process.

Lalo’s House by Kelly Kali

Inspired by true events. After being taken from their home in Jacmel, Haiti, two young sisters must escape a child sex trafficking ring, disguised as a Catholic orphanage.

Due Process by Gabe Braden

An overburdened social worker fights to bring justice to a mother and her unborn child.

Soar, Torian, Soar by Peter Menchini

An Oakland woman comes to terms with the murder of her eldest son while working to raise her two other children and grappling with poverty. Where the Heart Is Elijah Hasan* 28:00 2019 Candid conversations about coming of age, and to grips within a city struggling to find its own sense of cultural identity. This film details the diverse experiences of black Portlanders navigating life in the Rose City - Surviving its assaults, recalling the effects, finding the opportunities and seizing the moments surrounding when they left, how they stayed, and why they continue to call Portland home.

Aloha by Brandi Payne

Aloha follows one new mom's quest to find the perfect birth announcement after the delivery of her baby doesn't go quite as planned. It's a lighthearted drama that touches on a pregnancy complication that isn't always easy to discuss.

Juicy Ladies by Edwin Walker

After being given a grim diagnosis from her doctor, Angie, the world’s biggest foodie, embarks on a quest to find love and health.

Filmmaker Panel: Black Storytelling | 2:30pm (Ticket Link)

Audience members are invited to engage in lively, up close and personal conversation on the theme of Black storytelling with filmmakers in attendance.

In The System | 4:30pm (Ticket Link)

Following the stories of Black politicians in the South and a Brooklyn-based teen volunteering with the NYPD, this series of films interrogates the complex relationship between U.S. politics and Black American experiences.

All Skin Folk Ain’t Kinfolk by Angela Tucker

After a contentious race, the runoff for mayor of New Orleans came down to two candidates: Desirée Charbonnet and LaToya Cantrell, two very different black women. The winner of this election would take office as the first female mayor of New Orleans and the city’s fourth black mayor. Through news footage, campaign advertisements and archival audio and video, "All Skinfolk Ain't Kinfolk" is the unprecedented story of this mayoral runoff told through the eyes of black women living in this city.

Civic Mind by Adonis Williams

A teenage, NYPD volunteer goes undercover to purchase alcohol and other items not permitted to be sold to minors. His methods are put into question when the biggest bust of his career is done illegally, jeopardizing everything he’s worked for and threatens a gentrifying, Brooklyn community.

While I Breathe, I Hope by Emily Harrold

What does it mean to be young, Black, and Democrat in the Southern Republican state of South Carolina? Through experiences of politician Bakari Sellers, While I Breathe, I Hope unravels that question.

College Try | 8:00pm (Ticket Link)

Three stories dive into the lives of young adults fumbling to find their own lane, including a feature-length comedy following a rich freshman shooting his shot at joining a poor, but proud fraternity.

Showtime by Shawn Antoine II

Darius and Hakeem dance on New York City trains to earn honest money and escape the crime-riddled streets of Harlem. Darius is offered the opportunity to audition for a Juilliard travel dance team, but Hakeem is jealous that Darius may pursue this opportunity. Hakeem turns to crime with the neighborhood goon TJ, succumbing to the pressures of the streets in Harlem. Darius is faced with the decision to pursue this life-changing opportunity or help keep Hakeem out of trouble.

BRED by Casiano Hamer

A troubled teen in high school escapes expulsion and is closely watched by his environment until he ultimately rebels against the system that is supposed to help him.

Po’ Psi Broke - feature film by Akil DuPont

A hilarious comedy about a rich freshman trying to get into a poor and PROUD fraternity!

SUNDAY, 4/28

The Motherland | 3:00pm (Ticket Link)

Aje Ijo Series (3rd installment - Rivers of Nine) by Kiana Harris

‘AJE IJO’ Short Dance Film Series centers the humanity, resiliency, vulnerability of black & african diasporic people [of all genders], interrogating the western gender binary and interrupting accompanying notions of masculinity and femininity. Our individual and collective complexity, survival, thriving, and ultimately our healing as a people are at stake, and compel the elaboration of this narrative. To this end, the lm elicits elements of spiritual cosmologies of the african diaspora, particularly those that emerge from the Yoruba divine consciousness, Ifa, and the Orisa (deities) that comprise it

Closing Night | 6:00pm (Ticket Link)

CRASH Youth Workshop Short Films by Various

LANGSTON partnered with SIFF to host 25 youth between the ages of 9-12, in a series of three-Saturday 8 hour immersive filmmaking workshops. The youth created short films around culturally appropriate themes based on historical figures of the Central District and specific social justice issues in the community.

Spirits of Rebellion: Black Cinema at UCLA by Zeinabu Irene Davis

Chronicles the critically acclaimed yet relatively unknown black filmmakers and media artists collectively known as the Los Angeles Rebellion.

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