The 2022 festival will feature a melanin-rich blend of curated and official selection works from four continents. We’ll kick off on Friday, April 29th at 6 pm with our traditional Evening of Black Cinematic Brilliance short film showcase; beginning with a mixer and happy hour, where guests and filmmakers are invited to gather in celebration of Black brilliance. Following the mixer, our short film showcase will begin at 7 pm with a powerful line-up of local, national, and international narratives. We’ll bring the festival to a close on Sunday, May 1st with an exceptional presentation by special festival guests, WACO Theater Center Co-Artistic Directors, Richard Lawson and Tina Knowles Lawson of the documentary film The Evolution of African Dance and the behind-the-scenes short documentary of the making of Black Terror.
Established in 2003 by Artistic Director Jacqueline Moscou, the first Langston Hughes African American Film Festival was a production of the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, later known as the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute(LPHAI). From the start, the Langston Hughes African American Film Festival (LHAAFF) 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 and 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 LHAAFF grew from three days of films and discussions to nine.
Over the years, guests and participating filmmakers included Charles Burnett; Ava DuVernay; St. Clair Bourne; Zeinabu Irene Davis; Katherine Cheairs; Danny Glover; Brazilian director Joel Zito Araújo; Jayne Cortez; James Spooner (Afropunk); Tionna McClodden; David Walker; and many others. The festival has shown early films by Ava DuVernay, Barry Jenkins, Tchaiko Omawale, and dozens of other filmmakers now working in film, television, comics, and other creative forms.
Following changes to the administrative structure of the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (LPHAI), the festival became a production of LANGSTON in 2016. Filmmaker Andrea Stuart-Lehalle joined the LHAAFF team in 2015 and assumed the role of director upon Karen Toering’s departure in 2019. After careful consideration and community feedback, the name was changed to the Seattle Black Film Festival (SBFF) and introduced publicly in 2020.