The Seattle Black Film Festival (SBFF) 2021 is bringing ten days of on-demand Black cinematic excellence with a three-day weekend of fully on-line screening events resonating from across the diaspora. This 18th edition of the Seattle Black Film Festival (formerly Langston Hughes African American Film Festival) runs April 16-26. The Seattle Black Film Festival traditionally animates the hallways of the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute in Seattle’s historically Black Central District neighborhood. However, due to COVID-19 the festival will again be held entirely online.
SBFF 2021 kicks off on Fri., April 16 with a curated selection of 2021 Official Selection films offered on-demand for pass holders and single event ticket-holders.
This year’s festival features over 70 films from across the diaspora, and together they weave a weekend-long program of Black brilliance, joy and resilience. Viewers can choose from a broad selection of films around this year’s themes: A Diaspora in Displacement, Decolonizing the Narrative in Our #OwnVoices, The Future of Our Identity (youth-focused films) and Black Love, Self Love. Each of these on-demand selections will feature a special screening event during a full weekend of community conversations April 23 – 25 bringing depth and perspective to this year’s themes. The SBFF 2021 on-demand selection is available from Friday April 16th, through Monday April 26th.
“This year we went big!” said Seattle Black Film Festival Director Andrea Stuart-Lehalle. “We are presenting more than twice the number of films as we did last year. There were just so many incredible stories submitted by filmmakers from around the world for this year’s festival that we had to create a platform to amplify these voices, and help us all reconnect.”
For the first time ever, Seattle Black Film Festival will be hosted on the Elevent virtual ticketing and event platform. Following festivals who have hosted on Elevent, such as Seattle Queer Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), Black Star Film Festival and Toronto Black Film Festival, SBFF 2021 will be an accessible and rich fully-online festival experience.
“SBFF films and programming will bring a dispersed audience together to build community connections,” says SBFF Curator Zola Mumford. “Video-on-demand (VOD) and pre-recorded options give our cherished audience convenient opportunities to pause busy, stressful pandemic time, and dive into and choose thought-provoking and entertaining films at times that are best for them. Creativity, intellectual depth, empathy, humor, and moments of beauty — you’ll find all of it in this year’s festival!”
This year, Seattle Black Film Festival is partnering with Seattle Public Library to host a program digging deeper into the A Diaspora in Displacement 2021 official selection program. Head of Civic Engagement Programs C. Davida Ingram, will host a discussion bridging the themes of land justice and displacement to justice in our communities.
Sharon Williams, Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas Executive Director will host Opening Night: A Night of Black Brilliance, April 23. This year the evening celebration will broaden to highlight a variety of local creators, centering Black voices from the extended creative arts community, helping the community resonate even though we are physically apart.
“The Seattle Black Film Festival has always been a joyful gathering place for an expansive and inclusive exploration of Black life through film,” says LANGSTON’s executive director Tim Lennon. “Though we’re all-online again this year, we remain a (virtual) site of power for fellowship, restoration and resilience. We at LANGSTON are so honored to create and share this space to celebrate cinematic Black brilliance–by us, for us–with our community.”
Seattle Black Film Festival 2021 also features a number of directors we’ve worked with, watched and supported over the years, including locals Kiana Harris and Nicole Pouchet, and over one fourth of films originating from outside the United States, representing over 10 countries including Zimbabwe, Eritrea, Canada, French Guiana, Brazil, Ghana, and the UK.
Information about the 2021 Seattle Black Film Festival is being updated regularly and can be found at langstonseattle.org/SBFF.