January 11, 2017

Media contacts:

Scott Whelden
Tel: 808-532-8719

Taylour Chang

Tel: 808-532-3033


The festival opens Feb. 4 with a reception and a screening of Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise; Women in Film series rounds out the month    

WHAT: Honolulu African American Film Festival
WHEN: Feb. 4-17, 2016
TICKETS: Regular screenings: $10, $8 museum members. Free for kids 17 and under.
INFO: 532-6097,, (publishable)
High-res images available on request    

HONOLULU, HAWAI‘I—The sixth annual Honolulu African American Film Festival kicks off Feb. 4 and features a series of award winning documentaries and Julie Dash’s critically acclaimed 1991 film Daughters of the Dust. This year, in addition to a stellar lineup of films, the festival aligns with live concerts, a hip-hop education workshop, the museum’s textile exhibition Karen Hampton: The Journey North, and a discussion led by Patrisse Cullors and Alicia Garza, two of the three co-founders of the national movement #BlackLivesMatter.

Artist, organizer, and Fulbright scholar, Cullors was named “Civil Rights Leader for the 21st Century” by the Los Angeles Times. An organizer and writer, Garza was included in the Root 100 list of African American achievers and influencers between the ages of 25 and 45. The two women, with Opal Tometi, co-founded the global movement Black Lives Matter in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in 2013. On Saturday, Feb. 11, Cullors and Garza speak at Doris Duke Theatre about art and racial justice, and their experience in using art for social change, and how art enhanced #BlackLivesMatter.

“As one of the most significant movements of our times, #BlackLivesMatter has inspired widespread dialogue on racial equality that cannot be ignored, particularly in the arts,” says theater director Taylour Chang. “The museum and the Honolulu African American Film Festival committee are excited to welcome Patrisse and Alicia to facilitate conversation about the role art plays in racial justice and social change. We are proud to provide a space for conversations about art and racial justice in order to bridge understanding and cultivate healthy dialogue within the community.”

“We are pleased to have the founders of #BlackLivesMatter—a movement that has brought to light the killings of Black men and women by police under questionable circumstances—present at the Honolulu African American film festival to discuss social change, protests, and activism in art,” says festival committee member and attorney Daphne Barbee-Wooten. “Art—through books, spoken words, music, paintings, murals and films—has the ability to reach a wide, diverse audience, and it can be used to educate the public on issues like social justice reform. By pairing the film I Am Not Your Negro with the discussion by Ms. Cullors and Ms. Garza, we open the discussion about the need for social change in our justice system."

On screen is a selection of films that have no shortage of critical acclaim. Entertainment Weekly calls 13th “a titanic statement by a major American voice. Viewing—right now—should be mandatory. While the New York Times’ Manohla Dargis proclaimed Raoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro “one of the best films you’re likely to see” in 2016.

When Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust was released in 1991, it was met with critical acclaim, and it is still having an impact today, most recently on Beyonce’s video album Lemonade. The success of the film, which was the first wide release by a black female filmmaker, should have been the start of a storied career for Dash, but, not for lack of trying, she still struggled to get her foot in the door of any major Hollywood studios. Now Daughters of the Dust has been restored for the first time with proper color grading, and audiences can finally see the film as Dash intended.

Closing out the festival is the one-woman play Harriet Returns: Based on the Legendary Life of Harriet Tubman, starring Karen Jones Meadows. Audiences can see the life of the Underground Railroad conductor chronicled on stage, from Tubman’s childhood spent in slavery to heartbroken pragmatist.

Another program affiliated with the festival is Soundshop, the museum's hip hop beat making and lyric writing workshop. On Feb. 23 curator of textiles Sara Oka introduces students from Farrington High School to the exhibition Karen Hampton: The Journey North, which students will use as their creative inspiration.

The festival is made possible by the support of the ACLU of Hawai‘i Foundation, Hawai‘i Chapter Links Incorporated, and the African-American Lawyers Association, the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Hawai‘i Chapter, Sisters Empowering Hawai‘i, Hawai'i Council for the Humanities, Blacks in Government, Dwight Witlarge, Sandra and Hank Simms, Pacific Tongues, and Hawai‘i Women in Filmmaking.

Rounding out the month is the series Women in Film screening Feb. 18 to 22. The program includes two New York Times Critics' Picks and a critically acclaimed documentary that all feature women in front of and behind the camera. 

Full Schedule

Opening-night reception: Saturday, Feb. 4 at 6 p.m.
$35 general admission, $30 museum members
Guests can enjoy good music, good wine, good food and good company in celebration of the legendary singer, dancer, activist, poet, and writer Maya Angelou. During the reception, Karen Hampton: The Journey North will be open for view. At 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., take a gallery tour and see youth poets perform spoken word pieces in. reaction to the exhibition. Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise screens at 7:30 p.m.

Special thanks to Pacific Tongues.

Read the New York Times review.

Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise
Directed by Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack. USA. 2016. 114 min.
Saturday, Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 5 at 4 p.m.
This film—the first documentary about the incomparable Maya Angelou—is an intimate, moving tribute. Referred to as “a redwood tree, with deep roots in American culture,” Angelou gave people the freedom to think about their history in a way they never had before. She was a singer, dancer, activist, poet, and writer who inspired generations with lyrical, modern African-American thought that pushed boundaries. This unprecedented film weaves her words with rare archival photographs and videos, which paint hidden moments of her exuberant life during some of America’s most defining moments. From her upbringing in the Depression-era South to her work with Malcolm X in Ghana to her inaugural poem for President Bill Clinton, the film depicts the life of an American icon. Friends and family interviewed in the film include President Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Common, Alfre Woodard, Cicely Tyson, Quincy Jones, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, John Singleton and Dr. Angelou’s son, Guy Johnson.

Miss Sharon Jones!
Directed by Barbara Kopple. USA. 2016. 93 min.
Sunday, Feb. 5 at 1 p.m. + 7:30 p.m.
Sharon Jones says she was told she was “too short, too fat, too black and too old” to be a performer. The powerhouse soul singer finally began to find her place in the spotlight when she was in her 40s, after joining the Brooklyn band the Dap-Kings. The group enjoyed success with rousing hits such as “100 Days, 100 Nights.” Then, on the eve of the release of her last album, Jones was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Tour dates were cancelled, the album pushed back and she began a fight for her life and career. Miss Sharon Jones! intimately follows a courageous year in the singer’s life. Tragically, the shimmying firecracker was extinguished in November.

Daughters of the Dust
Directed by Julie Dash. USA. 1991. 113 min.
Friday, Feb. 10 at 1 p.m. + 7:30 p.m.
At the dawn of the 20th century, a multigenerational Gullah family—part of the community on the Sea Islands off the Southeastern United States—struggles to maintain its cultural heritage and folklore while contemplating heading north as part of the Great Migration. Gullah are descended from former slaves who adopted many of their West African ancestors’ Yoruba traditions.

The first wide release by a black female filmmaker, Daughters of the Dust was met with wild critical acclaim and rapturous audience response when it initially opened in 1991. Casting a long legacy, Daughters of the Dust still resonates today, most recently as a major influence on Beyonce’s video album Lemonade. Restored (in conjunction with UCLA) for the first time with proper color grading overseen by cinematographer AJ Jafa, audiences will finally see the film as Julie Dash intended.

Read the New Yorker review.

Art & Racial Justice: Conversation with Patrisse Cullors and Alicia Garza, Co-founders of Black Lives Matter
Saturday, Feb. 11 at 1 p.m.
$20 general admission, $15 museum members and students
Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors shares her experience in using art for social change, addressing how art enhanced the national movement of Black Lives Matter. The talk will beis followed by the Hawai‘i premiere of the James Baldwin documentary I Am Not Your Negro. At 5 p.m., continue the conversation and join us for a welcome reception for Patrisse Cullors. Tickets include pūpū. Drinks will be available for purchase.

Patrisse Cullors is an artist, organizer, and freedom fighter from Los Angeles. Co-founder of Black Lives Matter, she is also a performance artist, Fulbright scholar, popular public speaker, and a 2015 NAACP History Maker. She’s received many awards for activism and movement building, including being named by the Los Angeles Times as a Civil Rights Leader for the 21st Century. In the summer of 2013, fueled by the acquittal granted to George Zimmerman after his murder of Trayvon Martin, Patrisse co-founded a global movement with a hashtag. Black Lives Matter is now an international organization with dozens of chapters and thousands of determined activists fighting anti-Black racism worldwide. Google awarded Patrisse with their Racial Justice Grant to support her ongoing Ella Baker Center project developing a rapid response network that will mobilize communities to respond radically to law enforcement violence, the Justice Teams for Truth and Reinvestment.

Alicia Garza is an organizer, writer, and freedom dreamer living and working in Oakland, CA. She is the Special Projects Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the nation’s leading voice for dignity and fairness for the millions of domestic workers in the United States, most of whom are women. She is also the co-creator of #BlackLivesMatter, a national organizing project focused on combatting anti-Black state sanctioned violence. Alicia's work challenges us to celebrate the contributions of Black queer women's work within popular narratives of Black movements, and reminds us that the Black radical tradition is long, complex and international. Her activism reflects organizational strategies and visions that connect emerging social movements without diminishing the specificity of the structural violence facing Black lives. She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her organizing work, including the Root 100 2015 list of African American achievers and influencers between the ages of 25 and 45, and was featured in the Politico 50 guide to the thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming American politics in 2015.

I Am Not Your Negro
Directed by Raoul Peck. USA. 2016. 95 min.
In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, Remember This House. The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends—Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. Baldwin died in 1987, leaving behind only 30 completed pages of his manuscript. Now, in his incendiary new documentary, master filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished.

Directed by Ava Duvernay, USA. 2016. 100 min.
Sunday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m.
The new documentary from Ava Duvernay (Selma) takes its title from the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which outlawed slavery. Duvernay gives us an in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation's history of racial inequality.

Audiences can join a post-screening discussion with Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter and executive director of Dignity & Empower Now. The panel will focus on issues of incarceration in United States and Hawaiʻi. Full list of panelists to be announced.

Read the New York Times review.

Harriet Returns: Based on the Legendary Life of Harriet Tubman
Friday, Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m.
$35 general admission, $30 museum members
This joyous, heart-stopping one-woman play chronicles the life of Harriet Tubman, revealing why the famed Underground Railroad conductor continues to influence people 103 years after her death. In a tour-de-force performance, Karen Jones Meadows plays 31 characters re-creating the world of this spiritual icon, revolutionary, and entrepreneur, from her childhood spent in slavery to heartbroken pragmatist.

Also in February

Women in Film
Feb. 18-28
Audiences can see great films by and about women as the museum kicks off a year-long partnership with Hawai‘i Women in Filmmaking. The program includes films that feature women in front of and behind the screen that showcase a common perspective from around the globe.

Special thanks to community partner Hawai‘i Women in Filmmaking.

The Fits
Directed by Anna Rose Holmer. USA. 2015. 82 min.
Saturday, Feb. 18 at 1 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 1 p.m.
This New York Times Critics’ Pick is an artful psychological portrait of 11-year-old Toni, a tomboy assimilating to a tight-knit dance team in Cincinnati’s West End. The title role is played by Royalty Hightower, the buzzed-about breakout star whom director Anna Rose Holmer discovered through YouTube videos of Hightower’s real-life dance team Q-Kidz. Enamored by the power and confidence of this strong community of girls, Toni eagerly absorbs routines, masters drills, and even pierces her own ears to fit in. When a mysterious outbreak of fainting spells plagues the team, Toni’s desire for acceptance is twisted.

Read the New York Times review.

Directed by Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami. Germany/Switzerland/Iran. 2015. 91 min.
Saturday, Feb. 18 at 4 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m.
In this inspirational documentary, an undocumented teenage Afghan refugee in Iran goes from timid rapper to empowered activist. If 18-year-old Sonita had a say in things, Michael Jackson would be her father and Rihanna her mother. Living in a Tehran shelter, she superimposes her face on magazine cutouts of Rihanna in a scrapbook and raps about life as a teen in a sexist society. Her family has a different plans for her: as a bride Sonita is worth $9,000. What's more, women aren't allowed to sing in Iran. Director Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami ends up personally involved in her subject’s life, reigniting the discussion of the always evolving role of a documentary filmmaker. At the film's core is Sonita artistically arguing against the disastrous forced marriage practices that obstruct her freedom in an impressive, dramatic rap video.

Read the Guardian review.

The Eagle Huntress
Directed by Otto Bell. USA. 2016. 101 min.
Saturday, Feb. 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 19 at 4 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 1 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Living on the Mongolian steppe in Kazakhstan, 13-year-old Aisholpan trains to become her family’s first female eagle hunter in this New York Times Critics’ Pick. And she rises to the pinnacle of a tradition that has been handed down from father to son for 12 generations. Featuring some of the most awe-inspiring cinematography ever captured in a documentary, this intimate tale of a young girl’s quest has the dramatic force of an epic narrative film.

Read the New York Times review.

Ron Artis II
Friday, Feb. 3 at 7:30 p.m.
$25 general admission, $20 museum members
Raised on the North Shore in a musical family, Ron Artis II is one a performer that makes one think “Why isn’t he world famous?” after seeing him on the stage. He has recorded almost every genre of music—from rock and blues to jazz and flamenco. Ron has enjoyed music since before he could walk, crawling across his father’s piano at age one. Today he loves to create new songs on the spot during his concerts—part of his belief that “music is meant to be lived, as life is meant to be lived." Ron has never been signed to a music label, preferring to be able to create and share the most pure music possible. His music can be found at his homepage or at any of his concerts.

Joining him at this special show will be Forseeable Futures

The Salesman
Directed by Asghar Farhadi. Iran/France. 2017. 125 min. Persian with English subtitles.
Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 1 p.m. + 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 2 at 1 p.m. + 7:30 p.m.
Oscar-winning director Asghar Farhadi’s latest was one of the most highly anticipated films at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won Best Actor and Best Screenplay awards. It tells the story of a young Tehran couple who are amateur actors in a production of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. When their Tehran flat is damaged, Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti) are forced to move into a new apartment. An incident linked to the previous tenant of their new home dramatically changes the couple’s life.

See the trailer

2017 Oscar® Nominated Short Films
Audiences can see the best in shorts from around the world before the 89th Academy Awards.

2017 Oscar® Nominated Short Films: Documentary
Monday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 23 at 1 p.m.
Friday, Feb 24 at 1 p.m.

2017 Oscar® Nominated Short Films: Live Action
Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 1 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 16 at 1 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 25 at 4 p.m.

2017 Oscar® Nominated Short Films: Animation
Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 1 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 25 at 1 p.m. + 7:30 p.m.

Samson in Stone: 
New Discoveries in the Ancient Synagogue at Huqoq in Israel's Galilee
Thursday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m.
Since 2011, Professor Jodi Magness has been directing excavations in the ancient village of Huqoq in Israel's Galilee. The excavations have brought to light the remains of a monumental Late Roman (fifth century) synagogue building that is paved with stunning mosaics, including depictions of the biblical hero Samson, and the first non-biblical story ever discovered decorating an ancient synagogue. In this slide-illustrated lecture, Professor Magness describes these exciting finds, including the discoveries made in last summer.

Sponsored by Archaeological Institute of America, LLEA University of Hawaii

Chamber Music Hawaii: Maligned Master: Setting the Record Straight on Salieri
Sunday, Feb. 12 at 4 p.m.
$35 general admission, $45 premium seating; tickets available from or by calling (808) 489-5038
Hosted by KHON2 news anchorman and Mozart aficionado Joe Moore, this concert features an octet of Chamber Music Hawaii musicians performing the music of Salieri, including the U.S. premiere of Johann Wendt’s arrangements from Salieri’s opera La Grotta di Trofonio. Between the musical numbers, Moore will offer commentary on the true relationship between Salieri and Mozart.    


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About the Honolulu Museum of Art

One of the world’s premier art museums, the Honolulu Museum of Art presents international caliber special exhibitions and features a collection that includes Hokusai, van Gogh, Gauguin, Monet, Picasso and Warhol, as well as traditional Asian and Hawaiian art.

Located in two of Honolulu’s most beautiful buildings, visitors enjoy two cafés, gardens, and films and concerts at the theater. The museum is dedicated to bringing together great art and people to create a more harmonious, adaptable, and enjoyable society in Hawai’i.


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