Tag Archives: Black Filmmakers

Local Sightings Filmmakers Crack the Alabaster Jesus Façade

by Beverly Aarons


“This film is dedicated to the future memory of white supremacy, the new world’s original gangster,” a deep voice declares. That’s how Manifest Destiny Jesus begins. Orchestral music blares, white text fades onto a black background, the words of English writer William Gilpin come into view: “The untransacted destiny of the American people is to subdue the continent — to rush over this vast field to the Pacific Ocean.”

Seattle’s crane-filled skyline comes into view. Logos of the richest and most powerful corporations in the nation glide down towering skyscrapers. Weathered tent cities cling to a dusty underpass. Seattle: a paragon of westward expansion and capitalist conquest. Fast forward: Displaced Seattleites lament the relentless hammer of gentrification. “I can’t even afford to live here,” a man says. 

A woman sits in Columbia City Church of Hope, a stained glass Jesus hovers above, his ivory hand points westward. 

Manifest Destiny Jesus, which screens at this month’s “Local Sightings” film festival, is a documentary that explores how the widespread portrayal of Jesus as white influences everything from gentrification to police brutality. And how one small church in a gentrifying South Seattle found the courage to ask, “What does it mean to worship a white Jesus?” 

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LANGSTON’s Newly Rebranded Seattle Black Film Festival Moves Online to Celebrate Black Cinematic Brilliance

by Vivian Hua 華婷婷


Celebrating the diversity of Black cinematic brilliance, the 17th-annual Seattle Black Film Festival (SBFF) begins Friday, July 10, and runs through Sunday, July 12. Hosted by LANGSTON, a hub for Black arts and culture in the Central District, this year’s festival will be presented online for the first time, in partnership with the independent film screening and music platform, Couch-a-thon. It comes three months after the festival was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Creatives need their works to be shown more than ever and to connect with other filmmakers telling Black stories. We feel the acute need [to show] solidarity and amplify voices,” explains SBFF Director Andrea Stuart-Lehalle. “This is really an important moment for Black creatives, so I’m really happy we found a way to keep our platform going.”

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