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Contact:  Regina-Yasmeen Brown, Event Coordinator                        FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Phone:    412-728-1479                                                                                   Noon, June 24, 2014

Secondary Contact:  Sabira Bushra, Festival Coordinator

Cell:        412-657-6916



The Sembène African Film Festival

Joins the International Celebration of Writer James Baldwin

With a 90th Birthday Party Kick-Off


 Pittsburgh, PA, June 24, 2014: On Saturday, August 2nd, at 2:30 PM at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Homewood and the Sembène African Film Festival will join with organizations around the world in the year-long observance of the 90th birthday of novelist, essayist, playwright, social critic and civil rights activist James Baldwin.

Saturday, August 2, 2014 would be Baldwin’s 90th Birthday and Event Coordinator Yasmeen Brown sees this party “as the ‘City of Champions’ honoring one of the world’s greatest literary champions.”  To celebrate Baldwin’s birthday and to launch the city’s participation in the worldwide activities in his honor, the Sembène African Film Festival will screen James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket.



            James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket (78 minutes, 1990, USA) is a full length documentary by Karen Thorsen and Douglas Dempsey and was produced by the late William “Bill” Miles.  The film has received dozen of awards and is part of the PBS American Masters Series.  PBS/AMERICAN MASTERS describes the films as follows:


“… An emotional portrait, a social critique, and a passionate plea for human equality, James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket is now considered a classic.  Without using narration, the film allows Baldwin to tell his own story:  exploring what it means to be born black, impoverished, gay and gifted – in a world that has yet to understand that “all men are brothers.”

Back in 1989, James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket premiered on PBS/AMERICAN MASTERS.  Since then, repeated PBS broadcasts have reached millions of people.  The film has also been broadcast widely in Europe and Asia – and in 1998, an hour-long version was produced for French National Television…”

…. Intercutting rarely-seen archival footage from over one hundred sources and nine different countries, the film melds intimate interviews and eloquent public speeches with astounding private glimpses of Baldwin.  The film also includes a rich selection of original footage:  scenes from Baldwin’s extraordinary funeral service; explorations of Baldwin’s homes on three continents, including France, Switzerland, Turkey and Harlem; plus on-camera interviews with close friends, colleagues and critics.  Witnesses include his brother David; biographer David Leeming; writers Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka, William Styron, Ishmael Reed and Yashar Kemal; painter Lucien Happersberger and entertainer Bobby Short…” (




In addition to the film screening, there will be readings from local James Baldwin lovers, a timeline of James Baldwin’s massive body of work will be on display and the event will close with a birthday cake reception.  These festivities take place on Saturday, August 2, 2014, 2:30 PM, at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Homewood, 7101 Hamilton Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA  15208. The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Homewood is located at the corner of Hamilton and Lang Avenues and the only library in the city that boasts its own 196-seat auditorium!  The event is free and the public is welcome to attend.  Doors open at 2:00 PM.  Seating is on a first-come first-served basis.  So come early, and don’t miss the birthday cake!  For more details about the party, please visit after July 1st.



James Arthur Baldwin (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987) was an African-American writer, expatriate, and civil rights activist. His writings drew attention to and continue to shed light on some painful truths in American society:  poverty, family dysfunction, racism, gender bias and much more.  Baldwin authored more than 25 works – either as an individual or in collaboration; collaborated on music and spoken word projects and wrote and directed plays.


The anniversary of his 90th birthday begins a year of celebration around the world recognizing the impact of his timely literary contributions.  His works have been translated into 28 languages; early manuscripts, letters and papers are housed at Yale University’s Beinecke Library and the New York Public Library.


ABOUT THE YEAR OF JAMES BALDWIN – April 2014 – June 2015

A partnership of cultural organizations from around New York City declared 2014-2015 THE YEAR OF JAMES BALDWIN and from April 23, 2014 through June 15, 2015 every possible form of art event will take place to honor Baldwin’s 90th birthday (he was born in Harlem on August 2, 1924).  The main program partners include, Harlem Stage, New York Live Arts, the Harlem Book Far, New York University, the Vera List Center at the New School and Columbia University’s School of the Arts.  To learn more about THE YEAR OF JAMES BALDWIN, visit



The James Baldwin Project is a major undertaking of many partners including PBS American Masters, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, among others.  The James Baldwin Project’s main mission is two-fold (1) to restore the original film; and (2) to “… restore, digitize and disseminate James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket via Transmedia storytelling.  It accomplished restoration and James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket was rebroadcasted on PBS/American Masters in 2013.  The second part of the Project’s Mission: Happy Birthday Jimmy!!! begins on August 2, 2014, the 90th anniversary of James Baldwin’s birth.  The James Baldwin Project anticipates screenings, celebrations and programs worldwide through 2015.  For more information




The Sembène African Film Festival’s, beginning is 6th year of programming, is dedicated to presenting films from the African Diaspora.  In the spirit of Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembène, regarded as the father of African Cinema and considered as one of the most important filmmakers of the 20th century, the organizers see James Baldwin as the epitome of the “Revolutionary Artist” who used the pen and paper to fight for justice, peace and human and civil rights.  The Sembène African Film Festival is honored to present James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket.  Visit for more information.



The 90th Birthday Celebration of James Baldwin is a partnership between the Sembène African Film Festival and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Homewood.  The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Homewood is located on Hamilton Avenue at Lang Avenue in the Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh.  There is plenty of free off-street parking and the library is handicapped accessible.  For more information about CLPGH-Homewood, directions to the library and other events and activities held there please visit


Funding for the Sembène African Film Festival was provided by the A. W. Mellon Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation and Advancing Black Arts In Pittsburgh; a collaborative fund of the Heinz Endowments and The Pittsburgh Foundation.




            For more information about this event, please contact Regina-Yasmeen Brown, event coordinator by phone or email at (412) 728-1479 or Email: