Isaiah Washington Bulleit

One of the highlights of this year's Pan African Film Festival was an evening hosted by actor and producer Isaiah Washington and sponsored by Bulleit Bourbon. Washington, who had three projects in the festival this year (Patrik-Ian Polk's Blackbird, Alexandre Moors' Blue Caprice and Stacey Muhammad's For Colored Boys) invited a small group of writers to dinner, where he discussed his life and career and what he looks to accomplish next.

Specifically, he addressed his career trajectory since his highly-publicized exit from ABC's Grey's Anatomy back in 2007. He and his wife, who celebrated their 18th wedding anniversary on the night of the event, shared the toll that the period took on their family and how that steered Washington towards the projects he's working on now - over the past few years, working on projects in Sierra Leone, reflecting on his career and writing his book, Man From Another Land.

Isaiah Washington Bulleit PAFF Dinner

Lately Washington has been focused on a lengthy slate of independent film projects, several of which we've discussed on this site, including star-studded short They Die By Dawn and John Sayles’ Go For Sisters.

2014 will see his involvement in at least two more independent features, including We Are Family, a family drama that brings together indie mainstays Choice Skinner and Datari Turner as well as Mo'Nique and Sleepy Hollow's Orlando Jones, whom Washington says is a revelation in the film.

He also spoke about Matthew Cherry's upcoming football drama Game-Time Decision, which looks to highlight Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a degenerative disease common to athletes who've suffered multiple head injuries. Washington was thrilled about the film, which is planned to go into production this summer, and mentioned talks with the NFL and other organizations for possible involvement.

As for what else is on the horizon, he hinted at working on a new project with Jahmil X. T. Qubeka (Of Good Report), and said that even a return to Grey's wasn't out of the question. But regardless of where we see him next, he expressed that he would never take Hollywood too seriously, and urged that he would continue to find grassroots projects that he could believe in.


Blackbird, which Washington both produced and co-starred in, had its world premiere at Pan African Film Festival and was chosen as the Bulleit Frontier Film for pushing the boundaries of the modern frontier of cinematography.