'Passing Strange' to open Downtown fest

Spike Lee's film based on the Broadway musical

Spike Lee's "Passing Strange," a film version of the Tony-winning Broadway musical, will be the opening-night film when the 2009 Downtown Film Festival-Los Angeles kicks off Aug. 12 at the AT&T Center Theater.

Chad Goodridge and De'Adre Aziza, stars of both the original Broadway production and the film, will appear in person.

"Passing Strange" is the semi-autobiographical story of Los Angeles musician Stew, who in the early 1990s founded the influential pop-rock band the Negro Problem.

"We're honored to premiere any film by Spike Lee, but in particular 'Passing Strange' is a fitting way to begin our festival because of Stew's strong connection to the Silver Lake/Downtown L.A. arts scenes," said festival director Greg Ptacek.

The fest runs Aug. 12-22 in venues throughout downtown Los Angeles.