Los Angeles-The first weekend of the Pan African Film and Arts Festival is a wrap! Don’t despair; there is still time to catch the festival, which runs through Monday, February 19th at the Rave Cinemark Theatres and at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.Yes, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, each year we get to go on a global journey of the African diaspora through cinema and to enjoy the brilliant artwork of local and international artists.
Launched in 1992 by a group of activists including Ayuko Babu-Executive Director of PAFF, actor Danny Glover and “Good Times” actress Ja’Net DuBois, out of concern about the portrayal of black people in the media, the festival seeks to promote inclusivity, diversity of storytelling and accurate representations of the black experience.PAFF has grown from a seven-day festival screening almost 40 films to an amazing 12-day festival that screens more than 170 films. The Pan African Film and Arts Festival is the largest black film festival in the United States and globally for that matter.
My enjoyment of the festival commenced with a “Conversation with Pearlena Igbokwe”, President of Universal Television, a subsidiary of NBC Universal Television Group and the first woman of African descent to head a
major U.S. television studio. The conversation took place with Ms. Milan Zoe, TV/Radio Personality, and Event Host & Producer, in the Community Room of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. This engaging conversation provided insight into the career of Pearlena Igbokwe, diversity in the entertainment industry, importance of inclusion, equality and respect and how she is serving as an inspiration to others.( See conversation below).
My journey continued with the Saturday Morning Children’s Festival and their parents/guardians enjoying an incredible animation movie “CoCo.” The fun continued on The Bridge, where the Lakers Youth Foundation sponsored a variety of workshops to engage all in attendance. The kids walked away with some wonderful Laker swag as well as their finished arts and crafts items. Sharon Blackburn, Sherrese Moise and Linda Bronson coordinated the Morning Children’s Festival.
#Talk4REEL consisted of conversations that move cultures and careers forward. This was one of many highlights of the first weekend. The Nate Parker Foundation through cinematic arts provided a platform to empower young voices of African descent to advance social justice and revolutionize culture. The students shined brightly doing the screening of two short films. #Hashtag, was about a college debate student’s struggles to deal with the pain of love and loss, racial injustice and police brutality.
The second movie was entitled Baggage, this was also a powerful movie that dealt with and confronts issues of colorism within the black community through a confrontational relationship between two college roommates of different skin complexions at a Historic Black College/University. Someone brought up Spike Lee’s movie School Daze as a comparison, and noted that this continues to be an issue in the African American community. The students spoke eloquently and passionatly about being an agent of change in their respective mediums or career endeavors. The Nate Parker Foundation students understood the importance of how storytellers transform not only the arts, but also society at large and how the stories that they share will change and impact the African American community.
TV One: Social Justice Screening and Community Forum screened two short films- Two Sides, examination of multiple viewpoints regarding recent cases involving police brutality with the intention of getting people to consider all angles of controversial issues.
The second screening presented by TV One was Evidence of Innocent, which was a sneak peak of an upcoming 4-part series slated for 2018 on TV One. The movies were followed by a panel featuring D’ Angela Proctor, TV One SVP of Programming and Production, Rushion McDonald, 3815 Media, Executive Producer, “Evidence of Innocence,” Cheryl Dorsey, Retired Sergeant LAPD, Nana Gyamfi, Attorney, Black Lives Matter, Julius Tennon, JuVee Productions, Executive Producer, “Two Sides,” Lemuel Plummer, L Plummer Media, Executive Producer, “Two Sides,” moderated by Judge Kevin Ross, Host and Producer, “America’s Court with Judge Ross.”
I returned to the Pan African Film and Arts Festival for several additional inspiring events. PeQue Brown is one the many artists with a booth that featured arts and crafts on both levels of the Mall.
Seed & Spark showcased an innovative new streaming service that is changing the way films are financed and distributed. Founded by Emily Best, her team discussed the way the future of filmmaking and distribution (equal parts streaming network and crowd funding platforms). Three films were screened during this event: Kingsley’s Crossing, Across the Tracks and Matter of Black. Visit www.seedandspark.com I’m sure that you will be as excited about this new platform as the people in the audience were as it was presented during the 26th Annual Pan African Film and Arts Festival.
The cast and crew of Muslimah’s Guide to Marriage graced the Red Carpet before the screening of this popular comedy.
The Quad presented by BET featured the 4th episode of the hit BET series that was followed by a discussion with the writers of this popular show. The show writers consisted of Felecia D. Henderson, Randy Huggins, Sara Finney-Johnson, Jasmen D. Brown and Kevin Arkadi.
For more information about events, films and programs for the Pan African Film & Arts Festival visit www.paff.org click on Special Programs, then click on Film Guide or visit https://www.paff.org/pdfs/2018/screenings_schedule-2018-2.pdf
Photos by The Immigrant Magazine and Ricky Richardson.
Video By The Immigrant Magazine Tv