LOS ANGELES – Coming off a phenomenal year of black films, the Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) is raising the bar, and set to give movie goers a 12-day marathon of offerings from around the Diaspora. PAFF will celebrate its 22nd anniversary in grand style with a string of highly-anticipated films, which includes a controversial film, initially banned in South Africa; a comedy, starring comic Kevin Hart, of course; and the return of Oscar-winner Mo’Nique to the big screen!
First up: The Los Angeles premiere of the striking South African film noir “Of Good Report,” directed by Jahmil X.T. Qubeka. In a bold move, the festival will showcase the third feature by Qubeka, which deals with the taboo subject of an obsessive teacher-pupil affair. Festivities will kick off with a star-studded Opening Night Gala at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 6, 2014 at the new Rave Cinemas Baldwin Hills 15 at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in Los Angeles.
This year, PAFF has selected a total of 179 films, representing 46 countries -- that is, 41 feature-length documentaries, 23 short documentaries, 56 narrative features, and 59 narrative shorts as well as 11 webseries in the new category of New Media. The festival will hand out prizes for Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short, Best Narrative Short, Best Narrative Feature, and Best First Feature Film as well as audience favorite awards at the close of the festival.
PAFF will take movie goers on a cinematic journey with screenings from around the world – including such countries as Argentina, Brazil, Bahamas, Canada, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, and of course, the United States. PAFF hopes these films with global appeal will open the minds of its audiences, and transport them to lands far away and back home again … without ever packing a suitcase.
Here’s a quick look at the lineup of some the festival’s mega marquee screenings:
MEGA MAIN ATTRACTIONS
Night Los Angeles Premiere
“Of Good Report” (South Africa/101 minutes/2013) | February 6, 2014 – directed by Jahmil X.T. Qubeka. Parker, a shy and mysterious high school teacher, arrives at his new assignment in a rural school. While he is earnest in his passion for teaching, his extra-curricular attentions are drawn to a gorgeous young girl. When he realizes she is a student at his very school -- and forbidden fruit -- he grows increasingly obsessed with her. When the girl goes missing, a female detective comes snooping around, fueling Parker’s unstable, even dangerous, behavior. It’s a modern-day classic, a film noir that will in time prove to be a milestone in Pan African films. Mothusi Magano (Parker) and Petronella Tshum (Nolitha) co-stars along with Thobi Mkhwanazi , Nomhlé Nkyonyeni , Tshamano Sebe.
Centerpiece Presentation World Premiere*
“About Last Night” (US/100 minutes/2013) | February 11, 2014 -- directed by Steve Pink. A very hip re-imagining of the classic sophisticated romantic comedy, this contemporary version closely follows new love for two couples as they journey from the bar to the bedroom, and are eventually put to the test in the real world. The cast includes Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Joy Bryant, Christopher McDonald and Paula Patton.
Closing Night World Premiere
“Blackbird” (US/102 minutes/2013) | February 16, 2014 -- directed by Patrick-Ian Polk. Based on the novel by Larry Duplechan, this film is a powerful coming-of-age story about 17-year-old Randy Rousseau. A devout high school choir boy, Randy is struggling to come to terms with his sexuality in a small, religiously-conservative Mississippi town he calls home. Randy juggles his role as star of the church choir while facing the everyday trials of life as a high school misfit. Complicating matters, his little sister has gone missing and his parents have subsequently split up, leaving him to care for his heartbroken mother, Claire. When Claire discovers the shocking secret her son has been hiding, she blames him for the disappearance of his sister. Randy's father, Lance, who has been keeping a watchful eye on his broken family, steps in to give his son a hand as he struggles to make the difficult transition into manhood.The cast includes Oscar-winner Mo’Nique (“Precious”) and veteran actor Isaiah Washington, fresh off his critically-acclaimed and Gotham Award-nominated performance in “Blue Caprice.”
*Note: With the exception of the super-sized centerpiece presentation, all PAFF screenings and panels will take place at the new Rave Cinemas Baldwin Hills at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. (The theatre is situated on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard between Marlton Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard) For more information about the official selections of the Pan African Film Festival, visit the festival’s website at: http://www.paff.org/paff-2014-films-selected/
PAFF, America's largest and most prestigious Black film festival, will take place February 6-17, 2014 at the new Rave Cinemas Baldwin Hills 15 at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. (The theatre is situated on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard between Marlton Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard)
PAFF is the grant recipient of the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. The festival thanks the generous support of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza and RAVE Cinemas. For more information, visit www.PAFF.org
ABOUT THE PAN AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL
Gearing up for its 22nd anniversary, the Pan African Film and Arts Festival (PAFF), is America's largest and most prestigious Black film festival. Each year, it screens more than 150 films made by and/or about people of African descent from the United States, Africa, the Caribbean, South America, the South Pacific, Latin America, Europe and Canada. PAFF holds the distinction of being the largest Black History Month event in the country.
PAFF was founded in 1992 by award-winning actor Danny Glover (“The Color Purple,” “Lethal Weapon” movie franchise), Emmy Award-winning actress Ja’Net DuBois (best known for her role as Willona in the tv series, “Good Times”) and executive director, Ayuko Babu, an international legal, cultural and political consultant who specializes in African Affairs. PAFF is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the promotion of ethnic and racial respect and tolerance through the exhibit of films, art and creative expression.
The goal of PAFF is to present and showcase the broad spectrum of Black creative works, particularly those that reinforce positive images, help to destroy negative stereotypes and depict an expanded vision of the Black experience. PAFF believes film and art can lead to better understanding and foster communication between peoples of diverse cultures, races, and lifestyles, while at the same time, serve as a vehicle to initiate dialogue on the important issues of our times.
For more information, please visit www.PAFF.org or call (310) 337-4737.