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WYLLISA BENNETT, publicist du jour

The Pan African Film Festival Wraps, Screening a Record-Breaking 225 Films, Representing 52 Countries in 26 Languages!

*Audience Favorite Award Winners Announced*

LOS ANGELES – The people have spoken! The votes have been counted, and the 28th annual Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) is excited to announce its Audience Favorite Award winners. PAFF wrapped its 12-day marathon of offerings from around the Diaspora. The winners include narrative two feature films, one boasting an all-star cast, starring Oscar winner Lou Gossett Jr. and Oscar nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo, as well as the Oscar-winning sound team from “Shape of Water;” and another one, nominated for an NAACP Image Award that examines the criminalization of Black girls from a paternalistic juvenile courts, and inspired legislation called "Ending PUSHOUT Act," sponsored by Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley.

 

PAFF is the largest Black film festival in the United States and the largest Black History Month cultural event in the nation. Here are the festival stats: PAFF has selected a record-breaking 225 film, representing 52 countries in 26 languages – that is, 86 feature films; 128 short films and 11 new media selection. Plus, ArtFest featured more than 100 fine artists from around the world. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has designated PAFF as an official qualifying film festival for live action and animation short films. The festival was held from February 11 – 23, 2020 at the Cinemark 15 Theatres, located at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in Los Angeles

 

The festival has cemented its role as a hub for breakthrough and award-winning Black films and filmmakers from around the world. PAFF is dedicated to the cinematic promotion and cultural exploration of peoples of African descent. It is PAFF’s goal to present and showcase the broad spectrum of Black creative works, particularly those that reinforce positive images and help destroy negative stereotypes. PAFF believes film and art can lead to better understanding and foster communication between peoples of diverse cultures, races, ethnicities, and lifestyles in an entertaining way.

 

And so, without further ado, here’s a list of the Audience Favorite Award winners from PAFF: 

 

AND THE WINNERS ARE …

·      Audience Favorite for Feature Narrative

The Cuban, directed by Sergio Navarretta

(Feature Narrative/Canada/Cuba/109min)

 

Movie synopsis: Luis is one of Mina’s most enigmatic patients – he has dementia and Alzheimers and spends his time in a wheelchair in a quiet corner of his room, retreated inside his own mind. To her surprise, Mina’s humming ignites a spark inside him and he begins to awaken. As each day passes, Luis reacts, reminisces, dances, and talks more and more. Their friendship blossoms – through his stories, Luis reveals his colorful past as a famous Cuban musician. “The Cuban” boasts an all-star cast with Oscar winner Lou Gossett Jr and Oscar nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo, as well as Giacomo Gianniotti (“Grey’s Anatom”y), Lauren Holly and Ana Golja “(Full Out,” “The Fanatic”). The film features the music of Grammy nominated pianist Hilario Duran, as well as the Oscar-winning sound team from “Shape of Water.”

 

 

·      Audience Favorite for Feature Documentary

PUSHOUT: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools, directed by Jacoba Atlas

(Feature Documentary/US/76min)


Movie Synopsis: An indictment of the criminalization and miseducation of African American girls that has led to their alarming high school dropout rate and increase into the juvenile justice system. Schools, throughout the country, have become a key entry point into the juvenile justice system with Black girls being the fastest growing population in this system. PUSHOUT tells the story through the eyes of the girls themselves from elementary to post high school and explores the many reasons for this increase in the criminalization of Black girls from paternalistic juvenile courts who do not understand the unique challenges these girls face, a lack of community based, culturally competent and gender sensitive responses to the way girls of color are perceived by mainstream society is often at the root of this push to criminalize our young people. This criminalization of Black girls disrupts one of the most important protective factors in a girl's life “education”. Update: Pushout inspired legislation called "Ending PUSHOUT Act" sponsored by Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley.

 

 

·      Audience Favorite for Narrative Short

My Father Belize, directed by Leon Lozano

(Short Narrative/Belize/30min)


Movie synopsis: A man travels to Belize to scatter the ashes of his deceased father with whom he had an estranged relationship. While in Belize, he discovers things that forces him to face his own conflicted feelings about fatherhood.

 

 

·      Audience Favorite for Documentary Short

Once in a Hundred Years: The Life & Legacy of Marion Anderson, directed by Bill Nicoleti

(Short Documentary/US/40min)

 

Movie synopsis: In the 1930s, the great and acclaimed singer, Marian Anderson succeeded in breaking down one of the most daunting barriers closed to Black Americans – that is, the classical music stage. She was the first African American to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

 

In addition to Audience Favorite awards, the festival also handed out a variety of juried prizes, including Best Narrative Feature, Best First Feature Film, Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short, and Best Narrative Short during an awards ceremony at the close of the festival.

 

For a full list of the PAFF winners, visit: https://pitchengine.com/wyllisa-bennett-publicist-du-jour/9999/12/31/the-pan-african-film-festival-wraps-screening/002518196393977038480


For a recap of the PAFF’s awards brunch, hosted by executive director Ayuko Babu, visit: https://www.dropbox.com/s/djfz0d1hl5j4gny/Master_brunch_AWARDS_SHOW_003.mp4?dl=0

 

In honor of the late actress and co-founder Ja’Net Dubois, who unexpectedly passed away during the festival, prizes were re-named in her honor. Dubois was best known for her role as Willona in the TV series, “Good Times.” For the official statement by co-founders award-winning Danny Glover and executive director Ayuko Babu on the death of Ja’Net Dubois, visit https://pitchengine.com/wyllisa-bennett-publicist-du-jour/2020/02/20/co-founders-of-the-pan-african-film-festival/002518200791210254854

 

It celebrated its 28th anniversary in grand style with a string of highly-anticipated films, which included a comedy by the multi-hyphenated host and entertainer Nick Cannon; a feature, executive produced by NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal; plus, a special screening of the action-packed series, “Queen Sono,” out of South Africa, presented by Netflix along with a wedding!

 

SPONSORS

PAFF is sponsored by Los Angeles City Council President Emeritus Herb Wesson, Jr.; Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas; Los Angeles City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson (District 8); Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza; Cinemark 15; the Directors Guild of America (DGA); FilmLA; Sony Pictures; Brotherhood Crusade; as well as the City of Los Angeles; the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs; the Los Angeles Department of Arts and Culture, UMC, Independent Lens, Union Bank, FilmLA, the Los Angeles Lakers, Trinidad & Tobago, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Disney, CAA and Imagine Media.

 

Additional support of opening night festivities and the screening of “Hero” made possible by Trinidad and Tobago, Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts; Imagine Media; CaribbeanTales; and California Pictures.

 

ABOUT THE PAN AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL

Celebrating its 28th 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 around the world. PAFF holds the distinction of being the largest Black History Month event in the country. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has designated PAFF as an official qualifying film festival for live action and animation short films.

 

PAFF is a non-profit corporation, 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 Pan African Affairs.  PAFF is dedicated to the promotion of ethnic and racial respect and tolerance through the exhibit of films, art and creative expression.

 

For the official statement by co-founders award-winning Danny Glover and executive director Ayuko Babu on the death of Ja’Net Dubois, visit:

https://pitchengine.com/wyllisa-bennett-publicist-du-jour/2020/02/20/co-founders-of-the-pan-african-film-festival/002518200791210254854

 

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, ethnicities, and lifestyles in an entertaining way while at the same time, serving as a vehicle to initiate dialogue on the important issues of our times.

 

For more information, please visit www.paff.org, email info@paff.org, or call (310) 337-4737.

 

ON A SOCIAL NOTE:

Find PAFF:                              www.PAFF.org

Follow PAFF:                          @PAFFNow or Instagram and Twitter

Be a Friend on Facebook:     https://www.facebook.com/PAFFnow/