February 4-17, 2025
Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza
Cinemark Baldwin Hills & XD
We Grown Now 1 - Kaitlyn C

2024 Pan African Film & Arts Festival Filmmaker Awards Announced!

The 2024 Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF) concluded its highly anticipated showcase of African and African diaspora cinema and arts with a standing room only awards ceremony brunch, honoring exceptional filmmakers who captivated audiences this year with their creative vision and storytelling prowess.

Held at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza on Mon., Feb. 19, the awards ceremony was a celebration of diversity, talent, and cultural richness, reflecting the festival’s commitment to promoting African heritage and narratives on a global stage.

Among the highlights of the afternoon was the presentation of the coveted Filmmaker Awards in various categories, recognizing excellence in filmmaking across genres. From compelling narratives to groundbreaking documentaries, the winning films stood out for their artistic merit, social relevance, and profound impact on PAFF’s audiences.

“We Grown Now,” starring Jurnee Smollett, S. Epatha Merkerson and Lil Rel Howery and directed by Minhal Baig, took home the festival jury’s Best Feature Narrative prize.

Set in 1992, “We Grown Now” tells the riveting story of two young legends in their own right, best friends Malik and Eric traverse Chicago, looking to escape the mundaneness of school and the hardships of growing up in public housing. Their unbreakable bond is challenged when tragedy shakes their community just as they are learning to fly. Stars Jurnee Smollett, S. Epatha Merkerson and Lil Rel Howery.

The documentary “Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes” about musician Max Roach, whose far-reaching ambitions were inspired and challenged by the inequities of the society around him, won the jury’s Best Feature Documentary. Roach’s stunningly diverse seven-decade career marked him as one of the great musical artists of the 20th century—and a pioneering cultural activist—at times when the nation was steeped in racism. Viewers follow Roach across a rich and complicated life, days of now-legendary achievement and also deep personal struggle, and the price he paid for his outspoken views. The film was directed by Sam Pollard and Ben Shapiro and offered commentary from Max Roach, Quincy Jones, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, and Sonny Rollins.

Mario Van Peebles’ sequel to his hit western film “Posse,” shared the festival’s Audience Favorite Award for Narrative Feature and earned the Programmers’ Award for Best Narrative Feature.

“Outlaw Posse” starts in 1908 when Chief returns from years of hiding in Mexico to claim stolen gold hidden in the hills of Montana. In his quest, he reunites an ensemble of fresh and familiar faces – together they fight off Angel, whose rationale to the gold leaves a trail of deception and dead bodies.

With Van Peebles at the helm as director and starring in a lead role, the film captivated audiences with its blend of action, drama, and social commentary.

“We can make Edutainment, we can make films that show our-story– not just his-story, but equally important, are film festivals run by conscious people that reflect us and give our movies a platform,” said Van Peebles. “The Pan African Film Festival is our festival. It’s run by our folks! I am truly honored and excited to premiere ‘Outlaw Posse’ as the closing night film. This festival holds a special place in my heart for its commitment to diverse storytelling, and I believe ‘Outlaw Posse’ aligns perfectly with the spirit of this celebration.”

“Outlaw Posse” stars Mario van Peebles, Whoopi Goldberg, Cedric the Entertainer, John Carrol Lynch, Neil McDonough, Edward James Olmos, M. Emmet Walsh, DC Young Fly, and Cam Gigandet.

The Ethiopian drama “Doka” tied with “Outlaw Posse” for Audience Favorite Narrative Feature.

In “Doka,” set in present-day Ethiopia, a young nurse’s life is upended when a violent regional conflict erupts shortly after she arrives in a rural town to start a new job. Thrust into the chaos, she cares for the wounded on both sides while leading the charge for unity. A gripping human drama set against the backdrop of a multi-generational civil war.

The Bob Marley biopic “Bob Marley: One Love,” directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green won the Ja’Net Dubois Festival Award for Best Narrative Feature.

The recipients of PAFF’s prestigious awards represent a diverse array of talents from across the African continent and its diaspora, showcasing the depth and breadth of storytelling within the film industry.
As the curtains draw on another successful edition of PAFF, organizers express their gratitude to sponsors, partners, volunteers, and attendees for their unwavering support in making the festival a resounding success.
A special virtual encore of select films from this year’s Festival is available through March 31, 2023 on paff.org.

The full list of award winners at the 32nd Pan African Film & Arts Festival includes:


Best Feature Narrative

We Grown Now
(US 🇺🇸)
Director: Minhal Baig


Best First Feature Narrative

Power Alley
(Brazil 🇧🇷)
Director: Lillah Halla


Best Feature Documentary

Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes
(US 🇺🇸)
Director: Ben Shapiro and Sam Pollard


Best First Feature Documentary

Brief Tender Light
(Ghana 🇬🇭)
Director: Arthur Musah


Best Short Narrative

The Last Ranger
(South Africa 🇿🇦)
Director: Cindy Lee


Best Short Documentary

Own the 8 Count
(US 🇺🇸)
Directors: child




Narrative Feature

(Ethiopia 🇪🇹)
Directors: Kidist Yilma


Outlaw Posse
(US 🇺🇸)
Director: Mario Van Peebles


Documentary Feature

HumaniTree: A Story of Us Humans
(UK 🇬🇧)
Director: Nuakai Aru


Respect My Crown: The Rise of African American Women in California Politics
(US 🇺🇸)
Director: Pamela Bright-Moon


Short Narrative

Superman Doesn’t Steal
(US 🇺🇸)
Director: Tamika Lamison


Short Documentary

The Orchestra Chuck Built
(US 🇺🇸)
Directors: Christopher Stoudt




Best Narrative Feature

Outlaw Posse
(US 🇺🇸)
Director: Mario Van Peebles


Best Documentary Feature

One Person, One Vote?
(US 🇺🇸)
Director: Maximina Juson


Best Short

Inner Demons
(US 🇺🇸)
Director: Jasmine J Johnson





Best Narrative Feature

Bob Marley: One Love
(US 🇺🇸)
Director: Reinaldo Marcus Green


Best Documentary

Sing! Fight! Sing! Fight! From LeRoi to Amiri
(US 🇺🇸)
Director: Colin Still


Best Short

As the Cookie Crumbles
(US 🇺🇸)
Director: Aimiende Negbenebor Sela

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