7,200 miles away from Los Angeles in Ougadodo, Burkina Faso, Ayuko Babu had the idea to showcase Black film and filmmakers in Los Angeles was born. It was 1989, the 20th anniversary of FESPACO also known as The Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou, the largest film festival in Africa. Photo: Place des cineastes, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
A Plan Is Made
Ayuko Babu, actor Danny Glover (The Color Purple, Lethan Weapon), and others with the help of then-Chairman of the U.S. Subcommittee on Africa Rep. Mervyn Dymally and Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaoré conceived a plan to bring African cinema to the U.S. Thirty years later, the Pan African Film Festival (PAFF), is still going strong and is the largest Black film festival in America.
PAFF’s inaugural celebration took place over seven days in October of 1992 following the city’s civil unrest in Los Angeles. It was held at the Laemmle Sunset 5 and showcased over 40 films from the African diaspora.
Our First Opening Night!
Opening night, October 15, 1992, featured five film screenings--Sarraounia (Burkina Faso), Chameleon Street (US), Heritage Africa (Ghana), Toubab Bi (Senegal/France), and Ava & Gabriel (Curacao).
Actors Danny Glover and Whoopie Goldberg (The Color Purple) served as the co-hosts and all of Black Hollywood’s elite were in attendance including actress Ja’Net Dubois (“Good Times”) who joined Glover ad a co-founder of the festival.
Burkina Faso First Lady Madame Chantal Compaoré was the festival's special guest and honoree.