CONTINUING WITH ‘BEST OF PAFF’ CELEBRATION, PAN AFRICAN FILM & ARTS FESTIVAL TO CELEBRATE THE STORIES AND VOICES OF BLACK WOMEN IN FILM WITH SPECIAL VIRTUAL FILM SERIES MAR 10-23
PAFF in-person festival set for April in Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES – The Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF), the largest Black film festival in America, will continue its yearlong 30th celebration in March with the second of several specially curated blocks of the festival’s most fascinating, complex, and most liked films over the past three decades. The “Best of PAFF” Women’s History Month Film Series is a selection of films that is a celebration of the revolutionary work of international women filmmakers, actors, and stories of women of African descent speaking with their voice in a male-dominated field. From the US to Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Mexico, and Africa, PAFF will showcase the diverse stories of Black women throughout the African diaspora. The film series will take place virtually Mar. 10-23, 2022. Film listings, tickets, and passes are available at paff.org.
In addition, the 30th annual Pan African Film and Arts Festival is slated to take place April 19-May 1 after being postponed due to the rise of COVID cases in Los Angeles County. The in-person festival will take place in Los Angeles at its flagship venues the Directors Guild of America, Cinemark Baldwin Hills and XD and Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.
The Pan African Film & Arts Festival is sponsored in part by the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell through the Department of Arts and Culture, Los Angeles City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson (8th District), Los Angeles City Councilmember Curren Price (9th District), Los Angeles’ 10th Council District, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, LA Arts COVID-19 Relief Fund with the California Community Foundation, and the LA County COVID-19 Arts Relief Fund administered by the LA County Department of Arts and Culture.
Below are the films featured in the virtual “Best of PAFF” Women’s History Month Film Series Mar. 10-23, 2022.
Angelica (Puerto Rico/Narrative/100min/2017)
Director: Marisol Gomez-Mouakad
After a long absence from Puerto Rico, Angelica returns home when her father, Wilfredo, suffers a stroke. This unexpected return and her father’s illness force Angelica to re-evaluate her relationship with her mother and family members who don’t accept her because of her skin color. She must face herself and discovers that she does not know who she is. A psychological drama that illustrates how discrimination affects family and other relationships.
Awards: Honorable Mention at NYLFF 2017
Barrow – Freedom Fighter (Barbados/Documentary/84min/2016)
Director: Marcia Weekes
The passionate docu-drama illuminating the courage of one man who relentlessly preached a gospel of economic self-reliance and self-respect to the people of his native country, Barbados, and beyond. He defied the status quo, confronted racism and classicism, fought colonial oppression and selflessly led his people to political and economic freedom. A hero lives for the other…that was The Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow, Father of Independence, Reformer, National Hero of Barbados.
Awards: Best Diaspora Documentary, Africa Movie Academy Award, 2018; Programmers’ Award-Documentary, PAFF 2018
Civil Brand* (US/Narrative/95min/2002)
Director: Neema Barnette
When a beautiful young nurse and mother is incarcerated for killing her abusive husband, she doesn’t realize that she has just become a newly initiated working member of one of the most profitable businesses in America–the prison industrial complex.
Awards: Best Film, American Black Film Festival, 2002; Audience Award and Special Jury Prize, Urbanworld, 2002; Festival Prize, PAFF 2003
Director: Stephanie Linus
An African doctor living in Wales avoids visiting her homeland because of a trauma suffered in childhood. When her missionary mother falls ill, she reluctantly agrees to return home to take her place. On the trip, Zara learns to face her past while helping other young woman from suffering her same trauma. Stars Stephanie Okereke.
Awards: Programmers’ Award-Narrative Feature, PAFF 2016; AMAA 2016-Rivers State Govenment Endowed Award-Best Nigerian Film; Best Protagonist -Bentonville Film Festival; Best Supporting Actress- Zafaa Awards; Best Producer-Zafaa Awards
Director: Mariette Monpierre
A young Parisian woman of Caribbean descent returns to her native island of Guadeloupe looking for the father she has never known. Stunning visuals and an incredible soundtrack makes this a beauty, not to be missed!
Awards: Programmer’s Narrative Award & Special Jury Recognition, PAFF 2012; PAFF/BAFTA-LA Award, 2012
Everything But a Man (US/Narrative/110min/2016)
Director: Nnegest Likké
A career-focused woman with no time for love finds unexpected romance with a Black man from another culture, but their radical lifestyle differences threaten to shake up her world and challenge her beliefs about love, relationships and what it means to be a “strong” woman. Race, class, gender and culture all clash in this unconventional romantic comedy-drama. Stars Jimmy Jean-Louis.
Awards: Audience Award- Narrative Feature, PAFF 2017
Kingston Paradise (Jamaica/Narrative/83min/2013)
Director: Mary Wells
A small-time hustler driven by poverty gets caught up in a life of petty crime while his lady-friend dreams for peace depicted in a painting, This off beat urban thriller unfolds the couple’s struggle to survive the chaos of their broken dreams and aspirations finally culminating in an act of reckless despiration that will change their lives forever.
Awards: Best Feature Narrative for the Diaspora, AMAA, 2014; Audience Award, Best Feature-Caribbean Tales Film Festival
Director: Amanda Kopp & Aaron Kopp
A Swazi girl embarks on a dangerous quest to rescue her young twin brothers. This animated African tale is born in the imaginations of five orphaned children in Swaziland who collaborate to tell a story of perseverance drawn from their darkest memories and brightest dreams. Their fictional character’s journey is interwoven with poetic and observational documentary scenes to create a genre-defying celebration of collective storytelling.
Awards: Grand Jury Award Best Documentary – LA Film Festival; Jury Award for Artistic Bravery – Durban International Film Festival
Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings the Band (US/Documentary/70min/2014)
Director: Carol Bash
The amazing Mary Lou Williams was a genius–ahead of her time. During an era when Jazz was the nation’s popular music, Williams was one of its greatest innovators. As both a pianist and composer, she was a wellspring of creativity who helped shape the sound of the 20th century. But away from the piano, Williams was a woman in a “man’s world,” a Black person in a “whites only” society, an ambitious artist who dared to be different. Narrated by Alfre Woodard.
Awards: Programmers’ Award-Documentary, PAFF 2015
Neshoba: The Price of Freedom (US/Documentary/90min/2008)
Director: Micki Dickoff & Tony Pagano
For 40 years after the murder of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner nobody was held accountable. That was until 2005 when the state of Mississippi indicted Preacher Edgar Ray Killien. This documentary takes you inside the courtroom and reveals the truth behind this infamous crime which defined a generation. Told with spellbinding precision, this film should be seen by all who remember in hopes we never forget.
Awards: Best Documentary, Boston Film Festival, 2008; Best Directors and Best Political Film, New York Int’l Independent Film Festival, 2008; Best Documentary Feature Nominee, PAFF 2010; Audience Award, Black Harvest Film Festival, 2010
Play the Devil (Trinidad & Tobago/Bahamas/Narrative/92min/2016)
Director: Maria Govan
Set against the backdrop of Trinidad and Tobago’s mystical Carnival, the film follows the push-pull between 18-year-old Gregory, a gifted and struggling student, and the glamorously wealthy businessman James, who dutifully carries on the lucrative family business while remaining in a loveless marriage. The two men strike an uncanny friendship as James takes Greg under his wing, pushing him to discover himself professionally, creatively, and intimately. Confused, Greg must at once deal with the return of his drug-addicted father and navigate through the early days of adulthood. As Carnival Monday approaches and the locals prepare for the annual male initiation parade, Greg must confront James – an act which will culminate in life-changing events.
Awards: Best Feature Nominee, PAFF 2018
PUSHOUT: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools (US/Documentary/76min/2019)
Director: Jacoba Atlas
Alarmingly, African American girls are the fastest-growing population in the criminal justice system and the only group of girls to disproportionately experience criminalization at every education level. PUSHOUT underscores the challenges Black girls face with insights from experts across the country who have worked extensively in the field of social justice, gender equality and educational equity, giving context to the crisis and providing a roadmap for how our educational system and those who interact with Black girls can provide a positive rather than punitive response to behaviors that are often misunderstood or misrepresented.
Awards: Jury Honorable Mention – Best Documentary, PAFF 2020
Shaina (Zimbabwe, South Africa/Narrative/97min/2020)
Director: Beautie Masvaure Alt
Shaina (Shine) is a teenager who has a knack for making something out of nothing and could have a promising future as an engineer, except for the fact that she doesn’t believe in herself. When she and her best friends are faced with a host of grown-up problems – loss of loved ones, unpaid exam fees and the curse of “blessers” – they come close to giving up. Their story is one of forgiveness and friendship, of creating a new family from the people who love you, and of the very real girl power.
Shoot the Messenger (Nigeria/UK/Narrative/100min/2006)
Director: Ngozi Onwurah
A Black teacher is falsely accused of assaulting one of his Black pupils. He loses his job and his sanity as the Black community brands him a racist. Destitute, he must confront his fear and hatred of his own community to reclaim his life. A highly provocative comedy about one Black man’s feelings on being Black. Shocking, disturbing and funny, the spotlight is thrown on racial views and attitudes in a way that is anything but “politically correct!” Stars David Oyelowo (Selma).
Awards: Jury Favorite Award, PAFF 2007
AFRICAN AMERICAN SHORTS SERIES 1
First Day Back (US/Narrative/21min/2019)
Director: Deshawn L Plair
It’s the first day back at school for the faculty and students of Lincoln High School in Philadelphia, after a fight between two students from rival neighborhoods resulted in the death of a fellow student, left others injured and changed the community forever. On this first day back, everyone struggles to adjust to the new normal – metal detectors, clear backpacks, and security escorts – with arguments erupting among teachers on the best way to protect the students and themselves. Superintendent Greene, a straight-laced administrator concerned about the district’s image and anxious for positive press, allows a local news crew to film the first day back, much to the dismay of the school’s leader, Principal Wallace. Focused on showing the school in the best light, she avoids problem areas, arranges interviews with top students and pushes for a moment with resident hero, Mr. Harris, the teacher who attempted to break up the fatal argument and was injured in the process. But both the news crew and Superintendent Greene get much more than they bargained for when tempers flare and students reveal how they truly feel about the violence and their new way of life.
Lalo’s House (US/Narrative/26min/2017)
Director: Kelley Kali
Inspired by true events, LALO’S HOUSE follows the relentless courage of Manouchka, a 14-year-old Haitian girl, and her 5-year-old sister, Phara, who are abducted and thrown into an underground prostitution network that is posing as a Catholic orphanage. Forced to grow up prematurely, Manouchka must fight to save Phara and escape the fraudulent nun, Sister Francine, who holds them captive.
Awards: Programmers’ Award, PAFF, 2018; Director’s Guild of America Student Director Award, 2018; Best Narrative Short – KCET Fine Cut, 2019; Shadow and Act Rising Star Award, 2019
Quiet Denial (US/Narrative/16min/2018)
Director: Zuri Alexander
An African-American woman deals with degrading remarks and insults while auditioning to study classical piano with a world-renowned concert pianist.
Awards: Audience Award, L.A. Shorts, 2018; Silver Award, International Independent Film Awards, 2018; Award of Recognition, Best Shorts Competition, 2018
The Power Of Hope (US/Narrative/8min/2020)
Director: Kalia Love Jones
When her mother falls ill, an aspiring architect grapples with feelings of helplessness, but moved by the words of Michelle Obama, she finds the will to persevere and bring her dreams to life.
Awards: Youth Visionary Award, PAFF 2021
Treeline Lake (US/Narrative/25min/2019)
Director: Sinah Ober
A military trauma surgeon and his twenty-something son take the ashes of their deceased wife and mother to Treeline Lake, a place she loved. Against his father’s wishes, the son creates a podcast about the experience that he hopes will advance his career as a radio journalist. This is the story of their last trip as a family.
Awards: Best Short Film, Katra Film Series, 2022
AFRICAN AMERICAN SHORTS SERIES 2
Director: Angela McCrae
A beautifully raw visual depiction of a woman during intimate moments of self-reflection and self-discovery. Frustrated by homogeneous selfies and false depictions of beauty, she searches for beauty in its most raw and natural form and captures the experience with her mobile phone. Inspiration turns into transformation when Nina meets Lea, her latest muse, creating the final chapter in her voyage to self-discovery.
Director: Jenn Shaw
Marissa Leah, a Black math whiz, is bullied for not being “Black enough” and only hanging out with her white best friend Zoe Romano. None of the other students support her math ambitions and she’s fed up with people who don’t understand her interests. After multiple encounters with a bully and a little academic inspiration, she ﬁnally stands up for herself against classmates that question her cultural identity and experiences a rite of passage for most girls…an #Afromation.
Director: Desha Dauchan
A married Muslim woman in crisis becomes obsessed with ‘what’ is buried in her disheveled backyard only to discover that it’s not ‘what’ but ‘who.’ Tonight, at her breaking point she and her husband will dig it all up before day breaks.
Awards: Best Inspiration Film – IBFF Nashville
Director: Peres Owino
Inspired by true events, Ernest, an elderly gentleman with early onset Alzheimer’s, sits on the bed dazed and confused as he listens to a series of voicemails from his wife Bertha that slowly reveal her tragic death. By reflecting on the nine victims of the Mother Emanuel AME Church shooting, Glimpse is a meditation on sudden death seen through the eyes of those left behind.
January 14th (US/Narrative/15min/2019)
Director: La’Chris Jordan
A young couple’s anniversary takes a bittersweet turn when a police officer pulls the husband over on a questionable traffic stop. Inspired by true events.
Awards: Best Short, 2019 Top Indie Awards; Best Director, 2019 Top Indie Awards
Nirvana, Love & Alcohol (US/Narrative/12min/2019)
Director: Keisha M. Ansley
Two strangers connect the morning after a wild night out that only one of them can remember.
War Paint (US/Narrative/16min/2018)
Director: Katrelle N. Kindred
Kiyanna, a bright yet reserved teenager, experiences the complexities of being both black and female on the eve of a 4th of July celebration in South Los Angeles.
PAN AFRICAN SHORTS SERIES
Director: Anastasia Sima
Athens, Greece 2020. Quarantine days. Daphne, a young singer, decides to break down the wall that separates her from her annoying neighbor.
Awards: Audience Award National Competition – 43d Drama International Short Film Festival 2020
Kyenvu (Yellow) (Uganda/Narrative/20min/2017)
Director: Kemiyondo Coutinho
An independent, feminist woman meets a man on a transport. Though he challenges her ideals, he eventually wins her over through a series of hilarious events – only for their budding love to be tested.
Awards: Best Narrative Short, PAFF 2018
On Monday of Last Week (Ghana, US/Narrative/15min/2017)
Director: Akosua Adoma Owusu
A story by acclaimed Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie provides the basis for this exploration of race, liberalism, and sexuality centered on an encounter between a Nigerian woman and the African American artist who employs her as a nanny.A story by acclaimed Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie provides the basis for this exploration of race, liberalism, and sexuality centered on an encounter between a Nigerian woman and the African American artist who employs her as a nanny.
Awards: Best Short Film Nomination, AMAA, 2017
The Airport Run (US/Narrative/22min/2018)
Director: Eliana Ujueta
When first-time offender Elijah is released from prison, his grandmother wants him to go to college. But he wants to make money and gets a job as a driver with a cab company that runs a heist business on the side. All he has to do is text his boss if he determines that the passenger is going out of town.
Awards: Best Director, Best Cinematography, Seattle Film Festival, 2019
The Award Ceremony (South Africa/Narrative/8min/2019)
Director: Mmabatho Montsho
Princess Mahakwe prepares herself for her primary school’s prestigious awards ceremony, where she will be receiving top honors. Princess’ worst nightmare is walking across the stage in front of the whole school in her weathered and broken school shoes. She is confident, however, that her grandmother, Thandi, will meet her at the school gates with a brand-new pair of school shoes just in time for the ceremony. However, Thandi, a factory worker, is on the other side of town managing a crisis. She has not received her wages in weeks and has not yet bought the school shoes.
Awards: Best Short Film, Worldwide Women’s Film Festival, 2020
Director: Ellie Foumbi
When an adopted Black Mennonite has an unexpected connection with a migrant worker, she is torn between her faith and her desire to explore the outside world.
Awards: IFP Audience Award, Columbia University Film Festival; Best Student Director, Black Star International Film Festival, 2017
PAN AFRICAN SHORTS SERIES
77 Days (Canada/Narrative/14min/2016)
Director: Shailene Garnett
After another stint in rehab, a young absentee mother is finally determined to put her life together. She is faced with the challenges of mending the fragile pieces of her damaged relationships with her sisters to get her son back.
Family Tree (Uganda/Narrative/17min/2019)
Director: Nicole Magabo
It’s 1998 in Jinja, Uganda. Eight-year-old Nagawa seems to have an idyllic childhood, until a disastrous accident leaves her famous father fighting for his life. Nagawa and her mother arrive at the hospital to keep vigil. The private ward starts to fill up. Second after second, Nagawa realizes her family is much bigger than she thought.
Fruitful Emission (South Africa/Narrative/23min/2020)
Director: Mishqah Parthiephal
Nothing Imaan does is good enough her for mother-in-law. Imaan and her husband Rashid are continually pressured by Suraya to have a child. After persuading her child-loathing husband to father her a child, she finds out that he’s been keeping a dark secret.
Awards: Rapid Lion Film Festival Johannesburg, South Africa, 2020
Good Kidd (US/Narrative/15min/2018)
Director: Jamari Perry
Justin is a smart but troubled kid caught between who the people around him think he should be and who he actually is. Defining what manhood is as he navigates through the harsh realities of the streets of Oakland California, Justin meets his defining moment head on when he is forced to choose between retaliation or walking away in the ultimate choice between manhood and childhood.
Awards: First Place, San Francisco Black Film Festival Best of the Bay; First Place, San Francisco Black Film Festival Films for Youth
Still Harlem (US/Narrative/18min/2018)
Director: Lynn Dow
Becky left the Midwest to get away from a life that, following her father’s death, had become dreary and monotonous. We meet her just as she arrives on the doorsteps of Dylan’s building. Serendipitously, she moves into the spare bedroom of Dylan’s apartment in which his grandfather had lived since the Harlem Renaissance. Together, Becky and Dylan learn to move on from the pain of loss and embrace a new life.
SHORT DOC SERIES
Brooks People (US/Documentary/23min/2017)
Director: Shahari Moore
“Brooks People” explores the life, the legacy and the impact of Gwendolyn Brooks, the first Black person to win a Pulitzer Prize. This short documentary will feature Dr. Cornell West, Nikki Giovanni, Dr. Haki Madhubuti, Joyce Owens, H.A.G.L. and of course Nora Brooks Blakely, the daughter of Gwendolyn Brooks. Rare footage of Brooks from 1966 and footage featuring Talib Kweli, Common, Kanye West, and commentary from his mother and Brooks’ colleague Dr. Donda West will also be included. Additional footage includes Ruby Dee reading Brooks’ poem on Emmett Till. Modern and vintage media skillfully weave the story of a Black woman, who came from humble beginnings to rise to iconic status. Brooks was outspoken and unflinching in her critique of Black life and race relations, and she has impacted many generations of writers, poets, and artists. Careful attention is paid to the current relevance of Brooks’ work by looking at the connection between historic efforts to gain civil rights and modern movements to sustain those rights, like Black Lives Matter.
Awards: Opening Night Selection Black Harvest Film Festival
Dare to Dream: Cuba’s Latin American Medical School (Cuba, US/Documentary/30min/2017)
Director: Jennifer Wager
Cuba’s Latin American Medical School is the largest medical school in the world, training nearly 30,000 doctors since 1999. ELAM as it is known in Spanish, also trains doctors from the United States. Follow the amazing adventure of American doctors trained in Cuba as they return home to the US to serve communities struggling with a health crisis in this inspirational film.
Awards: Best Director, Reel Festival, Texas; Audience Choice, Best Documentary, Tolpuddle Festival, England
Secrets of the Hollow: Last Disintegrated School (US/Documentary/29min/2019)
Director: Alicia M. Crowe
Last Disintegrated School tells the story of the journey of Thurgood Marshall and the Hillburn striking families’ fight for equal education at Brook School, the last segregated school in New York State to be closed in 1943.
Awards: Jurors Choice Award, Women of African Descent Film Festival
The Gathering (US/Documentary/24min/2016)
Director: Micki Dickoff
Witness to Innocence is the only organization of exonerated death row survivors in the United States. These innocent men and women, some having spent decades on death row for murders they didn’t commit, come together once a year to share their thoughts and feelings, fears and dreams with the only people who really understand what they experienced. Their stories are heartbreaking, shocking and anger-provoking. The exonerees empower each other, speaking out about a broken justice system that makes mistakes and compels them to be warriors against the death penalty. A diverse group of 16 death row survivors are passionate about telling their stories. They are men and women; Black, white and Latino; liberal and conservative. They bare their souls, forever changed by the degradation they suffered. They want the system changed so a competent defense doesn’t depend on money and racial bias is eliminated. They want dishonest prosecutors, police and judges held accountable. They want compensation for the years lost. They want their dignity restored. They want to end the death penalty. They know the risk of executing an innocent person is too high.
Awards: Best Short Documentary, Fort Lauderdale Int’l Film Festival; Award of Merit, Best Shorts Competition, Special Jury Award, Worldfest Houston; Best Film, Black Int’l Cinema Berlin; Award of Merit, Impact DOCS Awards; Silver Jury Prize, Social Justice Film Festival
SHORT DOC SERIES
Los Angeles: Displacement in Utopia (US/Documentary/20min/2018)
Director: Keith Rice, Karin Stanford, Pilar de Haro
An exploration of the history of housing discrimination and segregation in Los Angeles and its impact on African Americans. Using interviews, video footage, and photographs, the documentary examines African American migration and settlement as well as the triumphs and hardships experienced as they sought to overcome systemic/institutional racist exclusionary practices in the new “Utopia.” Throughout the film, the audience will witness African Americans’ creative use of legal strategies to fight restrictive covenants, enlistment of proxy buyers, and establishment of real estate institutions to support their efforts to purchase real property and land. The film also connects the historical battle for housing to gentrification in contemporary Los Angeles and its impact on African Americans living in the inner city. “Los Angeles: Displacement in Utopia” features Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, attorney Loren Miller, actress Hattie McDaniel, singer Nat “King” Cole and others who were significant in the battle for fair and equal housing in L.A.
Soft Hair (Sorf Hair) (Trinidad & Tobago/Documentary/24min/2017)
Director: Shari Perri
Sorf Hair explores the natural hair experience in Trinidad and Tobago as several people from different walks of life with different hair textures unearth their stories, challenges and give their point of view on how and why naturals are treated the way they are in this country.
The Last Mambo (Cuba, US/Narrative/56min/2019)
Director: Rita Hargrave & Reginald D. Brown
An exploration of the unique heritage of the San Francisco Bay Area’s Salsa and Latin Jazz community, “The Last Mambo” uncovers how this collective of musicians, dancers and D.J.s have both created innovative approaches to Afro-Cuban based music and promoted social integration, cultural preservation and music education. Mambo”unfolds through in-depth interviews with key informants and additional commentary provided by Wayne Wallace (educator, trombonist), Herman Bossett (dancer, community historian), John Santos (educator,Percussionist), Rebeca Mauleon (educator, pianist)and Jesse “Chuy” Varela (music historian). Current and archival photographs and concert footage provide authenticity and context to the history of this diverse artistic community.
Black or Latina (US/Narrative/15min/2019)
Director: Karent Hinestroza
Colombian actress Zahinabu is finally having her first audition in New York for a Latina role. It could be the opportunity that she has been waiting for since she arrived in the US. But the audition takes a different direction when the casting group needs to consider the great audition from this Latina woman who doesn’t look like “Latina,” an experience that forces Zahinabu to understand where she really belongs.
Director: Katrelle Kindred
Caliginosity explores how senseless gun violence effects a married couple, living in South Los Angeles. Marie and Victor’s loving family is shattered to pieces when their only son, Khalil is gunned down at a birthday party.
Director: Faith Strongheart
Havana, 1970s. Antonio, an immigration officer by day, sells exit visas illegally by night at exorbitant prices. Antonio’s secrets go beyond his secret job, though: he is also hiding his homosexuality, which comes to light when his lover, Jian, comes in looking for an exit visa for himself.
Learning to Swim (Jamaica/Narrative/28min/2018)
Director: Krystal Dawkins
Learning to Swim chronicles the story of Nordia, a deeply religious young Jamaican woman, who is faced with the task of co-parenting with her childhood sweetheart Everton, a man with whom she is still in love. Through seeing them come of age, we are taken into how they came together, what drove them apart and how they have had to learn to tread the complex waters of intolerance, poverty and religious fervor that color Jamaican life.
The Long Road Home (Zambia, US/Narrative/22min/2020)
Director: Kasuba Mukuka
The story of a young Zambian woman, Chanda, whose life is turned upside down after her Prince Charming, Henry, becomes severely abusive in their marriage. Her friends and family encourage her to endure in the marriage but once she hits rock bottom, she has to make a difficult choice to escape her tyrannical husband without help from her community.
SHORTS SERIES 2
Director: Amy Aniobi
The story of a newlywed couple on their first night together, made all the more awkward, romantic and honest, because they only just met.
Awards: Lionsgate/Starz Short Film Award, BlackStar Film Festival; Best Screenplay), Outstanding Cinematography, Micheaux International Film Festival, 2020; Best Actress, Tayo Elesin, Best Score, James Perry, Abuja International Film Festival
Director: Pearl Gluck
A mother struggles with a new normal after her teenage son is murdered by an off-duty police officer.
Awards: Best Actress, Bronze Lens Film Festival; Honorable Mention Award, San Francisco Black Film Festival; Jurors Choice Award, Women of African Descent Film Festival; Best Social Action Film, MOM Film Festival, 2020
Director: Edrei Hutson
Two sisters check on their younger sister when she cancels their monthly brunch. They eventually learn that the younger sister is in an abusive relationship. In order to keep history from repeating itself, the eldest sister will have to reveal one of her deepest secrets.
Awards: Best Original Screenplay, Culture and Diversity Film Festival, 2020
Director: Danae Grandison
In the hills of Kingston on a hot summer night, Caroline, who is 8 months pregnant, learns something very unsettling about her husband. He is sleeping with their helper and she feels betrayed by both of them.
Awards: NYWIFT Most Outstanding Female Content Creator, Katra Series, 2020; Best Short Katra Film Series, 2019
Yemi’s Dilemma (US/Narrative/25min/2017)
Director: Sade Oyinade
Yemi’s Dilemma is the story of three sisters, a wedding and a family torn apart. Yemi, Lola and Tayo are first-generation Nigerian-Americans in a tight-knit family. Although they’ve been raised in America, their parents have a strong desire to maintain the traditions of their home country. Yemi, the eldest, is expected to marry a Nigerian man, but she’s keeping a huge secret from her parents that will forever change the dynamic within the family for better and for worse.
Awards: Best Narrative Film/Video, Black International Cinema, Berlin
SHORTS SERIES 3
Director: Eboni Adams
Grace, a single, 30-something, ESL teacher is forced to return home after her mothers passing. She returns home to a frustrated sister who has bared the responsibly of taking care of their parents for years. Now that Grace has returned home her younger sister who has a family of her own has decided to hand over the duties. On this particular day, we go on a journey with Grace as she struggles between taking care of her father who suffers from early onset dementia or missing out on a job opportunity that could rekindle her love of teaching. Although she’s been a teacher for many years Grace becomes a student when she taught a valuable lesson from an unlikely person.
Awards: Best Short, Houston Black Film Festival, 2018; 3rd Place Best Short Film, Capital City Black Film Festival, 2018
Director: Winter Dunn
At 28, Junie is a writer obsessed with capturing the essence of her childhood growing up with her musician father, Davis. Davis, an alcoholic drummer with an infectious charm and an unending tenderness for his daughter is proving difficult to put into words. As Junie struggles to articulate Davis in her writing and to her boyfriend Calvin, she’s transported back in time through her own memories of him. How do you explain someone impossible to love and impossible not to?
Take My Heart (US/Narrative/18min/2020)
Director: Anna Simone Scott
Mackenzie, a talented singer and songwriter, reconnects with her father, Ray, when he hears her sing for the first time after years of separation. The opportunity to resolve their past differences is almost upended when Mac’s ex-boyfriend, Fox, appears on the scene.
Awards: Daytime Emmy Nomination Outstanding Daytime Fiction Program, 2021
The Deliberate Death of My Father (Canada/Narrative/13min/2020)
Director: Rose Katché Duez
Zoey enters a hair salon to dye her hair for the first time. As she questions her decision she replays her recent graduation dinner where an explosive fight becomes a chance to settle an old score. Will changing her hair be a final defiance or the first act of something more meaningful?
The Hyers Sisters’ Dream & Legacy (US/Documentary/33min/2019)
Director: Susheel Bibbs
In the 1870s, when minstrels in Black-face ridiculed African-Americans across the land, Anna and Emma Hyers were the first female African-American touring-opera stars. At the height of their operatic acclaim, the Hyers decided to stand up for the dignity of their people, left their dream of operatic stardom and opened American Music Theater to integrated casts & Black leading players.. With their musicals focused on Black dignity and quests for freedom, they toured to audiences across the country. The Hyers Sisters have remained unsung — until now.
Awards: Telly Award 2018
About the Pan African Film & Arts Festival
Established in 1992 by Hollywood veterans Danny Glover (The Color Purple, Lethal Weapon), the late Ja’Net DuBois (“Good Times”), and Ayuko Babu (Executive Director), the Pan African Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has remained dedicated to the promotion of Black stories and images through the exhibition of film, visual art, and other creative expression. PAFF is one of the largest and most prestigious Black film festival in the U.S. and attracts local, national, and international audiences. In addition, it is an Oscar-qualifying festival for animation and live-action films, and one of the largest Black History Month events in America.
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