ABOVE PHOTO: Movie still from “Stolen.”
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The Pan African Film and Arts Festival (PAFF), America’s largest and most prestigious international Black film and arts festival has announced its 2010 lineup of films selected to be screened for its Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short, Best Narrative Short, Best Narrative Feature, and Best First Feature film competitions. In total, 135 films were selected representing 36 countries, including 40 in competition, 64 feature length films, and 12 films at the Festival will be world premieres. The PAFF filmmaker awards will be announced on Feb. 17 at the Closing Night Presentation (7 p.m.).
Themed, “Get Involved, Take Action!,” this year’s PAFF is presenting the U.S. Premiere of Stolen, which reveals practices of modern day slavery in the Western Sahara, Morocco, and by reference throughout North Africa. The PAFF is initiating a Community Action Panel at the festival to explore the controversial claims the film illustrates in an effort to ignite their audience to get involved with the filmmakers’ mission to bring assistance to the Black Saharawis who are featured in the film and, as a result, are facing intimidation from powerful forces. With the use of Stolen and other thought-provoking films screening throughout the festival, PAFF will challenge its audiences to get informed, get involved, and take action! The Stolen screening & Community Action Panel will take place Saturday, Feb. 13 at 4:45 PM.
In addition, the PAFF is realizing its theme by organizing screenings of the powerful film HAITI: The Sleeping Giant to raise money for Haitian relief efforts. 100% of the proceeds raised from ticket sales will be donated to the Haitian Emergency Relief Fund. The film will screen numerous times throughout the course of the festival and the PAFF is encouraging attendees to prioritize incorporating this film into their calendar. Aside from providing the highly needed assistance for Haiti, the film screenings will provide attendees with a comprehensive understanding of the historical and political history that has led to Haiti’s current condition.
“This year, I am proud that we have expanded on the nearly 20 year tradition of presenting dynamic and engaging films by proposing a challenge to our attending audience to get involved,” shared PAFF Senior Programmer Sharifa Johka. “Audiences will discover that many of this year’s films have a thematic thread of activism and I am impressed with how well filmmakers represent the reality of living in historic times and I look forward to witnessing how the attending audience will respond to our challenge.”
This year’s Festival will again take place at the Culver Plaza Theatres (9919 Washington Boulevard) in Los Angeles. However, the Festival’s coveted Art Market will take place at the Westfield Culver Plaza in Culver City (6000 Sepulveda Boulevard), instead of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.
The Festival’s Opening Night Gala will feature the world premiere of “Blood Done Sign My Name,” which opens nationally on February 19th from Paladin and stars Nate Parker as notable Civil Rights activist Dr. Ben Chavis, along with an ensemble cast that includes Lela Rochon, Omar Benson Miller, Afemo Omilami, Golden Globe- winner Ricky Schroder, Nick Searcy, Michael Rooker, Darrin Dewitt Henson, and Gattlin Griffith. The film is an adaptation of the best-selling book by Timothy Tyson and is written and directed by Jeb Stuart. Cast members and Dr. Chavis will be present at the screening. The event will be hosted by award winning actress CCH Pounder (Avatar, Brothers).
Taking place, Wednesday, February 10 (7 PM) at the Directors Guild of America, PAFF’s Opening Night Gala is one of the most glamorous red carpet Hollywood film events that attract Hollywood A-list celebrities and kicks off one of America’s largest Black History Month events.
This year’s Pan African Film & Arts Festival runs February 10-17 in Los Angeles, California. For more information, including how to purchase tickets, please visit www.paff.org or call (310) 337-4737.