“This film festival obviously honors filmmakers of color and we don’t get this much exposure in the traditional film festivals,” said Actress Annie-Marie Johnson, who attended the opening night of The 21st Annual Pan African Film & Arts FestivaL (PAFF), Directors Guild of America, W. Hollywood, CA. “But after 21 years it (PAFF) has become a tradition," she said.
She’s right, too. The standard Hollywood film festivals don't really focus on films made by artists of color across the globe.
This year, the nation’s largest and most prestigious Black film festival has selected some 154 films, representing 34 countries. There are 23 documentaries, 13 short documentaries, 67 narrative features, and 51 narrative shorts.
2013 21st Annual The Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) continues through Monday, Feb. 18 (Rave Cinemas Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza 15,4020 Marlton Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90008)
Over the two decades, along with USA entries, the film fest has showcased films from such countries as Angola, Austria, England, Bermuda, Canada, Egypt, Ethiopia, Brazil, Kenya, Mexico, South African and Nigeria.
“It’s refreshing, it’s new and it's material that won’t get into global distribution like it should, so this is a great beginning,” explained Johnson, who is working on her next film, “Knock ‘em Dead,” which is a comedy-thriller in post production.
Also attending the film fest’s opening night at the DGA (Thursday,Feb. 7,) with friend Actor Blair Underwood, was Writer/Director/Producer Nia Hill, who’s featuring her film, “COLORED MY MIND” (2012) at PAFF.
The docu-feature is on five women; an educator, an actress, a lawyer, a music manager, and a homemaker. They guide you into the overlooked world of autism, in particular in the Black and Brown communities. Through these ladies, Hill uncovers the truths about why some Black and Brown children are not receiving the same medical diagnoses or are misdiagnosed.
“My message to parents with children with autism is, just deal with the genius, because everyone’s minds are colored. Imposing your own ideas might compromise the opportunities that exist,” said Hill.
“I came out to support Nia my friend and this festival, which I have for years,” said Blair Underwood. “Film festival organizers have a lot of passion and unfortunately you won’t see films like these except right here at the PAFF.”
The COLORED MY MIND screening at the PAFF is tomorrow (Sat., Feb. 9, 3 p.m. and Mon, Feb. 11, 1:00 pm) at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza Rave Cinemas, Los Angeles.
Among the many stars and dignitaries on the red carpet were: Legendary Mother Love, radio talk show host (http://www.latalkradio.com/Motherlove.php); PAFF Founder and board member Oscar Williams with Beverly Scott, UCLA; Filmmaker Megan Ebor, husband Joe, who is featuring a short doc, “EVEN ME”, which raises awareness of HIV/AIDS, (2012 24 min., Sat and Sunday) and Reatha Grey, Betty Whites Off the Rockers, NBC, to name a few.
The Festival runs ends on February 18. For film schedule and times