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22nd Pan African Film Festival Closes With "Blackbird" (Recap)

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Film Festivals are a community effort, from philanthropist, to local talent volunteering their time and effort all to showcase the best of the arts. The Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) is anchored in the Crenshaw-Baldwin Hills area of Los Angeles, where African-American culture is highly displayed. As the film festival took place during Black History Month, it was an added benefit to see the curated art and vendors spread throughout the Crenshaw Mall.

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The first collaboration during the festival started at PAFF’s Night of Tribute, with the African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) to honor actors, filmmakers, and community leaders who bring engaging images to the screen. This year Charles Dutton was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award; as well as, Emayatzy Corinealdi, ("Middle of Nowhere"); and Tequan Richmond ("Blue Caprice"), for the Beah Richards and Canada Lee, Rising Star Award.

As national and international filmmakers flew in for the reminder of the screenings, local celebrities gathered to attend PAFF’s Centerpiece Presentation film “About Last Night,” which stars Michael Ealy, and Kevin Hart. With the ticket price set at $300, the special screening was held in the heart of Hollywood, as the independent films screened back at Rave Cinemas ‘til the late of night.

Celebrating the diaspora within all African cultures, PAFF continued to honor diversity in films by closing the festival with “Blackbird,” an expected hit that chronicles the journey of a teenage choir boy played by Julian Walker, who tackles his family, religion, and true identity while living in rural Mississippi. The red carpet for “Blackbird,” took place at the festival’s anchor location, which meant local fans got the chance to see live and in person the stars of the film which includes, Mo’Nique, Isaiah Washington, Terrell Tilford, and Danity Kane’s, Wanita ‘D. Woods’ Woodgett.

The 12-day event closed with the revealing of the winners of the films in competition. The festival handed out jury, audience and special prizes during an awards brunch in the filmmakers honor. Some of the selected winners included, South African director, Jahmil X.T. Qubeka ("Of Good Report,”) Pan African Film Festival-British Academy Of Film And Television Arts/La (Bafta/La) Festival Choice Award, and Tommy Oliver, director, (“1982”,) Audience Award, Narrative Feature.

Unlike most festivals the Pan African Film Festival attendees departed with the grace of a family reunion, as people acknowledged even greater expectations, but also confirmed they will be back again next year, in the heart of Los Angeles.

Visit slideshow for additional PAFF pictures and video recap.

Follow “Blackbird” HERE

“About Last Night” show listings HERE

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PAFF was founded in 1992 by award-winning actor Danny Glover (“The Color Purple,” “Lethal Weapon”), Emmy Award-winning actress Ja’Net DuBois (“Good Times”) and executive director, Ayuko Babu.

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