FilmL.A. Celebrates 26 Years of the Pan African Film & Arts Festival

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In February, FilmL.A. partnered with the Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF-LA). 2018 marked the festival’s 26th year and FilmL.A.’s fifth year as a co-sponsor. PAFF-LA is the largest Black History Month event in the country and America’s largest and most prestigious celebration of black film, arts and culture. Annually, PAFF-LA showcases more than 150 quality new films and features artwork from over 100 fine artists and craftspersons.  PAFF’s goal is to showcase a broad spectrum of Black creative works, that reinforce positive images and help to destroy negative stereotypes.

Festival events were held at the Rave Cinemas 15 and the inside of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.  The opening night screening. Love Jacked, directed by Alfons Adetuyi, tells the story of ‘Maya’ played by LA native Amber Stevens West, who fights for her independence in the face of familial obligations. Other cast members include Keith David (Greenleaf, Armageddon), Mike Epps (Friday films, All About The Benjamins), Lariq Bent Angela Elayne Gibbs and the incomparable Marla J. Gibbs (227, The Jeffersons). The event featured an opportunity to walk the red carpet and a star studded after-party.

For the “Centerpiece” screening, PAFF showed Marvel’s newest superhero thriller Black Panther.  This highly anticipated film follows T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman, Marshall, Avengers: Captain America: Civil War), the King of Wakanda, as he rises to the throne of an African nation. T’Challa is challenged by a long lost relative who is as powerful as he is vengeful.  Black Panther also stars Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station), Lupita Nyong’o (Star Wars: The Las Jedi) Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead), Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) and Letitia Wright (Black Mirror).

During the festival, FilmL.A. hosted a special panel entitled “Filming Locally with the Pros.”  The panel included Ed Duffy, Vice President, Business Agent for the Teamsters Local 399, Location Manager, Alison Taylor (A Wrinkle in Time, Insecure), Key Assistant Location Manager Tisha Jefferson (White Famous), and Assistant Location Manager/Producer Chris Beal (Bright).

The panel moderator was legendary location manager Kokayi Ampah whose credits include The Color Purple and Shawshank Redemption.  The panelists discussed the successful navigation of on-location filming in the greater Los Angeles region, the road to becoming a location manager and diversity within the profession.  The panel was followed by a Q & A session with attendees.

FilmL.A.’s Community Outreach Liaison, Jamie Burton-Oare organized the panel. “The Pan African Film & Arts Film Festival allowed FilmL.A. the opportunity to produce a panel that would best serve the PAFF attendees,” said Burton-Oare.  “Location professionals rarely have the opportunity to speak to audiences about the nature of their expertise, and the intricacies they navigate to help make films possible.”

The closing night film, The Forgiven was directed by Roland Joffe’.  The film told the story of Piet Blomfield (Eric Bana) a brutal murderer serving a life sentence in post-apartheid South Africa. Blomfield sought redemption for his crimes through meetings with Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Forest Whitaker).  After the film screening, PAFF Executive Director Ayoko Babu lead an audience discussion about the film and a closing celebration followed.

FilmL.A. congratulates the Pan African Film & Arts Festival staff on 26 years of excellence. It was a pleasure being there to support you, and we hope you’ll continue encouraging filmmakers and other artists to bring their projects to the Golden State.

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