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2024 Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF) Kicks Off on Feb 6

2024 Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF) Kicks Off on Feb 6

2024 Pan African Film & Arts Festival - Afrocritik

Black Hollywood to take centre-stage with three red carpet world premieres.

By Helena Olori 

The Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF) returns for its 32nd edition slated to be held from February 6-19, 2024 at the Cinemark Baldwin Hills XD and Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, in Los Angeles. 

The annual two-week which celebrates the richness and diversity of Black culture in art and film, will screen over 200 feature-length and short films from 54 countries in 28 languages, with almost half of them directed by women, queer, or non-binary filmmakers. The selected films, to be presented via both in-person and virtual screenings, aim to reinforce positive images and dispel negative stereotypes about Africans and African Americans. 

This year’s festival will shine the spotlight on Black Hollywood talents, with three red-carpet world premieres, each marking a significant moment in the festival’s lineup. 

Kicking off the festivities on the opening night is A Hip Hop Story, a music-drama-comedy directed by Damaine Radcliff. The film, based on Affion Crockett’s screenplay, sees a pioneer Hip-Hop star join forces with elite rap music performers to attempt to save Hip-Hop, offering relevant social commentary on the state of Hip-Hop culture. Starring a stellar cast, including Affion Crockett, Cedric the Entertainer, Lil Rel Howery, and Wayne Brady, A Hip Hop Story sets the tone for a culturally enriching experience for participants. 

Taking centre stage at the centrepiece programme is the red-carpet world premiere of the Ethiopian war film, For the Love of the Motherland on February 15, at the Directors Guild of America. The film, reckoned as the most expensive film ever to come out of Africa, is a cinematic masterpiece, directed by Theodros Teshome. With over 30,000 film extras, cutting-edge special effects, and breakthrough action sequences, Teshome tells a compelling story of love and war, while exploring the hard choices faced by Ethiopian soldiers as they grapple with allegiance to either the motherland or their region. 

The closing night will feature  Mario Van Peebles’ star-studded Outlaw Posse, the second film in his Posse trilogy series. Featuring an ensemble cast including Whoopi Goldberg, Cedric the Entertainer, and Edward James Olmos, the film showcases America’s historical “race-ocracy”, blending elements of humour, love, and social commentary. 

Also to look out for are, Orah, by Nigerian filmmaker, Lonzo Nzekwe, the British Independent Film Award-winning short, Festival of Slaps, and Walt Disney’s upcoming animated series, Iwaju.

Orah (2023) - IMDb

Iwaju

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“PAFF continues to offer an environment where stories rooted in African and African-American experiences are not only embraced but celebrated”, said PAFF co-founder Ayuko Babu. “This cultural relevance ensures that films resonate with their intended audience while reaching new and diverse viewers.”

“This can lead to wider distribution opportunities, securing a larger audience base”, adds PAFF General Manager, Asantewa Olatunji.

2024 Pan African Film & Arts Festival - Afrocritik

The Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF), established in 1992, is one of the largest and most prestigious Black film festivals in the US, attracting local, national, and international audiences with a substantial sponsorship base. It is recognised as an Oscar-qualifying festival for animation and live-action films, and one of the largest Black History Month events in America.

Tickets and passes are on sale here.

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