In its 31st year, the festival is returned to the Cinemark Baldwin Hills and XD and the adjacent Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza hosted its renowned fine art show featuring over 100 established and emerging fine artists and quality craftspeople from all over the Black Diaspora. The festival feature over 200 films from 40 countries, in 19 languages, including 50 World and 22 North American premieres. The festival celebrates African American cinema and art and aims to promote cooperation and integrity among the arts. The 2023 festival took place in Los Angeles, CA, from February 9 to February 20 with the virtual festival still running until March 30th.
The festival kicked off with a screening of the film “Chevalier”, which tells the story of the son of an enslaved African woman and a French plantation owner, Bologne (Kelvin Harrison Jr. in a tour de force performance) rises to improbable heights in French society as a celebrated violinist-composer and fencer, complete with an ill-fated love affair and a falling out with Marie Antoinette (Lucy Boynton) and her court. The screening was attended by the film’s director, Stephen Williams, and its host, Actors Johnathan Majors, Mayor Karen Bass, PAFF co-founder Danny Glover, 2023 Celebrity Host Thomas Q. Jones and Ayuko Babu
Other highlights of the festival included a screening the following list of some of our favorites:
A Nashville Legacy
Naima has recently moved to Nashville, where she is getting her doctorate while interning as a curator at a Nashville museum. The tales her late grandmother shared about the old days in Music City during the 1950s provided a fascination that led music enthusiast Naima back to her grandmother’s old haunts. As she begins her work at the museum, Naima meets Damian. The two begin to get close, bonding over their love for music and their desire to leave their respective marks on the world.
Filmed in the jazz clubs of New York, Los Angeles, Paris and across Mediterranean Europe on his unexpectedly final tour, HARGROVE shines a bright spotlight on the genius of Roy Hargrove and his enormous contribution to the art of jazz. Key conversations expand beyond Roy’s personal story and enter the terrain of what it means to be an artist in America. HARGROVE dives into the significance of Black music in America while offering a glimpse into the politics of power and race in the music industry. Roy’s narrative reverberates in today’s Black Lives Matter movement with issues of ethics, exploitation, and empathy called into question.
Nominated for “Best Short Narrative”, Neighbor points out the Profiling of young Black men by police, “Karens,” merchants, etc. is a common problem, but sometimes the profiler comes from the same community. Thought provoking piece produced by William Andre Buchanan, directed by Joshua Silverstein and starring Paul Mabon & Brandon Mckinnie.
Benjamin has spent most of his ten years on an airplane that almost never lands, because when his feet touch the ground, rage spreads like a virus. But when a mid-air collision forces the plane to land, it falls to his caretaker and her associate to deal with the explosive fallout.
Aje and Bruja
A supernatural thriller in which two women who wield the ancient African spiritual power of the ‘Aje’ (Powerful Mothers) go on an avenging mission.
Born In Chicago
Narrated by Dan Aykroyd, this soulful documentary chronicles a uniquely musical passing of the torch. It’s the story of first-generation blues performers who had made their way to Chicago from the Mississippi Delta and their ardent and unexpected followers – middle class kids who followed the evocative music to smoky clubs deep in Chicago’s ghettos. Passed down from musician to musician, the Chicago blues transcended the color lines of the 1960s as young, white Chicago musicians apprenticed themselves to legends such as Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.
About the Pan African Film & Arts Festival
Taking place February 9-20, 2023, in Los Angeles, the Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF) presents and showcases a broad spectrum of Black creative works, particularly those that reinforce positive images and help to destroy negative stereotypes of Africans and African-Americans. Since 1992, PAFF has remained dedicated to the promotion of Black stories and images through the exhibition of film, visual art, and other creative expression. Today, PAFF is one of the largest and most prestigious Black film festivals in the U.S. and attracts local, national, and international audiences. In addition, it is an Oscar-qualifying festival for animation and live-action films, and one of the largest Black History Month events in America.
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