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February 2010
Pan African Film & Arts Festival
Announces 2010 Lineup


Pan African Film & Arts Festival
Announces 2010 Lineup

Largest Int'l Black Film Festival to Screen 135 Films
From 36 Countries, Including 12 World Premieres



Festival to Take Place February 10-17 in Los Angeles Stolen A scene from "STOLEN," nominated for Best Documentary Feature

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Feb. 10, 2010) - The Pan African Film and Arts Festival (PAFF), America's largest and most prestigious international Black film and arts festival has announced its 2010 lineup of films selected to be screened for its Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short, Best Narrative Short, Best Narrative Feature, and Best First Feature film competitions. In total, 135 films were selected representing 36 countries, including 40 in competition, 64 feature length films, and 12 films at the Festival will be world premieres. The PAFF filmmaker awards will be announced on Feb. 17 at the Closing Night Presentation (7 p.m.).

Themed, "Get Involved, Take Action!," this year's PAFF is presenting the US Premiere of STOLEN, which reveals practices of modern day slavery in the Western Sahara, Morocco, and by reference throughout North Africa. The PAFF is initiating a Community Action Panel at the festival to explore the controversial claims the film illustrates in an effort to ignite their audience to get involved with the filmmakers' mission to bring assistance to the Black Saharawis who are featured in the film and, as a result, are facing intimidation from powerful forces. With the use of STOLEN and other thought-provoking films screening throughout the festival, PAFF will challenge its audiences to get informed, get involved, and take action! The STOLEN screening & Community Action Panel will take place Saturday, Feb. 13 at 4:45 p.m

In addition, the PAFF is realizing its theme by organizing screenings of the powerful film HAITI: THE SLEEPING GIANT to raise money for Haitian relief efforts. 100% of the proceeds raised from ticket sales will be donated to the Haitian Emergency Relief Fund. The film will screen numerous times throughout the course of the festival and the PAFF is encouraging attendees to prioritize incorporating this film into their calendar. Aside from providing the highly needed assistance for Haiti, the film screenings will provide attendees with a comprehensive understanding of the historical and political history that has led to Haiti's current condition.

"This year, I am proud that we have expanded on the nearly 20 year tradition of presenting dynamic and engaging films by proposing a challenge to our attending audience to get involved," shared PAFF Senior Programmer Sharifa Johka. "Audiences will discover that many of this year's films have a thematic thread of activism and I am impressed with how well filmmakers represent the reality of living in historic times and I look forward to witnessing how the attending audience will respond to our challenge."

This year's Festival will again take place at the Culver Plaza Theatres (9919 Washington Boulevard) in Los Angeles. However, the Festival's coveted Art Market will take place at the Westfield Culver Plaza in Culver City (6000 Sepulveda Boulevard), instead of the BaldwinHillsCrenshawPlaza.

The Festival's Opening Night Gala will feature the world premiere of "BLOOD DONE SIGN MY NAME," which opens nationally on February 19th from Paladin and stars Nate Parker as notable Civil Rights activist Dr. Ben Chavis, along with an ensemble cast that includes Lela Rochon, Omar Benson Miller, Afemo Omilami, Golden Globe- winner Ricky Schroder, Nick Searcy, Michael Rooker, Darrin Dewitt Henson, and Gattlin Griffith. The film is an adaptation of the best-selling book by Timothy Tyson and is written and directed by Jeb Stuart. Cast members and Dr. Chavis will be present at the screening. The event will be hosted by award winning actress CCH Pounder (Avatar, Brothers). Taking place, Wednesday, February 10 (7 p.m.) at the Directors Guild of America, PAFF's Opening Night Gala is one of the most glamorous red carpet Hollywood film events that attract Hollywood A-list celebrities and kicks off one of America's largest Black History Month events.

This year's Pan African Film & Arts Festival runs February 10-17 in Los Angeles, California. For more information, including how to purchase tickets, please visit www.paff.org or call (310) 337-4737.


Find the full list of films in competition below!

NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION

Aldewolem (He Didn't Call) (Director: Maher Sabry; Screenwriter: Maher Sabry)- A romantic comedy. Tihut is set up to make a fool out of her best friend's cousin, Melhik, who is desperately seeking a sweetheart. Thinking that she has no idea about his identity, Melhik tries to charm the young girl he only knows as Lily into falling for him. Tihut plays around at first, but as she gets to know Melhik, her world turns upside down as she starts to seriously wonder whether she has feelings for the supposed "victim" of her friend's mischievous plots and whether she could ever reveal her true identity. Los Angeles Premiere.

All My Life (Toul Omry) (Director: Yetnayet Bahru; Screenwriter: Yetnayet Bahru)- For Rami, all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds, as long as he keeps to himself. But when his longtime lover leaves him to marry a woman and his best friends drift away, he comes face to face with the harsh realities of life as a gay man in Egypt. Against the backdrop of the choreographed crackdown on gay men and the notorious Queen Boat arrests of 2001, he plunges into a world of loveless friendships and spirals downwards to his ultimate downfall. Los Angeles Premiere.

Bike (Director: Vanz Chapman; Screenwriter: Errol Williams & Vanz Chapman) - An elegant coming-of-age story about crime and friendship set in Bermuda. The story follows Jason, 16, whose desire for freedom and independence center on getting a motorbike to traipse around the tiny island. Los Angeles Premiere.

Bilal's Stand (Director: Sultan Sharrief; Screenwriter: Sultan Sharrief) - Bilal, a Muslim high school senior, works at his family's long-owned taxi stand. "The Stand," as they call it, has been the source of all activity and money for the family for the last sixty years. It seems like Bílal is about to carry the torch. He secretly submits a college application and takes up the art of ice carving in order to win a scholarship. However, he is forced to decide whether he will continue working at the Stand - the only life he's ever known - or take a chance at social mobility. The film is based on a true story and deals with issues of education, religion, community values, and social prosperity. Los Angeles Premiere.

Darfur (Director: Uwe Boll; Screenwriters: Uwe Boll and Chris Roland) - American journalists in Sudan are confronted with the dilemma of whether to return home to report on the atrocities they have seen, or to stay behind and help some of the victims they have encountered. Starring Billy Zane, Edward Furlong and Hakeem Kae-Kazim.

From A Whisper (Director: Wanuri Kahiu; Screenwriter: Wanuri Kahiu) - One of the most important films made in the world in this historical period. This stunning narrative revolves on one hand around a Kenyan family that was caught up in the bombing of the American Embassy by Islamist terrorists a few years ago. On one hand it revolves around a daughter's experience to the bombing, on the other it revolves around Abu, a Muslim intelligence officer who is investigating the bombing. Abu has a complex and deep friendship with one of the terrorists. This film gives riveting and enriching insight into the complex narrative that is our life. Winner of the best picture in Africa last year at the Africa Movie Awards (AMAA). Los Angeles Premiere.

Gugu & Andile (Director: Minky Schlesinger; Screenwriters: Lodi Matsetela & Minky Schlesinger) - In 1993 democracy is at hand but South Africa's townships are burning. Based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Gugu, a Zulu, falls in love with Andile, a Xhosa, only to find that during these troubled times, the forbidden love is frowned upon by both communities.

Heart of the Lion (Coeur de Lion) (Director: Boubakar Diallo; Screenwriter: Boubakar Diallo) - A lion is destroying the cattle. Men are disappearing. The whole village is frightened and the chief is distraught. Samba is determined to track the animal. With the help of a young hunter, the lion is killed. But a crucial problem remains: why are men disappearing? Los Angeles Premiere.

Mah Saah-Sah (Director: Daniel Kamwa; Screenwriter: Daniel Kamwa) - Nchare and Mapon have loved each other since childhood. Now grown, Nchare must excel in village customs for Mapon's hand in marriage. Although his pursuit is successful on the eve of their engagement an unexpected rivalry pops up when illness causes Mapon's father to accept financial help from a generous businessman whose eyes are set on Mapon becoming his fourth wife. West Coast Premiere.

A Sting in A Tale (Director: Shirley Frimpong-Manso; Screenwriter: Shirley Frimpong-Manso) - Two young couples are striving to survive the harsh realities of life after university; unemployment, uncertainty, desperation and in the middle of it all, love. Kuuku is frustrated with unemployment and is faced with the possibility of losing his true love Frema because Frema's mother sees no good future in their relationship. With these pressures, Kuuku moves heaven and earth trying to find a good job and a means to provide the future he so desperately seeks for himself, his future wife and kids. He takes the most drastic measure by resorting to rituals and soon after that, Frema passes away. After her death, Kuuku gets a well paying job and becomes a millionaire almost overnight. With the new fortunes comes a new set of problems as his best friend, Nii Aryee starts to envy Kuuku's wealth and starts asking questions. The ghost of Frema will not rest until the mystery surrounding her death is cleared. What unfolds is a series of unpredictable and hilarious events that would take viewers on a roller-coaster of emotions from laughter to tears and even pity. US Premiere.


 

 

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION

Go-Bama Between Hope & Dreams (Director: A. Rahman Satti) - Afro-German filmmaker Rahman Satti follows a path of self-discovery as he follows Barack Obama's presidential campaign from New Hampshire to Los Angeles to Berlin - the director's home - and back to Chicago for election night. Inspired to make the film after reading our president's memoir "Dreams From My Father," Satti follows the historic campaign trail in a way nobody has ever seen. World Premiere.

Motherland (Director: Owen 'Alik Shahadah) - From the director of the internationally acclaimed "500 Years Later" comes this gem of a film. Tracing the past and with an eye to the future, the film examines the current African landscape. Featuring an all-star cast of African Presidents and thinkers including Dr. Maulana Karenga, the father of Kwanzaa, and Dr. Molefi Asante. World Premiere.

The Other Side of the Water: The Journey of a Haitian Rara Band in Brooklyn (Director: Jeremy Robins) - The Other Side of the Water follows an epic journey of the Haitian-American Community, told through the lens of a vodou-based musical ritual that's taken place for the last 20 years in a corner of a Brooklyn Park. The story of this unlikely procession and the musicians behind it offers a unique insight into the urban immigrant experience, and a rare glimpse into the music, spirituality, and cultural activism in Haitian-America.

Rwanda Beyond the Deadly Pit (Director: Gilbert Ndahayo) - Winter 2007. A Rwandan aspiring filmmaker emotionally resurfaces to confront face to face with his parents' murderers. He frames the perpetrators within 5 ft of distance. 18 months earlier, the filmmaker had visited the grave of an Italian nun next to his grandfather's

in a church's crypt of 10,000 bodies. Filmed over the course of three years, Rwanda: Beyond The Deadly is the first film ever made by a genocide survivor. World Premiere.

Soundtrack for A Revolution (Directors: Bill Guttentag & Dan Sturman) - The story of the civil rights movement told through its powerful music--the freedom songs protesters sang on picket lines, in mass meetings, in paddy wagons, and in jail cells. Featuring new performances by artists John Legend, Joss Stone, Wyclef Jean, and The Roots; riveting archival footage; and interviews with Congressman John Lewis, Harry Belafonte, Julian Bond, and Ambassador Andrew Young.

Stolen (Directors: Violeta Ayala & Daniel Fallshaw) - Set against the backdrop of the Sahara, in the Polisario-governed refugee camps, two unsuspecting filmmakers find themselves in the middle of a high-stakes political thriller when the Black Saharawis start talking about a forbidden subject: their freedom. Against the threat of severe consequences, the Black Saharawis reveal to the documentary filmmakers that they are enslaved. This story is all the more frightening because it is true and the issue of modern day slavery is proven to be a widespread reality. US Premiere.

Sweet Crude (Director: Sandy Cioffi) - A scathing look at the politics, the people and the spin surrounding the policies in the Nigerian Delta. Although it is one of the most oil rich regions on Earth and the source of much of oil the products used in the U.S., the people living in the area do not share in the enormous wealth generated by the precious natural resource.

Toumast: Guitars and Kalashnikovs (Director: Dominique Margot) - A musical journey centered around the former rebel turned musician, Moussa ag Keyna, retracing the recent history of the Tuaregs which is fragmented not only with wandering, revolt and injustice--but also movement and hope.

Vietnam: American Holocaust (Director: Clay Claiborne) - The Vietnam War has never left our national consciousness. On the contrary, it has more relevance now than ever. Carefully planned and executed by presidents of both parties, with over 5 million people killed, Vietnam was one of the worst cases of sustained mass slaughter in history. Provocative and alarming, this exposé points to the fabrications of the Gulf of Tonkin Incident and raises the question of whether JFK was assassinated to promote the War. Narrated by Martin Sheen.

You Didn't See Anything in Kinshasa (Tu n'as rien vu à Kinshasa) (Director: Mweze Ngangura) - Kinshasa is the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa's third largest country and the second megalopolis of sub-Saharan Africa. This film describes different groups of vulnerable people, whose lives fly below the radar of most observers of daily life in the Congolese capital. Living at the lowest level of a social system in which 95% of the population works in the informal sector, these groups have their own social organization and hierarchy. Resourcefulness is the key to survival. Those underground communities could be seen as small governments. For them, it may be a call for a more concrete involvement of the Government in their daily life. All the witnesses we met confirmed this same desire. The film states clearly that aspiring to a better social equality, democracy and good governance is not an abstract concept but the very foundation of true development.


 

 

 

NARRATIVE SHORT COMPETITION

Charity (Director:Lansana Mansaray) - Charity is the final short film that we worked on as an entire group. It was created from video diaries about the present day. The film explores delicate family dynamics in desperate times. A gift can be both a blessing and a curse, causing jealousy between brothers. This story mirrors the mixed blessing of the massive amount of international support and assistance Sierra Leone received during the UN peacekeeping mission. How do you maintain what is your own identity and learn how to grow independently when you receive support from others. Sermon was written and performed by Arthur Pratt who in addition to his work with WeOwnTV is a pastor in the Freetown area. US Premiere.

Cred (Director: Sherman Payne; Screenwriter: Sherman Payne) - What do you do when your upstairs neighbor refuses to stop the 24-hour party? You get your homies and prove that you have some cred. Stars Al Thompson.

Fitlha (Hidden Places) (Director: Matthew Jankes & Jamie Beron; Screenwriter: Matthew Jankes) - Fithla tells the tale of three childhood friends still haunted by the accidental killing of a shop owner's son. Twelve years later, when the body they thought was buried forever is discovered, their worlds are turned upside down as they come to terms with their dark secret. US Premiere.

A History of Independence (Director: Daouda Coulibaly) - It is the early 1960s; Nama and Siré have just married. Nama decides to make his home in a cave where he will lead a hermit's life and devote himself to God. One day, God sends an angel to Nama to thank him for being so devoted and asks Nama to make three wishes. Monologues in the voice-over clash with the images, while establishing an compelling parallel between marriage and freedom; and women's independence and mistaken values. The different voices express different interpretations of freedom and independence. Los Angeles Premiere.

Killer Necklace (Director: Judy Kibinge) - Adapted from a short graphic novel, this stylish drama tells of the chasm between rich and poor in contemporary Kenya. A young man from a sprawling Nairobi ghetto, trying to stay away from the enticements of crime, longs to buy his girlfriend the gold necklace that she covets. Nothing is as it seems as the story unfolds and its layers unravel, sinking him deeper into trouble and debt than he ever imagined possible.

Undisclosed (Director: Daniel Mosley; Screenwriter: Daniel Mosley) - Fareed, a married mathematics professor, dreams of living and teaching in America. Everything is fine until a stranger turns his world upside down. He is arrested and interrogated. Maintaining his innocence, a determined Fareed pleads for justice. He is left with no answers as he is released and tries to rebuild his life. Fareed wants to right wrongs committed against him. But how far will he go in his quest? World Premiere.

Weakness (Director: Wanjiru Kairu; Screenwriter: Abdu Simba) - Nicky, an alcoholic on the road to recovery has a problem. Severely in debt to his belligerent older brother Robbie, Nicky needs yet another loan to tide him over, on this occasion to pay the fees for his teenage daughter Lola to attend college. But when the sibling rivalry boils over, the brothers get more than they bargained for. US Premiere.

Yolanda (Director: Jo Horn; Screenwriter: Mpotseng Mdakane) - A boy boastfully tells his friends about his first sexual experience to gain their respect and validation. This is his first giant step into their world and he can sense acceptance is on the horizon. Lira, the only girl in the group, exposes a truth Kelvin is not willing to accept. She accuses him of being a gay because his girlfriend "Yolanda" is rumored to be a boy. Refusing to believe the rumor and distraught about the possibility of the truth, the boy attempts to prove his girlfriend's sexuality to restore his reputation.


 

 

 

BEST FIRST FEATURE COMPETITION


A Day Without Mines (Director: Adisa) - A story of hope, courage and triumph. Set against the backdrop of the West African country of Sierra Leone, the filmmakers embark on a journey to excavate the children from the diamond mines by hosting an all day soccer tournament. The film gives you a glimpse of the human spirit and the possibility of a new day emerging. Los Angeles Premiere.

Ebony Goddess: QueenIl Ay (Director: Carolina Moraes-Liu) - Three women compete in the annual event in which Ilê Aiyê chooses its Carnival queen, using an Afro-Centric notion of beauty. The contest has a close association with the African-originated religion Candomblé and has a role in reshaping the idea of what is beautiful in a society where African descendents constitute the majority of the population, but Eurocentric concepts of female beauty are pervasive. The figure of the Ebony Goddess, a key visual element of a spectacle that creates an alternative view of Black woman as beautiful, desirable, and talented, promotes social change at its most basic level: the individual sense of self.

The Little Princess and the SandSchool (Director: Stéphanie Gillard) - For nomadic children in North Africa most of the time school is but a distant dream. In Mali, Tuaregs try to keep their traditional way of life as nomadic shepherds and at the same time to participate actively in contemporary social changes, so school has become a matter of survival. For a very lucky group of nomadic children this dream is about to become a reality. The first-hand accounts of the children become the centerpiece for this love letter to the power of education.

For the Best and For the Onion! (Pour Le Meilleur et Pour l'Oignon!) (Director: Elhadj Magori Sani) - The Galmi purple, an onion from Niger, pervades West African markets with 400,000 tons a year. In Galmi, Salamatou has been waiting for her wedding for two years. Her father Yaro, on advice from both her future in-laws and the village gossip, makes a decision: The wedding will take place during the harvest! Yaro is aware that to follow through on his commitment this time, he has to produce more and sell at a higher price...Los Angeles Premiere.

Forgotten Bird of Paradise (Director: Dominic Brown) - Filmed undercover and without the knowledge or authority of the Indonesian authorities, Forgotten Bird of Paradise provides a rare and moving insight into the forgotten struggle for independence that has gripped West Papua for over 45 years. It includes never before seen footage of Papuan rebel fighters at their stronghold deep in the jungle as well as interviews with human rights victims of the Indonesian regime.

Share and Share Alike (Director: Melissa A. Gomez) - There are few bonds stronger than the collective love and values of a West Indian family. Three Antiguan brothers fight for their brother who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia 25 years ago. Their story is an example of what "family" should be about. US Premiere.

 

 

BEST FIRST FEATURE COMPETITION


Bike (Director: Vanz Chapman; Screenwriter: Errol Williams & Vanz Chapman) - An elegant coming-of-age story about crime and friendship set in Bermuda. The story follows Jason, 16, whose desire for freedom and independence center on getting a motorbike to traipse around the tiny island. Los Angeles Premiere.

Bilal's Stand (Director: Sultan Sharrief; Screenwriter: Sultan Sharrief) - Bilal, a Muslim high school senior, works at his family's long-owned taxi stand. "The Stand," as they call it, has been the source of all activity and money for the family for the last sixty years. It seems like Bílal is about to carry the torch. He secretly submits a college application and takes up the art of ice carving in order to win a scholarship. However, he is forced to decide whether he will continue working at the Stand - the only life he's ever known - or take a chance at social mobility. The film is based on a true story and deals with issues of education, religion, community values, and social prosperity. Los Angeles Premiere.

The Harimaya Bridge (Director: Aaron Woolfolk) - Daniel Holder's father was killed fighting the Japanese during the Second World War...something he thought he had made peace with long ago, until a recent discovery revealed to him the cruel and brutal way in which his father died. So when Daniel's beloved artist son Mickey takes a job in Japan teaching English, it creates a rift between them. Mickey dies in a traffic accident, and Daniel's profound regret at their estrangement is matched only by his increased resentment towards Japan...a country he thinks took not only his father, but now his only child as well. Despite these feelings, Daniel goes to Japan to retrieve Mickey's final paintings. But despite the kindness he is shown and the evidence of the happy life his son led, he cannot let go of his hatred. But some unexpected discoveries about Mickey's life and legacy change everything for Daniel, forcing him to reassess his feelings and the life he will henceforth lead. Starring Ben Guillory, Saki Takaoka, Misa Shimizu, Danny Glover, Victor Grant.

Pro-Black Sheep (Director: Clayton Broomes, Jr.) - A character-driven drama about a young, extraordinary intellectual who is discovered as the political critic sending out anonymous letters and emails that criticize today's black leadership for undermining the progress of black America. Instead of holding it against him, the black leader who finds him out hires him as a second adviser, which becomes a journey of a young man finding his own voice and daring to shout it out if he intends on making a difference in society. West Coast Premier.

Soul Diaspora (Director: Odera Ozoka) - Saidu, a Nigerian immigrant living in Los Angeles, must overcome sleepless nights due to his family's tormented lineage in Africa. He is alone in the world, often hearing voices in his head. The film interweaves through color and black & white to illustrate Saidu's erratic behavior and mental state. The souls of the characters are stripped to the core by one searing event which gives them all a fresh perspective, exploring the varying shades of grey in life. Los Angeles Premiere.

Everyday Black Man (Director: Carmen Madden) - Since closing the door on a violent past, quiet and thoughtful Moses Stanton's everyday existence is running a small neighborhood fruit and vegetable store. When a young man, Malik, comes in with a business proposition, Moses takes him on as a partner but soon realizes that Malik is selling more than just baked goods. Produced by Dwayne Wiggins, formally of Tony, Toni, Tone. Los Angeles Premiere.

 








 


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