For the past 21 years the Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) has been entertaining us with films, not only from America but around the world. For many of us it was our first look at films made for and by Blacks from Africa and other parts of the world. And 21 years later it continues to be an eye-opening experience that has helped broaden our scope of the world and the roles people of African descent play.
After a monthlong business trip to Africa visiting an international film festival and several film events, Ayuko Babu, executive director of PAFF, along with director of programming Asantewa Olatunji, returned to Los Angeles with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA). AMAA, considered the African Oscars, held its ninth award ceremony on April 20, 2013, in Yenagoa, Nigeria, the Bayelsa state capital, honoring top films and performances from Africa and its Diaspora.
“It’s very humbling to receive such a prestigious honor from the African Movie Academy,” said Babu.
“It’s thrilling for the work of the Pan African Film Festival to be recognized on this level by the international film community. It’s also a testament to the contribution and global impact this film festival has made in bringing stories from around the world to American audiences.”
Earlier this year, PAFF also received the first ever Special Achievement Award in the Film Festival Category by African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), recognizing its contribution to cinematic arts.
PAFF was founded in 1992 by award-winning actor Danny Glover (“The Color Purple,” “Lethal Weapon”), Emmy Award-winning actress Ja’Net DuBois (best known for her role as Willona in the TV series, “Good Times”) and executive director, Ayuko Babu, an international legal, cultural and political consultant who specializes in African affairs. PAFF is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to the promotion of ethnic and racial respect and tolerance through the exhibition of films, art and creative expression.
The goal of PAFF is to present and showcase the broad spectrum of Black creative works, particularly those that reinforce positive images, help to destroy negative stereotypes and depict an expanded vision of the Black experience. PAFF believes film and art can lead to better understanding and foster communication between peoples of diverse cultures, races, and lifestyles, while at the same time serve as a vehicle to initiate dialogue on the important issues of our times.
PAFF, America’s largest and most prestigious international Black film festival, each year screens more than 150 films made by and/or about people of African descent from the United States, Africa, the Caribbean, South America, the South Pacific, Latin America, Europe and Canada. In February the festival screened a total of 154 films, representing 34 countries–that is, 23 documentaries, 13 short documentaries, 67 narrative features, and 51 narrative shorts.
PAFF holds the distinction of being the largest Black History Month event in the country.
For more information on the Pan African Film Festival, visit www.paff.org or call (310) 337-4737.