The 26th Pan African Film Festival fell once again during our crucial Black History Month, where we have the opportunity via a plethora of events and celebrations to connect Africa and its diaspora, and more importantly educate and inform the masses. The Pan African Film Festival encompassed all of these various activities at the Baldwin-Hills Crenshaw Mall, in the heart of South Central Los Angeles. Film and Documentaries from Africa and the Diaspora were shown to avid and conscious spectators, some of whom brought their children and families. The film festival offers spectators rare opportunities to ask the directors and actors questions, as well as offer amateur or professional critiques. My personal favorites this year were “Burkina Rising” discussing the life and death of the revolutionary Thomas Sankara and the comical Nigerian Love Story “Red Hibiscus”. Of course, the Centerpiece of the Festival was the now iconic “Black Panther” movie which was shown a day prior to its national release to a sold-out audience. The “Black Panther” theme was recurrent throughout the entire festival, as nightly food (Southern & Caribbean) and dance celebrations occurred, to the sounds of modern and classic music from Africa and the Diaspora. Vendors came from all over the US to sell African goods in the mall area, where an African-themed Fashion and Talent show also took place. The Pan African Film Festival truly lived up to its name as it was a definite success as usual, in its mission of unity, education and entertainment.
There were notable appearances by Mario Van Peebles, Louis Gossett Jr, Isaiah Washington & Family and Senegalese actress Amelie M’Baye Lead actress of “Borders/Frontieres” which won the “Best Narrative” award this year.
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