VIDEO: Pan African Film Festival 22 Years in Los Angeles

This year, the Pan African Film Festival celebrates its 22nd year with a 12-day movie marathon featuring movies from around the globe. Movies will be shown daily at Rave Cinemas Baldwin Hills 15, in the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza – home to the event.

The festival kicked off on February 6 with the South African film, Of Good Report, directed by Jahmil X.T. Qubeka, a film about an obsessive teacher-pupil affair, which was banned in that country. A slew of movies will follow, including the world premiere of the much anticipated comedy About Last Night starring comedian Kevin Hart along with international screenings representing 46 countries including Argentina, Brazil, Bahamas, Canada, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa and the United States.

Widely regarded as the largest and most prestigious black film festival in the nation, each year the Pan African Film Festival screens more than 150 films made by or about people of African descent. As in years past, this year’s festival is expected to draw thousands of movie goers.

Watch our exclusive interview with Executive Director and co-founder Ayuko Babu below:

Executive Director and co-founder Ayuko Babu hopes audiences leave the theater with a better understanding of humanity as depicted by the African diaspora.

“We provide a broad experience from around the world that enriches everybody,” said Babu. “That’s what brings people back year after year.”

For Babu, the film that inspired a decades-long love affair with movies was the classic Brazilian film, Black Orpheus, which he saw at the age of 14.

“It was one of my first experiences seeing ourselves on the big screen and seeing our story,” said Babu. “It informed my life. It was fabulous. We didn’t know anything about the Samba or the Bossa Nova.”

From that day forward Babu made it his mission to see movies from around the world and he has continued to share his love for movies with others.

Since L.A. is a cosmopolitan area, Babu says it is important to remember the African, African-American and Pan African experience.

“That’s what we try to do – bring spirit, emotion and intellect to the abstract term called Black History,” said Babu.

The festival, which falls on Black History Month, an annual observance to celebrate the achievements of people in the African dispora, is dedicated to the promotion of tolerance, ethnic and racial respect through film, art and creative expression. The goal of the festival is to present and showcase the broad spectrum of creative work and reinforce positive images of the black experience.

The Pan African Film Festival is a non-profit corporation founded in 1992, by award winning actor Danny Glover, Emmy Award winning actress Ja’Net DuBois, and international legal, cultural and political consultant Ayuko Babu. The festival is the grant recipient of the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.  The festival ends February 17.

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