By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act December 13, 2011 at 5:41PM
The Pan African Film Festival folks are in a generous mood today... and since we're always ready to receive, here's a little more exclusive exciting news to share with regards to the festival's 2012 event in February.
In addition to my post earlier today announcing that Think Like A Man will be the festival's opening night film, I was informed a few moments ago by a festival rep that Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day, which stars Blair Underwood, Nicole Beharie, Sharon Leal, Pam Grier, and others, directed by Neema Barnette, will be the PAFF's closing night film. It's a done deal.
The film doesn't have a 2012 release date set yet, and, last we checked a little while ago, was still in post-production; but it'll make its world premiere at the PAFF in just about 2 months.
Not necessarily a follow-up to the 2004 TD Jakes-produced film Woman Thou Art Loosed, which starred Kimberly Elise, On The 7th Day is described as a psychological thriller that centers on a married couple who have seemingly built the perfect life until a dark past is unveiled, following the kidnapping of their 6-year old daughter. As the couple desperately searches for their child, secrets are revealed, truths are confronted, and lives spiral out of control.
Secondly, other films we've profiled on S&A will also make their debuts at the PAFF, like Russ Parr's The Under Shepherd, which stars Isaiah Washington - we posted a teaser for it a few months ago, and I recall the dicsussion that followed got a little *active,* so much that both Russ Parr and Isaiah Washington jumped in with their $.02.
The film's story centers around two young ambitious ministers whose friendship and character are tested when the opportunity to become pastor of their church arises.
Parr himself added in the comments section of our last post on the film:
The story is about Power that can happen in the pulpit. Isaiah's character becomes a phenomenon and the curious white black or whatever are consumed by his charisma. I make it a point to show the hypocrisy that exists in some churches. When I wrote this script some 3 years ago I didn't consult the leaders of black church leaders to get their POV. I'm giving my interpretation of what I see and what I've seen. Isaiah Washington totally took my script to another level. This is pure drama based on a lot of factual info I have gathered. The 50 second tease shouldn't be your sole source of info to formulate a true opinion of this film. I'm typing this as I am about to abort my last scene for the movie. So just want to give y'all a heads up.
Third, the Mario Van Peeples-directed We The Party, another film we've profiled, and which I'd actually forgotten all about, given the lack of info on it. Well, now we know that it'll screen at the Pan African Film Festival next February.
The film captures high school life in Los Angeles and features a ton of music and cameos from artists, with an ensemble cast that includes Van Peebles himself, along with Michael Jai White, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Snoop Dogg, and several others.
I'm also told that Bill Duke's Dark Girls, a film we've talked about ad nauseam on S&A, will screen at the festival, as well as 96 Minutes, the critically-acclaimed thriller that premiered at SXSW earlier this year, where star Evan Ross won the award for Breakthrough Performance). David Oyelowo also co-stars. The film was acquired for distribution with an early 2012 theatrical release planned.
96 Minutes centers on a carjacking and four kids caught in the terrifying maelstrom of one night. Intercutting between the car and the beginning of that day, the film follows the separate stories of each kid - where they come from, who they are, and how they all ended up in one car on this fateful night. Their worlds are starkly divided along class lines, but on this one night, their lives slam headlong into each other. Not all of them are innocent. Not all of them survive.
I heard it won over audiences at SXSW, and it's one film I've been wanting to see.
And there are more surprises... although we'll have to wait for those. The festival's full lineup isn't to be officially announced until after the Xmas & New Year holidays; but we've given you an early look at what's coming.
I must say that I have absolutely no excuses for not going to the PAFF (its 20th anniversary) next February. These are all films we've written about, and discussed (some more polarizing than others), many of them making their debuts at the festival; How could I not go? :)
I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the lineup.