FYI Atlanta readers... your chance to see films previously covered on this blog that may not have screened at a theater near you yet...
The Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) is heading back to Atlanta, Georgia, in a program that will run August 7 -10, 2014, at the Plaza Theater, with a lineup of over 40 new films from around the world, as well as workshops and panels.
In its 17th year of presenting films to the Atlanta community, PAFF is kicking off this year’s festival with actor and political activist Danny Glover in the Opening Night Atlanta Premiere of director Deon Taylor’s “Supremacy” on Thursday, August 7th at 7:25pm. Glover, who stars in the racially fueled dramatic thriller, has been generating award season buzz for his performance and will be attending the film’s premiere along with Taylor.
Additional film showings include the PBS documentary special "Freedom Summer," the critically acclaimed "Of Good Report" from South Africa, TV One’s new feature film "Grown Girl Getaway," and, in partnership with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, a special Closing Night Special Presentation of the 2014 British drama, "Belle" with director Amma Asante, on Sunday, August 10th at 5:40pm. Award-winning filmmaker and Spelman Professor Ayoka Chenzira will be in conversation with Asante immediately following the "Belle" screening. There will be a pre-screening reception for "Belle" at 2:30pm, featuring Dr. Gerald Horne at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. The Closing Night is sponsored by Fox Home Entertainment.
PAFF executive director Ayuko Babu says, “We’re excited about being able to bring another great slate of new U.S. and international films to Atlanta, one of the cultural and artistic centers of the country. Atlanta’s hospitality can’t be beaten.”
PAFF is regarded as America’s largest and most prestigious international Black film festival covering a variety of themes ranging from Arts & Cultural issues to social justice movements that have shaped and transformed American life. More importantly, this year marks the first time in 16 years that PAFF enters the Atlanta market as a stand alone event; premiering a curated selection of films that capture real stories made by Black and/or about people of African descent. PAFF is honored to have the promotional support from several local Atlanta community partners that include National Center for Civil and Human Rights, 91.9 FM (WCLK Clark Atlanta), 89.3 FM WRFG Radio, SPARK Reproductive Justice, DJ Kemit SPREAD LOVE and Get Connected Atlanta.
For novice filmmakers and producers, PAFF is offering workshops and panels on all day on Saturday, August 9 with seasoned industry professionals such as Celebrity Casting Director Tracy “Twinkie” Byrd, Executive Producers Phil Thornton and Syleena Johnson (R&B Divas), Roger Bobb (Rickey Smiley Show, House of Payne, Madea’s Big Happy Family), Paul Garnes (Selma, Being Mary Jane, The Game), Jim Tripp (Let’s Stay Together, Mike Epps Presents, Friday) and Lamont Ferrell.
Below are a few film highlights from the 2014 Pan African Film Festival -Atlanta offerings:
[Opening Night] - "Supremacy" (US/Narrative/2013 ) Director: Deon Taylor
Based on a true story, Supremacy follows a high-ranking white supremacist who, within 24 hours of being released from prison, finds himself on the run after murdering a cop. In an attempt to hide from the police, he and his accomplice find themselves seeking refuge in a home owned by a black family, taking them hostage. Led by the family’s patriarch, an ex-con who understands the convict’s desperation all too well, he must rely on his wit and understanding of the racist mind to keep his family safe from the intruders. Stars Danny Glover, Joe Anderson, Dawn Olivieri, Derek Luke, Evan Ross, Lela Rochon, Mahershala Ali and Anson Mount. **Actor Danny Glover and Director Deon Taylor will be in attendance and available for interviews.
"The Case of the Three-Sided Dream" (US/Documentary/2013/128min) Director: Adam Kahan
Rahsaan Roland Kirk was a one-of-a kind musician, personality, satirist and windmill-slayer, who despite being blind, becoming paralyzed, and facing racial injustices – did not relent. His life’s work was exploring sound and making music. Beyond that, he was an outspoken activist who started a political movement to get more exposure for Jazz in America – particularly on TV. A generous musical sound track, archival footage and interviews with family, friends and colleagues create a mesmerizing portrait of this super-human, multi-instrumental musical force who played his music literally until the day he died.
"Grown Girls Getaway" (US/Narrative Feature/2014) Director: Roger Bobb
Four friends take a trip to the Caribbean to celebrate two of their friends’ birthdays. One thing leads to another and they get into a bit of trouble. They all lose their passports and money and end up owing a guy $10,000. Stars: Garcelle Beauvais, Terri Vaughn, Malinda Williams and Essence Atkins.
"Of Good Report" (South Africa/Narrative Feature/2013) Director: Jahmil X.T. Qubeka
A modern-day film noir tracking Parker, a shy high school teacher arriving at a new school. While he is earnest in his passion for teaching, his extra-curricular attentions are drawn to a gorgeous young woman. When he realizes she is a student at his very school - and forbidden fruit - he grows increasingly obsessed. When the girl goes missing, a female detective comes snooping around, fueling Parker’s unstable, even dangerous, behavior as she gets closer to the shocking truth. Briefly banned in its native South Africa, this genre-changing provocative offering by one of Africa’s finest up and coming directors, is a milestone accomplishment in African Film. **Winner: Best Feature-PAFF-LA 2014; Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay-2014 African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA)
"Brothers Hypnotic" (Netherlands/US/Documentary/2013) Director: Reuben Atlas
In an intriguing microcosm of the tensions between the hip-hop generation and its civil-rights-era forebears, eight brothers: all sons of anti-establishment Chicago jazz musician, Phil Cohran (Sun Ra Arkestra), grew up with 24 siblings in the same home, on a strict diet of jazz, funk, and Black Consciousness. Now grown and in their own band, the group retains some of their father’s anti-establishment spirit but re-evaluate and reinterpret his ideals for a modern era. Features performances that include Mos Def, Damon Albarn and Prince. **Winner: Festival Founders’ Award, Documentary-PAFF 2014
"Confusion Na Wa" (Nigeria/Narrative Feature/2013) Director: Kenneth Gyang
One of the new phase of films coming out of Nigeria, not to be missed. Six strangers, two days, one phone... A dark dramedy that traces the lives of a disparate group of individuals as their paths cross over the course of one day. Their result is a story of lust, infidelity, friendship, revenge, heartbreak and confusion. Unlike the usual Nollywood tale, this film by a young filmmaker (on the short list of filmmakers to watch) is a not so subtle critique of daily Nigerian society. **Best Feature Film and Best Nigerian Film-2013 African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA); Special Jury Recognition-Feature Narrative-2014 PAFF
[CLOSING NIGHT] – A Special Screening of "Belle" (UK/Narrative Feature/2013) Director: Amma Asante
Inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield and his wife, Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet the color of her skin prevents her from fully participating in the traditions of her social standing. Left to wonder if she will ever find love, Belle falls for an idealistic young vicar’s son bent on change who, with her help, shapes Lord Mansfield’s role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in the 18th Century England. Stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Matthew Goode, Emily Watson and Tom Wilkinson. ** Director Amma Asante will be in attendance and available for interviews.
To create the perfect afternoon for this special viewing of "Belle," Pan African Film Festival will host a pre- screening reception with lunch at the newly constructed National Center for Civil and Human Rights on Sunday, August 10th with director Amma Asante, and Historian/Scholar Dr. Gerald Horne. Joined by an A-list of Atlanta’s distinguished civil rights leaders, scholars and Arts supporters, director Asante and Dr. Horne will speak on the significance of Lord Mansfield and the Somerset Decision, which marked the beginning of the abolition of slavery in England and the effects of that decision in the American colonies.