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Film festival founders host brunch

LOS ANGELES — Ayuko Babu and Danny Glover, co-founders of the Pan African Film Festival, hosted the 27th annual Filmmaker’s Brunch Feb. 8 at the Director’s Guild of America on Sunset Boulevard, honoring this year’s filmmakers. 

The filmmakers filled the sunlit, triangular-shaped room, shaking hands, introducing themselves and sharing stories about how and why they created their films. 

Glover and Babu addressed the filmmakers, Babu questioning them on their knowledge of films, reciting lines from some of his favorite inspirational films and speaking on the African concept of “Sankofa,” to know your future is to know your past.  

Glover spoke about the filmmakers’ talents and the time it takes to make a film. He also posed for lots of pictures with the filmmakers, many of whom looked up to him for being a standout actor in some of their favorite childhood movies.

More than 150 films will be screened during the two-week festival, which provides a chance for creators to premiere their art to the world. Some filmmakers are local and others traveled from as far as Brazil, New York, Australia and Gambia. 

Some are trained with an education in cinema, and some are self-taught. 

Films range from the Afro-latino experience, activism, hip-hop, black entrepreneurship, Afro-futurism, horror, comedy and black love. Documentaries are flexible and vary with time, some are 16-minute trailers, other rounding off at 88 minutes. Some notable films include “Bakoso,” “Olympia,” “From Fist To Knee,” “Jamaica House” and “Time 2 Surrender.”

PAFF Assistant Montez Willis said, “This is the one place where you can get the stories across the African diaspora. The power of film is amazing because one film can tell the story of a single day or centuries. 

“The visual and audio reinforces the learning and a shared experience in real time, not virtual. PAFF has a special place in my heart because the black story is told so many different ways by us.”

The brunch helped launch a week of cultural events during the 12-day festival, highlighted by a newly released 1972 documentary featuring Aretha Franklin, spoken word performances, industry workshops, a comedy performance and an art festival featuring a mix of paintings, sculptures, fashion, jewelry and African artifacts.

The festival, which attracts thousands of visitors from throughout the African diaspora, is the largest event of its kind dedicated to film, art, music and creative expression by black people, organizers said.

The final five days of the festival will include movies screening throughout the day at the Cinemark Theatres at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza and the Art Festival throughout the plaza.

Weekend activities will include a youth entrepreneurial challenge presented by Union Bank Feb. 16 from 1 to 3 p.m., Black Creatives in the Fashion Industry Feb. 17 from noon to 2 p.m., followed by a fashion show from 2 to 4 p.m.; and a free program on how to get your child into the entertainment industry from 1:15 to 2 p.m. Feb. 16. 

For more information, visit www.paff.org.  

By Kristina Dixon

Contributing writers Pluria Marshall III and Amin Hassan contributed to this report.