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Pan African Film Festival to open with ‘Love Jacked’ Feb. 8

LOS ANGELES — The 26th annual Pan African Film Festival will be held Feb. 8-19 at the Cinemark Rave 15 Theatres in the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.

“The Pan African Film and Art Festival has been recognized as one of the largest celebrations of black culture and black films,” said Ayuko Babu, executive director of the festival.

“For 26 years, we have presented diverse and inclusive programming that features the creative work of leading disruptors in film and entertainment. The 2018 PAFF experience aims to step outside the ‘business as usual’ film festival norms and move the needle forward by amplifying the game-changing voices of influential, ethnic, millennial and LGBTQ storytellers.”

Babu said this year’s lineup includes more than 170 films from more than 40 countries on five different continents and in 26 languages.

As an official Oscar-qualifying festival for shorts and live-action films, the Pan African Film Festival will hold special screenings for several works that are up for consideration for the 90th annual Academy Awards.

The film “Love Jacked” by director Alfons Adetuyi will open the festival at 7 p.m. Feb. 8.

It is described as a warm family comedy centered around Maya, a headstrong 28-year-old with artistic ambitions and her father Ed, who wants a dutiful daughter to run the family store.

Ed is shocked when Maya, asserting her independence, decides to travel to Africa for inspiration and returns with a fiancé.

It stars Amber Stevens-West, Shamier Anderson, Lyriq Bent, Keith David, Mike Epps, Marla Gibbs, Angela Gibbs, Demetrius Grosse and Nicole Lyn and cast members are expected to be present for the opening night red carpet, which begins at 6 p.m.

Established in 1992, the Pan African Film & Arts Festival has remained dedicated to showcasing a broad spectrum of black creative works, particularly, those that reinforce positive images and help to advance cultures, races and lifestyles. The festival also serves as a vehicle to initiate dialogue on the important issues of modern times and assists in the promotion of cultural understanding between peoples of African descent, Babu said.

Organizers say it is the largest black film festival and the largest Black History Month celebration in the U.S.

It attracts a diverse global audience hailing from the United States, Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, Canada, South America and the South Pacific, which translates into more than 90,000 art fest attendees, 40,000 film enthusiasts and 5,000 students annually.