Pan African Film Festival Announces Virtual Lineup for 2021

Pan African Film Festival Announces Virtual Lineup for 2021

America’s largest Black film festival set for Feb. 28 thru March 14

Award-winning actor and activist Danny Glover to serve as festival’s ambassador

The 29th Annual Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) will take place February 28 through March 14, 2021, and will be entirely virtual–a move festival organizers say will increase their audience and bring the African diaspora to film lovers around the world regardless of their physical location or travel budget.

“PAFF is known for being the largest Black History Month celebration in Los Angeles,” said PAFF executive director, Ayuko Babu, an international legal, cultural, and political consultant who specializes in Pan African Affairs. “This year we had to recalibrate in order to meet this moment. We will certainly miss seeing everyone in person this year out we’re excited about our innovative new platform that promises to be a unique experience for viewers and will bring the Pan African Film Festival to audiences worldwide. Virtual or in-person we remain dedicated to the promotion of ethnic and racial respect and tolerance through the exhibit of films, art, and creative expression.”

Festival co-founder and award-winning actor and activist Danny Glover is set to serve as the celebrity ambassador for the 2021 PAFF. As an ambassador, Glover will help bring awareness of this year’s festival lineup and PAFF’s 29-year legacy.

PAFF is the largest Black film festival in the United States and the largest Black History Month cultural event in the nation featuring over 200 Black films and 100 fine artists from around the world. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has designated PAFF as an official qualifying film festival for live-action and animation short films. The Los Angeles based festival is normally held at the Cinemark 15 Theatres at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will take place entirely online.

Out of over 900 submissions from 83 countries, the 2021 PAFF will feature over 200 films including 168 narrative films, 39 documentaries, 159 short and mini short films from 45 countries and in 43 languages.
PAFF proudly continues its tradition of showcasing the broad spectrum of Black creative works, particularly those that reinforce positive images, help to destroy negative stereotypes, and depict an expanded vision of the Black experience.

This year’s PAFF will feature four Academy Award Best Foreign Film submissions including the U.S. premiere of The Milkmaid (Nigeria), The Fisherman’s Diary (Cameroon), The Letter (Kenya), and This Is Not A Burial, It’s a Resurrection (Lesotho). Other notable entries include the world premiere African America (South Africa), a first film from director Muzi Mthembu about a cynical South African woman accepted to Julliard who finds out the hard way that 2017 U.S.A. isn’t as welcoming as she had dreamed. Set in Rio de Janeiro in a near and hypothetical future, Executive Order (Brazil) is a feature fictional film whose plot starts with the enforcement of a law that determines the compulsory return of all Afro-descendants to their “countries of origin”. In its U.S. premiere, Finding Sally (Ethiopia), is a documentary that tells the incredible story of a 23-year-old woman from an upper-class family who became a communist rebel with the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party. Also making its U.S. premiere, hip hop and art historians will enjoy Fresh Guide to Florence with Fab 5 Freddy (Italy/US/UK) where the hip hop pioneer goes on a quest to uncover the hidden black figures of Italian Renaissance art.

With over 160 filmmakers of African descent, this year’s PAFF will feature 84 female directors and 15 LGBTQ+ directors.

The festival will hand out juried prizes for Best Narrative Feature, Best First Feature Film, Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short, and Best Narrative Short as well as audience favorite awards at the close of the festival.

In addition to the films, PAFF will virtually host their celebrated industry panel discussions, filmmaker workshops, SeniorFest, StudentFest, ChildrensFest, SpokenwordFest, and the PAFF LOL comedy show.

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