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8 African Films nab an award at the Pan African Film Festival

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8 Films nab an award at the (). Winners were announced at the PAFF filmmakers awards today during a brunch ceremony at Locals Sports Bar & Grill in Los Angeles. PAFF, America’s largest and most prestigious international Black film festival took place from February 16 to 23, 2011 at the Culver Plaza Theatre. The festival will end its run tonight with the closing film, “DWB: Dating While Black,” written, directed and produced by Van Elder.

The festival selected a total of 121 films, representing 31 countries, 75 feature length films (narrative and documentaries) and 46 short films. The festival handed out prizes for Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short, Best Narrative Short, Best Narrative Feature, and Best First Feature Film, as well as audience favorite awards.
Themed, “Experience Your World,” PAFF wanted to take its movie goers on a cinematic journey with screenings from around the world – that is, such countries as Angola, Austria, Bermuda, Canada, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mexico, South African, Nigeria, and of course, the United States. PAFF hopes these films with global appeal will open the minds of its audiences, and transport them to lands far away and back home again … without ever packing a suitcase.

And without further ado, the winners are:
Best Picture (Narrative Feature)
Besouro (Brazil), directed by João Daniel Tikhomiroff

Honorable Mention:
The Athlete (Atletu) (Ethiopia), directed by Davey Frankel & Rasselas Lakew

Best Documentary Feature
Thunder Soul (USA), directed by Mark Landsman

Honorable Mention:
War Don Don (USA), directed by Rebecca Richman Cohen

Best Short Film (Narrative Short)
The Abyss Boys (South Africa), directed by Jan-Hendrik Beetge

Honorable Mention:
Hear Me (USA), directed by Kenn Michael

First Feature Film by a Director (Narrative Feature)
I Will Follow (USA), directed by Ava DuVernay

Honorable Mention:
Hopeville (South Africa), directed by John Trengove

Audience Award Narrative Feature
The First Grader (Kenya/UK), directed by Justin Chadwick

Audience Award Documentary Feature Film (Documentary Feature)
Gang Girl: A Mother’s Journey to Save her Daughter (USA), directed by Valerie Goodloe

Audience Award Short Film
The Black Mozart in Cuba (Guadeloupe), directed by Steve James

Pan African Film Festival Board of Directors Awards

Best Short Film
Precipice (UK), directed by Julius Amedume

Best Documentary Film
The Manuscripts of Timbuktu (South Africa), directed by Zola Maseko

Best Feature Film (Best Feature Narrative)
Viva Riva! (DRCongo/France/Belgium/South Africa), directed by Djo Tunda Wa Munga

Honorable Mention:
The Child, (Nigeria), directed by Izu Ojukwu
The Figurine (Nigeria), directed by Kunle Afolayan

Pan African Film Festival-British Academy of Film and Television Arts/LA (BAFTA/LA)
Festival Choice Award
I Sing of a Well (Ghana), directed by Leila Djansi

The 2011 Pan African Film Festival is sponsored by the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, the Los Angeles County Arts Fund, Macy’s, Wells Fargo Bank, Sony Pictures Entertainment, South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines and the Africa Channel.

For more information, please visit www.paff.org or call (310) 337-4737.

About the Pan African Film Festival
The Pan African Film and Arts Festival (PAFF), America’s largest and most prestigious Black film and arts festival, is gearing up for its 19th year of screening more than 100 films made by and/or about people of African descent from the United States, Africa, the Caribbean, South America, the South Pacific, Europe and Canada. PAFF holds the distinction of being the largest Black History Month event in the country.

PAFF was founded in 1992 by award-winning actor Danny Glover (“The Color Purple,” “Lethal Weapon” movie franchise), Emmy Award-winning actress Ja’Net DuBois (best known for her role as the busybody neighbor Willona in the tv series, “Good Times”) and executive director, Ayuko Babu, an international legal, cultural and political consultant who specializes in African Affairs. PAFF is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the promotion of ethnic and racial respect and tolerance through the exhibit of films, art and creative expression.

The goal of PAFF is to present and showcase 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. PAFF believes film and art can lead to better understanding and foster communication between peoples of diverse cultures, races, and lifestyles, while at the same time, serve as a vehicle to initiate dialogue on the important issues of our times.

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TV and Movies

South African Actress Thuso Mbedu Lands A Lead Role In Hollywood’s Amazon Series

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Thuso Mbedu at the 2018 International Emmy Awards show in New York

South African sensational actress, Thuso Mbedu has made history by becoming the first South African actress to land a lead role in a Hollywood TV series. Consequently, the 28-year old actress will be playing the role of Cora in the TV series ‘The Underground Railroad’. The premiere will be later this year.

Barry Jenkins, the award-winning director took up the challenge to direct the series. Jenkins is also the co-writer of Moonlight, an Academy Award-winning film. Reliable reports hint that Jenkins will be the director of all the eleven episodes. Each of the episodes has a one-hour duration. Subsequent announcement about the cast and project by Variety Magazine said,

“The cast will be led by Thuso Mbedu as Cora, with Chase W. Dillon as Homer and Aaron Pierre as Caesar. The project was first set up more than two years ago, on the heels of Barry Jenkins’s Oscar win for the film Moonlight, with Amazon officially ordering it to series last June.”

A sneak peek into cast and story

‘The Underground Railroad’ is an adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Colson Whitehead. The Underground Railroad is a 2016 publication that tells the story of Cora. Thuso Mbedu will be playing the role of Cora, a young slave girl working on a cotton plantation in Georgia. However, Cora faces rejection among Americans and her African peers. A slave, Caesar, arrives from Virginia and beckons on her to join him on the Underground Railroad. Cora seizes the opportunity to escape with him.

The historical significance of The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad has a historical significance. It is not just a metaphor but a network of engineers, secret tunnels and tracks underneath the Southern soil. The Underground Railroad also has a network of people who aid fugitives to escape to the North of Canada. One of the key figures in the Underground Railroad network is Ohio’s John Fairfield, an abolitionist and former slave.

Fairfield became famous for employing inventive techniques to help fleeing slaves make it to Free-States. However, Fairfield is not the only one in this practice. Another key figure in this practice was Levi Coffin. The Quaker aided over 3,000 slaves. Harriet Tubman accompanied over 300 slaves on a perilous journey to freedom.

Mbedu’s reaction

Mbedu shot into the spotlight with her role in ‘Generations: The Legacy’. However, her role as Winnie in ‘Is’thunzi’ earned her two International Emmy Award nominations in 2018 and 2019. The gorgeous actress took to her Instagram page to share good news. She shared a picture of her and three other characters followed by a long outpouring of gratitude and emotion.

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My thumb and neurons are failing me right now so I'll just do as most South Africans do when this happens: I GOT THE JOB!!!! It was such an amazing process and experience. Like, true story, just prepping to audition for this role made me grow so much. It's such a blessing and honour to tell this story… Again, words fail me so I'll stop there for now. Read the full article on @variety .com #chapter27 #becomingthepromise God of creation There at the start Before the beginning of time With no point of reference You spoke to the dark And fleshed out the wonder of light And as You speak A hundred billion galaxies are born In the vapor of Your breath the planets form If the stars were made to worship so will I I can see Your heart in everything You’ve made Every burning star A signal fire of grace If creation sings Your praises so will I God of Your promise You don’t speak in vain No syllable empty or void For once You have spoken All nature and science Follow the sound of Your voice And as You speak A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath Evolving in pursuit of what You said If it all reveals Your nature so will I I can see Your heart in everything You say Every painted sky A canvas of Your grace If creation still obeys You so will I – @hillsongunited

A post shared by Thuso Mbedu (@thuso.mbedu) on

South African actresses like Pearl Thusi and Terry Pheto are big names in Hollywood TV series. However, none has ever played a lead role. There seem to be a lot of accolades coming out of South Africa. A few days ago, Manthso by Palesa Mokubung made history as the first African fashion brand to land a global collaboration with H&M. This is not an individual success but a collective national success.

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TV and Movies

Famous Talent Show Comes To East Africa

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East Africa Got Talent

The famous TV series ‘Got Talent’ is coming to East Africa. Tagged ‘East Africa Got Talent’, the show will seek to identify exceptional talent in the region. The show which is the brainchild of Simon Cowell’s SYCOtv Company is now featured in over 50 countries across the globe. Cowell is famous for his strict judgments in the initial seasons of American Idol. However, Britain’s Got Talent and America’s Got Talent are the most famous. A statement from Safaricom’s Chief Customer Officer, Sylvia Mulinge read,

“The famous ‘Got Talent’ reality TV series is coming to East Africa! We are on location at Movenpick to launch the series, as we announce our title sponsorship for East Africa’s Got Talent. We are happy to announce our sponsorship of this iconic show which has been lauded as one of the world’s most successful reality TV franchise.”

The host for inaugural East Africa Got Talent

Anne Kansiime

The hilarious comedian Anne Kansiime has been named the host for the inaugural edition of the show. The show will search for the best talents across Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, and Tanzania. Some of the talent-acts the judges will be on the lookout for are comedians, dancers, singers, and more. The audition is open for anyone with any form of talent irrespective of age. In a message shared on her social media, Kansiime said,

“Oooh Ninjas, am struggling to contain this excitement. I doubt there is an Emoji I can use to illustrate it. This is it; “The famous ‘Got Talent’ reality TV series is coming to East Africa. Yes, as “East Africa’s Got Talent”. Am so happy and excited to announce my association with this iconic show which has been lauded as the world’s most successful reality TV franchise as the Host.”

A preliminary audition will hold across the four countries in major cities between from May 11 to 26. However, those who are successful will head to Nairobi, Kenya where they will perform in front of judges. They will compete until the semifinals where six people will compete for $50,000. The screening of the show is scheduled to begin in August. However, the show will have ten episodes besides the semifinal and final. The last two stages will be aired live.

The most successful reality TV

The episode of Got Talent was on June 21, 2006. Twelve years on, the show is coming to East Africa. The Guinness World Records on April 2014 named the show the ‘World’s Most Successful Reality TV Format’. South Sudan and Burundi are part of East Africa but omitted from the list. However, there is no formal statement restricting them from participating.

Those who cannot make it to the pre-audition venues can still participate online through www.rapidblue.formstack.com. Alternatively, you can record your act in a one-minute video and send it to the WhatsApp number +254 (0)703 437 903 with your name, age, and country.

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Celebrities

SZA Surprises Fans With The Adoption Of Nigerian Names

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SZA adopts Nigerian names

American music sensation Solana Rowe aka SZA made eyes pop on her Instagram page recently. However, this time it wasn’t just about stunning pictures. The music star on Thursday, April 11th, 2019, adopted two Nigerian names, “Amarachi Chinonso”. The names which are peculiar with the Igbos in Southeastern Nigeria means “God’s grace” and “God is close” respectively. The Instagram sensation has over 5.7 million followers. Mix reactions followed SZA’s name change. There were the positives, negatives and the neutral.

The 29-year old singer was born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother in St. Louis. Fans immediately began to pour out their admiration for the African-American artiste’s willingness to identify with her African heritage. However, not every fan loves to make assumptions. A few fans were keen to find out the motive for her actions.

Some of the reactions trailing SZA’s name change

A picture posted days after the name change has over 618k likes and 4k comments. In addition to admiring her stunning beauty, a number of the comments revolves around her name change. However, a few of the inspiring or eyebrow-raising comments include;

Zizilords.xo; “Chineke such beauty!!! Daluu ooh#igbo_sister”

Majesty_lyn; “Omg, you’re Nigerian!!!!!!! I’m screaming”.

Itslavivi; “Can you please tell us the inspiration behind the Igbo name in your bio?”

Kelechikakesss; “If you (‘re) Nigerian, can you tell us because we wanna know ASAP?”

Obsessed_style; “Shoutout to @SZA for being an absolute queen. We’ve always love you but now our love for you is x3. Igbo kwenu!”

Carolinetheshe_; Nice fit but please we need clarity on your new Nigerian names

Derinfromisaleeko: We need to know, are you Nigerian? Are you one of us.. We love you still if you aren’t.

Recent and past musical projects

The Grammy-nominee songstress performed recently at Dreamville festival. The event was also graced by Nigerian Afrobeat star, Davido. For the past few weeks, the artist has been teasing her fans on social media about her upcoming project. Apparently, SZA featured alongside ‘Travis Scott’ and ‘The Weekend’ on Game of Thrones official soundtrack. On Thursday 18, April, SZA finally shared the Game of Thrones soundtrack with the caption ‘POWER IS POWER OUT NOW”

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POWER IS POWER. OUT NOW

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SZA shot into limelight in 2017 with the release of her debut album, ‘Ctrl’. The album made its debut on the US Billboard 200 at number 3. Consequently, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) gave the album platinum certification. The album got four Grammy Awards nominations. SZA, on the other hand, bagged the ‘Best New Artiste’ nomination at the 60th award ceremony.

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