Kenyan Director Wanuri Kahui Wins Best Narrative Feature at the Pan African Film and Arts Festival for "From A Whisper"
The Jury, Audience, Festival, and other special award-winners of the 2010 PAN AFRICAN FILM & ARTS FESTIVAL (PAFF) were announced tonight at the Festival’s Awards Ceremony hosted by actress CCH Pounder (Avatar) at the Culver Plaza Theatres. The Kenyan narrative FROM A WHISPER won for Best Narrative Feature. A three-way tie was announced for the Audience Favorite Narrative Award for films SOUL DIASPORA, A STING IN A TALE, and SPEED-DATING. The documentary on the L.A. Black Panthers 41ST & CENTRAL: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE L.A. BLACK PANTHERS won the Audience Favorite Documentary Award.
With the theme “Get Involved,” this year’s PAFF featured 135 films representing 36 countries, including 40 in competition, 64 feature length films, and 12 world premieres.
The films receiving Jury Awards were selected from six categories: Best Feature Documentary, Best Documentary Short, Best Narrative Short, Best Feature Narrative, and First Time Narrative Feature Directing. All films in competition were also eligible for the PAFF’s Audience Awards as selected by Festival audiences. The PAFF Board of Directors and Programmer Festival Awards were awarded to their pick for Best Documentary and Best Narrative film. A special award from the BritishAcademyof Film and Television Arts/Los Angeles Festival Choice Award was awarded to the film FROM A WHISPER.
The #Pan African Film and Arts Festival, is America’s largest and most prestigious Black film and arts festival that takes place annually in Los Angeles during the month of February. For more information, please visit www.paff.org.
2010 PAFF FILMMAKER AWARD WINNERS
BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE
From A Whisper (Director: Wanuri Kahiu; Screenwriter: Wanuri Kahiu) – One of the most important films made in the world in this historical period. This stunning narrative revolves on one hand around a Kenyan family that was caught up in the bombing of the American Embassy by Islamist terrorists a few years ago. On one hand it revolves around a daughter’s experience to the bombing, on the other it revolves around Abu, a Muslim intelligence officer who is investigating the bombing. Abu has a complex and deep friendship with one of the terrorists. This film gives riveting and enriching insight into the complex narrative that is our life. Winner of the best picture in Africa last year at the Africa Movie Awards (AMAA). Los Angeles Premiere.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Stolen (Directors: Violeta Ayala & Daniel Fallshaw) – Set against the backdrop of the Sahara, in the Polisario-governed refugee camps, two unsuspecting filmmakers find themselves in the middle of a high-stakes political thriller when the Black Saharawis start talking about a forbidden subject: their freedom. Against the threat of severe consequences, the Black Saharawis reveal to the documentary filmmakers that they are enslaved. This story is all the more frightening because it is true and the issue of modern day slavery is proven to be a widespread reality. US Premiere.
BEST NARRATIVE SHORT
Cred (Director: Sherman Payne; Screenwriter: Sherman Payne) – What do you do when your upstairs neighbor refuses to stop the 24-hour party? You get your homies and prove that you have some cred. Stars Al Thompson.
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
For the Best and For the Onion! (Pour Le Meilleur et Pour l’Oignon!)(Director: Elhadj Magori Sani) – The Galmi purple, an onion from Niger, pervades West African markets with 400,000 tons a year. In Galmi, Salamatou has been waiting for her wedding for two years. Her father Yaro, on advice from both her future in-laws and the village gossip, makes a decision: The wedding will take place during the harvest! Yaro is aware that to follow through on his commitment this time, he has to produce more and sell at a higher price…Los Angeles Premiere.
BEST FIRST TIME NARRATIVE FEATURE AWARD FOR DIRECTING
The Harimaya Bridge (Director: Aaron Woolfolk) – Daniel Holder’s father was killed fighting the Japanese during the Second World War…something he thought he had made peace with long ago, until a recent discovery revealed to him the cruel and brutal way in which his father died. So when Daniel’s beloved artist son Mickey takes a job in Japan teaching English, it creates a rift between them. Mickey dies in a traffic accident, and Daniel’s profound regret at their estrangement is matched only by his increased resentment towards Japan…a country he thinks took not only his father, but now his only child as well. Despite these feelings, Daniel goes to Japan to retrieve Mickey’s final paintings. But despite the kindness he is shown and the evidence of the happy life his son led, he cannot let go of his hatred. But some unexpected discoveries about Mickey’s life and legacy change everything for Daniel, forcing him to reassess his feelings and the life he will henceforth lead. Starring Ben Guillory, Saki Takaoka, Misa Shimizu, Danny Glover, Victor Grant.
AUDIENCE FAVORITE-NARRATIVE FEATURE
Soul Diaspora (Director: Odera Ozoka) – Saidu, a Nigerian immigrant living in Los Angeles, must overcome sleepless nights due to his family’s tormented lineage inAfrica. He is alone in the world, often hearing voices in his head. The film interweaves through color and black & white to illustrate Saidu’s erratic behavior and mental state. The souls of the characters are stripped to the core by one searing event which gives them all a fresh perspective, exploring the varying shades of grey in life. Los AngelesPremiere.
Speed-Dating (Director: Joseph A. Elmore Jr.)This high-energy romantic comedy follows three bachelors, speeding through life and scheming on women. When it comes to the opposite sex, it’s about the “chase” and “finish line.” Dog and Beaver spend their last dime on a nightclub, while Too Cool devises the ultimate scheme to get women and money – SPEED-DATING! Stars Wesley Johnathan, Chris Elliot, and Holly Robinson Peete. World Premiere.
A Sting in A Tale (Director: Shirley Frimpong-Manso; Screenwriter: Shirley Frimpong-Manso) – Two young couples are striving to survive the harsh realities of life after university; unemployment, uncertainty, desperation and in the middle of it all, love. Kuuku is frustrated with unemployment and is faced with the possibility of losing his true love Frema because Frema’s mother sees no good future in their relationship. With these pressures, Kuuku moves heaven and earth trying to find a good job and a means to provide the future he so desperately seeks for himself, his future wife and kids. He takes the most drastic measure by resorting to rituals and soon after that, Frema passes away. After her death, Kuuku gets a well paying job and becomes a millionaire almost overnight. With the new fortunes comes a new set of problems as his best friend, Nii Aryee starts to envy Kuuku’s wealth and starts asking questions. The ghost of Frema will not rest until the mystery surrounding her death is cleared. What unfolds is a series of unpredictable and hilarious events that would take viewers on a roller-coaster of emotions from laughter to tears and even pity. US Premiere.
AUDIENCE FAVORITE-DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
41st & Central: The Untold Story of the L.A. Black Panthers (Director: Gregory Everett) – 41ST & CENTRAL: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE L.A. BLACK PANTHERS is the first part in a documentary series that follows the Southern California Chapter of the Black Panther Party from its glorious Black Power beginnings through to its tragic demise. Despite the Party’s formation of free medical clinics and a successful breakfast program for children, the L.A. chapter was also known as the most violent Black political group in the United States. 41ST & CENTRAL: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE L.A. BLACK PANTHERS explores the Black Panther ethos, its conflict with the L.A.P.D. and the US Organization, as well as the events that shaped the complicated and often contradictory legacy of the L.A.chapter. 41ST & CENTRAL: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE L.A. BLACK PANTHERS contains interviews with former Black Panther Party members along with archival footage detailing the history of racism in Los Angeles, including the Watt’s uprising from the perspective of the participants who “engaged with the L.A.P.D.” 41ST & CENTRAL: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE L.A. BLACK PANTHERS is the most in-depth study ever of the L.A. Chapter founder Alpretice “Bunchy Carter” and features first hand accounts of the Party’s formation as told by the original surviving members. This film gives the viewer an eyewitness account of Bunchy and John Huggins murders at U.C.L.A. in 1968 and includes exclusive interviews with Black Panther Party leaders Geronimo Ji Jagga and Elaine Brown. Also featured are former Black Panther members Ericka Huggins, Roland & Ronald Freeman, Wayne Pharr, Jeffrey Everett, Long John Washington, Muhammad Mubarak, former L.A.P.D. Chief Bernard Parks, US Organization member Wesley Kabaila, U.C.L.A. Professor Scot Brown, and many others.
PAFF PROGRAMMER AWARD-NARRATIVE
Everyday Black Man (Director: Carmen Madden) – Since closing the door on a violent past, quiet and thoughtful Moses Stanton’s everyday existence is running a small neighborhood fruit and vegetable store. When a young man, Malik, comes in with a business proposition, Moses takes him on as a partner but soon realizes that Malik is selling more than just baked goods. Produced by Dwayne Wiggins, formally of Tony, Toni, Tone. Los Angeles Premiere.
PAFF PROGRAMMER AWARD-DOCUMENTARY
Sweet Crude (Director: Sandy Cioffi) – A scathing look at the politics, the people and the spin surrounding the policies in the Nigerian Delta. Although it is one of the most oil rich regions on Earth and the source of much of oil the products used in the U.S., the people living in the area do not share in the enormous wealth generated by the precious natural resource.
PAFF BOARD OF DIRECTORS AWARD-NARRATIVE
Nothing But the Truth (Director: John Kani) – Film written by John Kani one of South Africa’s top actors. This film is an in depth look at a major issue in South Africa today and indeed in all societies that have been created from a revolutionary struggle. The story revolves around a middle age man who did not participate in the liberation struggle. He opted to sit out the liberation struggle and remain at his post as a junior librarian in apartheid South Africa. On the other hand, his brother joined the liberation struggle and became a hero. The film deals with sibling rivalry cut across with the social political and psychological contradictions that have always played out in any liberation struggle. Los Angeles Premiere.
PAFF BOARD OF DIRECTORS AWARD-DOCUMENTARY
Motherland (Director: Owen ‘Alik Shahadah) – From the director of the internationally acclaimed “500 Years Later” comes this gem of a film. Tracing the past and with an eye to the future, the film examines the current African landscape. Featuring an all-star cast of African Presidents and thinkers including Dr. Maulana Karenga, the father of Kwanzaa, and Dr. Molefi Asante. World Premiere.