Pan African Film Festival | Opening Night Film, 'Hero,' Helmed by Female Director Frances-Anne Solomon | Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The festival will be held from February 11 - 23, 2020 at the Cinemark 15 Theatres, located at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in Los Angeles.
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Press release: The 28th annual Pan African Film and Arts Festival (PAFF) will open with the film “HERO: Inspired by the Extraordinary Revolutionary Life and Times of Diplomat and Judge Ulric Cross,” directed by Caribbean filmmaker Frances-Anne Solomon. The festival will kick off festivities with a star-studded Opening Night Gala at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 at the Directors Guild of America (DGA), located at 7920 W. Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. This year’s theme is “20/20 Vision,” kicking off the decade with a fresh lens and solidifying its commitment to tell diverse stories with a global, luminous view.

“HERO” is inspired by the extraordinary revolutionary life and times of Trinidad and Tobago diplomat and Judge Ulric Cross, the most decorated West Indian of World War II. He was a member of the highly-decorated group of Caribbean pilots who flew combat missions for the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force (RAF) in World War II. This Caribbean group was the equivalent of the Tuskegee Airmen - that is, African American military pilots who flew combat missions for the U.S. Air Force in World War II. After his service, Cross went on to play an active and important role in the Pan African Movement, which led to the creation of the 28 modern Caribbean and 54 modern African nations. This Pan African Movement influenced U.S. domestic policy towards African Americans and inspired the Civil Rights movement. It also inspired Black Power movements in the Americas as well as the rise of Black consciousness that swept around the world and resonates to this day.

Helmed by a female director, Solomon leads a pack of women screening films at PAFF in record numbers. "As a woman of color in this ferocious industry, I have had to work relentlessly to circumvent the barriers that stood in my way,” said Solomon. “As a proud new member of the Academy, I believe our time has come, and the world now will reap the magic that we have sown over the past years. The 2020s will be amazing for all our voices."

“HERO” also boasts an all-star international cast that includes Trinidad and Tobago’s Nicolai Salcedo, in the lead role of Ulric Cross, along with UK stars Joseph Marcell (“Fresh Prince of Bel Air”), Fraser James (“Resident Evil”), Pippa Nixon (“John Carter”), Canada’s Peter Williams (“Stargate SG1”), and Ghanaian superstars John Dumelo, Adjetey Anang and Prince David Oseia.

"We are very excited to screen “Hero” and share the triumphs and victories of Judge Ulric Cross and his Pan African brothers, which led to the creation of our modern world. It is truly an honor for me personally, as well as the Pan African Film Festival, to present and create awareness about this great, important, enriching and entertaining story," said Ayuko Babu, executive director of PAFF. The opening night festivities will feature a Trinidad and Tobago live steel drum band and Caribbean cuisine!

PAFF is the largest Black film festival in the United States and the largest Black History Month cultural event in the nation with approximately 150 Black films and 100 fine artists from around the world. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has designated PAFF as an official qualifying film festival for live action and animation short films. The festival will be held from February 11 - 23, 2020 at the Cinemark 15 Theatres, located at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in Los Angeles. (The theatre is situated on the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Crenshaw Boulevard.)

Please note: With the exception of the opening night gala, all PAFF screenings, panels as well as the fine art show will take place at the Cinemark 15 Theatres,  and the adjacent Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in Los Angeles.

The festival has cemented its role as a hub for breakthrough and award-winning Black films and filmmakers from around the world. PAFF is dedicated to the cinematic promotion and cultural exploration of peoples of African descent. It is PAFF’s goal to present and showcase the broad spectrum of Black creative works, particularly those that reinforce positive images and help destroy negative stereotypes. PAFF believes film and art can lead to better understanding and foster communication between peoples of diverse cultures, races, ethnicities, and lifestyles in an entertaining way.

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.  This year, PAFF has selected films, representing 40 countries in 26 different languages.

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