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Pan African Film Festival in Beverly Hills tells Black stories from around world

The Pan African Film Festival launched Wednesday, featuring more than 200 films that tell Black stories from around the world with a star-studded guest list that includes Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, and Tiffany Haddish.

The festival’s centerpiece film was billed as the real story of the war in Ethiopia that people don’t know about. “For the Love of the Motherland, one of the biggest movies to come out of Ethiopia, tells the story of two lovers who wind up on the war’s opposite ends.

“When I told it was finished and I started the climax of the film, another war broke out so I had to stop and had to rewrite the script”, said the film’s director Theodros Teshome, who experienced the changing war throughout the filmmaking process.

Most of films participating in the festival were set to be shown at the Cinemark Theaters at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.

The festival’s director Oduduwa said for more than 30 years, the festival has been showcasing films about Africa and the African diaspora that people might not see anywhere else.

“The goal of the festival is to showcase the black experience the breadth and depth of global blackness from around the world,” Oduduwa said.

This year’s opening night film was a “Hip Hop Story, a story about a group of artists trying to save hip hop music. The cast includes Cedric the Entertainer and Wayne Brady.

The closing night film will be the western “Outlaw Posse,” directed by and starring Mario Van Peebles and featuring Whoopi Goldberg.

An arts fest, a children fest and a fashion show were planned to be included in the event. Organizers said each part is designed to work together as a whole to fight negative stereotypes and give a more complete picture of the black experience.

“Back in the days, we had Alfre Woodard, we had Ava Duvernay’s first film. We’ve also had Denzel Washington come and speak on a film,” said J’Tasha St. Cyr, special operations director of the festival.

54 countries and 28 languages will be showcased throughout the festival.

“A lot of times when you have a black story its seen as a sprinkle on the top here at pan African film festival. What we’re trying to do is center the black experience,” Oduduwa added.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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