Due to the current rise of COVID cases in Los Angeles County, the Pan African Film and Arts Festival (PAFF) has announced that the festival will not take place February 8-21 as scheduled and instead is exploring options to reschedule its 30th annual celebration for later in the year April 19 through May 1 in Los Angeles at its flagship venues the Directors Guild of America, Cinemark Baldwin Hills and XD and Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.
In addition, over the course of the coming weeks, the nation’s largest and most prestigious Black film festival says it will explore other ways to engage the community including hosting a virtual PAFF online experience to celebrate Black History Month.
“The decision to postpone this year’s PAFF did not come easy because we were looking forward to celebrating our 30th anniversary in-person with our community,” said Ayuko Babu, PAFF Executive Director. “But we could not in good conscious put the PAFF community in harm’s way. Our primary concern is always the responsibility we feel towards our staff, artists, audience, and filmmakers who travel to Los Angeles from around the world, and for whom without them, there is no PAFF. We remain committed to the city of Los Angeles, where we’ve hosted the Pan African Film and Arts Festival for 30 years and will do so again when it is safe.”
Said co-founder Danny Glover (The Color Purple, Lethal Weapon), “It’s been over 30 years since we first traveled to FESPACO in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and were inspired to replicate their celebration and promotion of Black films and Black filmmakers here in America. We want to celebrate 30 years of connecting the Pan African Film Festival audience with the broader African diaspora through film and art and have made the decision to postpone the festival until it’s safe to do that in-person.”
Supervisor Holly Mitchell commended the Festival for its leading by example in protecting our community.
“The cultural significance, artistic contributions, and fellowship that PAFF offers can never be stopped,” Mitchell said. “I look forward to PAFF safely commemorating 30 Years in the Second Supervisorial District.”
The 30th annual PAFF will feature over 150 new high-quality Black films from the U.S., Africa, the Caribbean, South America, Europe, the South Pacific, Canada, and increasingly, Asia. In addition, the PAFF will present over 100 fine artists and unique craftspeople from over 40 countries and six continents in a showcase of Pan African cultures.