Pan African Film Fest 2016: Six Must See Films

All films will screen at RAVE Cinemas 15, located within the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in Los Angeles.

Navigating the film festival circuit can be challenging. With over 150 films from several continents on subjects from race, sex to religion, it’s tough to figure out what to watch.

Here are six must see movies showing at this year’s Pan African Festival (PAFF):

1: The UnseenThe Unseen
From Namibian filmmaker and writer Perivi Katjavivi comes this beautifully shot feature film that follow three different characters navigating in Namibia. Starring Antonio David Lyons (“The Book of Negroes”), Senga Brockerhoff and Mathew Ishitile, the film, which is shot in black and white, follows the characters who all have different arcs. Katjavivi creates an absorbing and atmospheric drama, skillfully interweaving their connected stories and the style of the film takes inspiration from German filmmaker Wim Wenders and early Spike Lee movies. It touches on issues of cultural appropriation, South African Apartheid and other themes found in independent Namibia.
Show times: Fri, Feb 12 @ 6:50p; Mon, Feb 15 @ 10:20p 

2: Chapter & VerseDaniel Beatty and Omari Hardwick star in Chapter & Verse
The title may sound poetic, but there’s nothing whimsical about this engaging and poignant drama that follows a former gang member and ex-convict attempting to turn his life around after an eight-year stint in prison. Starring Omari Hardwick (“Power”), Daniel Beatty (“The Tallest Tree in the Forest”), Selenis Leyva (“Orange is the New Black”) and Loretta Devine, it’s an inspiring tear jerker. The movie indeed is about redemption and perseverance and despite its serious tone, director Jamal Joseph manages to sprinkle in a little humor especially with Devine’s character who plays a 60-year-old strong and spirited grandmother.
Show times:  Fri, Feb 12 @ 8:45p; Mon, Feb 15 @ 5:20

 3: Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon ChieftainessA scene from Queen Nanny Legendary Maroon Chieftainess

Those seeking enlightenment and a slice of history will find it in Roy T Anderson’s fascinating documentary on Queen Nanny. A significant and important woman in Jamaican history, she was the spiritual, cultural and 18th century military leader who fiercely fought against British slave owners. Anderson’s extensive research, which includes interviews with numerous history professors, unearths Queen Nanny’s life and accomplishments. Although the documentary primarily follows Nanny’s life, he manages to make it more a historical piece celebrating black women’s many accomplishments and draws comparisons to female activists Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman.
Show times: Sun, Feb 14 @ 12:15p

4: Kpians – The Feast Of Soulskpians - The Feast of Souls
Pinning your hopes on the quality of upcoming horror movies can be a dicey proposition, but there is something intriguing about this new period horror film that looks like a match made in Hell between the supernatural and psychological. With great special effects, and a dramatic score, the film follows a group of friends who end up in a haunted house. It stars Oyekunle Oluwaremi, Ashionye Raccah, Ijeoma Agu, Kiki Omeili and Kelechi Udegbe.
Show times: Wed, Feb 10 @ 3:30p; Sat, Feb 13 @ 11:05a

5: Miles AheadDon Cheadle as Miles Davis
It’s been a long and arduous road to filmmaking for Don Cheadle who directed, co-wrote and co-produced the feature on jazz musician Miles Davis. The biopic aptly explores Davis’ turbulent personal and professional life and Cheadle brilliantly embodies his character complete with the raspy voice, swagger and and cocky personality. The film also stars Emayatzy Corinealdi who plays Davis’ first wife Frances Taylor.
Show times: Sun, Feb 14 @ 8:00p; Sun, Feb 14 @ 8:30p

6: Where Children PlayPictured l-r Macy Gray as aunt Helen and Teyonah Parris as Belle
Director Leila Djansi is no stranger to the Pan African Film Festival having won the 2011 Pan African Festival Choice Prize for “I Sing of A Well.” Her latest heartbreaking film follows a young woman who is forced to nurse her abusive father after her mother’s death and stars Teyonah Parris (“Chi-Raq”) and singer Macy Gray. Sobering, sorrowful, but ultimately uplifting, it’s a brilliant, disturbing storytelling with standout performances.
Show times: Thu, Feb 11 @ 8:45p; Mon, Feb 15 @ 4:45p

Samantha Ofole-Prince can be reached at samantha.ofole@caribpress.com. Follow her on Twitter @samanthaofole

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