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LA Pan African Film & Art Fest line up, largest ever

The 16th ANNUAL PAN AFRICAN FILM & ARTS FESTIVAL (PAFF) today announced the line-up of films selected from a record number of submissions for their 2008 film competition. Known for showcasing new films first and recognized as America's premiere black film festival, past PAFF features have included box office and award-winning hits: Ray, Lackawanna Blues, Redemption, Crazy As Hell, Kingdom Come, The Brothers, Gridlock'd, Days of Glory, and the 2006 Academy Award® winner for Best Foreign Film, Tsotsi. The film festival will take place in Los AngelesFebruary 7-18, 2008 and is expected to draw over 40,000 attendees during its twelve-day run. The complete list of films is available at www.PAFF.org.
For the 2008 Pan African Film and Arts Festival, 162 films were selected including 25 world premieres and 10 U.S. premieres representing 31 countries with 9 first-time filmmakers, 49 feature-length films, 59 documentaries, and 54 international films. These films were selected from over 2,500 submissions.
At the 2008 Festival, Jury Prizes will be awarded in the following categories: Best Documentary, Best Short Documentary, Best Narrative Short, Best Feature, and Best Director-First Feature. New for the 2008 PAFF is the addition of The Oscar Micheaux Award, named after the first African-American filmmaker. In addition to the Jury Prizes, Audience Favorite Awards will be voted on in the following categories: Best Feature, Best Documentary, and Best Short Narrative. The PAFF Vision Award will be given to the film that the Festival has chosen that best exemplifies its mission of reinforcing positive images and helping to destroy negative stereotypes.
With an overall festival attendance of 200,000, the PAFF attracts a diverse audience of over 40,000 people to its films at the AMC Magic Johnson Crenshaw 15 Theaters. Each year the PAFF presents quality films from the United States, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, the South Pacific and Canada, all showcasing the diversity and complexity of people of African descent. PAFF also presents one of America's largest fine art shows featuring prominent and emerging Black artists and fine craftspeople held at the BaldwinHillsCrenshawPlaza. Other signature PAFF events include over a dozen industry panels and workshops, the PAFF StudentFest®, ChildrensFest®, SpokenWord Fest®, Senior Connections®, and Comedy Night. For more information, please visit www.PAFF.org or call (323) 295-1706.
BEST DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
The films screening in the Best Documentary Competition are:
AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL (US/Director: Darryl Roberts) A socially probing documentary which explores the question "Does America have an unhealthy obsession with beauty?" Filmmaker Darryl Roberts journeys into the psyche of celebrities like Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson, athletes like Reggie Theus, industry professionals such as Jill Ishkanian from "US Weekly," Ted Casablanca from the "E! Channel" and the American citizenry to determine the roots of this superficial obsession.
Premiere
BROTHERS IN ARMS (South Africa/Director: Jack Lewis) - The fasinating story of Ronald Herboldt, an ordinary man whose sense of justice and decency led to his making his own unique contribution to Cuba and the liberation of Southern Africa. In December 1958, during the Cuban Revolution, Ronald was a twenty-one-year-old from Salt River, Cape Town working on a South African cargo ship, the Constantia, that had docked in Cuba to load sugar. When members of Fidel Castro's Rebel Army boarded the ship to check for arms and witnessed the mistreatment of the non-whites on board, they encouraged Ronald to jump ship. He did so and joined the rebels fighting for the liberation of Cuba from the Batista dictatorship. After the events of the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban missile crisis, Ronald was effectively in exile from South Africa. He married and raised a family in Cuba, but throughout his exile he never lost his love for Cape Town and his South African family or his desire to return home to a liberated South Africa.
US Premiere
FATHERS OF THE SPORT (US/Director: Xavier Mitchell) - Fathers of the Sport is a feature documentary which uncovers the colorful and compelling history of legendary playground basketball. It chronicles the history and lives of the many "legends" and unsung heroes who dominated playground basketball courts of New York, Philadelphia, DC, Los Angeles, Chicago and more in the early years and consequently turned it into the multi-billion dollar spectator sport it is today.
Premiere
IRON LADIES OF LIBERIA (US/Director: Daniel Junge) - After 14 years of a brutal civil war and a government riddled with corruption, Liberia was a nation ready for change. In January 2006, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was inaugurated President, immediately earning a place in history as the first woman elected president of an African nation. In this unique look behind the scenes, we watch the new president during the first year of her presidency, as she populates her cabinet with strong women, including her Ministers of Finance, Justice and Commerce as well as the Chief of Police. Together, these "iron ladies" tackle a four billion dollar foreign debt, indolent bureaucracy, black markets and the omnipresent threat of violent riots. Expertly straddling the dual public identities of "Old Ma", and head of state, President Sirleaf teaches generations of Liberians trained to rule and be ruled by violence and fear that the expression "compassion is revolutionary" is far more than a slogan. The stakes are high, and the outcome uncertain, but the commitment of the Iron Ladies will not falter. A joyous, inspirational testimony of the political power of women's leadership and diplomacy.
Los Angeles Premiere
MALCOLM'S ECHO: THE LEGACY OF MALCOLM X (UK/Director: Dami Akinnusi) - The words and philosophy of Malcolm X are related to today's social, cultural and political issues. Contains vintage footage of Malcolm, with commentary by such notibles as Dr. John Henrik Clarke and Dr. Yosef Ben-Jochannan (Dr. Ben).
World Premiere
RETURN TO GORÉE (Senegal/Switzerland/Luxembourg/Director: Pierre-Yves Borgeaud) - A very special musical road movie of African singer Youssou N'Dour's epic journey following the trail left by enslaved Africans and the jazz music they invented. Youssou N'Dour's challenge is to bring back to Africa a jazz repertoire and to sing those tunes in Gorée, the island that symbolizes th slave trade and stands to commemorate its victims. Guided in his mission by the blind pianist Moncel Genoud, Youssou N'Dour travels across the United States of America and Europe. Accompanied by some of the world's most exceptional musicians, they meet peoples and create through concerts, encounters and debates, music which transcends cultural division. From Atlanta to New Orleans, from New York to Bordeaux and Luxemburg, the songs are immersed in jazz and gospel. Features musician and writer Imamu Amiri Baraka and drummer Idris Muhammad, among others.
Premiere
SKID ROW (US/Director: Niva Dorell, Marshall Tyler & Ross Clarke) - Skid Row is a 50 square block area in downtown Los Angeles where an average of 100,000 homeless and transient people live on any given night. Pras Michel -- one-third of the successful hip-hop group The Fugees -- lives on the streets of Skid Row for 9 straight days and nights as a homeless person. The entire time he and the filmmakers are undercover, using surveillance cameras in an area where cameras present a threat to anonymity. His goal: to find out what it really means to be homeless and to put a human face on an issue that has plagued our country for generations. His journey is riddled with hunger, exposure to the elements, criminals, drugs and danger. Pras learns not only to fend for himself, but discovers the dangerous, very human and at times humorous underbelly of Los Angeles.
Premiere
THIS IS THE LIFE (US/Director: Ava DuVernay) - In 1989, a collective of young artists gathered weekly at a small health food store in LA called "The Good Life." Their mandate? To explore and expand the musical boundaries of hip hop. The little known story of a group of teenagers, who revolutionized hip hop by innovating the very rhyme patterns, melodic concepts and lyrical styles used by many of today's biggest rap stars. While their innovations have yielded billions of dollars for the recording industry, the Good Life emcees have toiled in relative obscurity in the United States. But much like their jazz heroes of a bygone era, these street poets have garnered a rabid and musically sophisticated fan base abroad, with a cult-like following in Germany, Australia, France, England and Japan. A feature-length documentary, directed by former Good Life emcee Ava DuVernay, chronicles the rise and fall of an unusual family of artists, while examining their obstacles to commercial success. They all took different paths, but remain connected by the music they made, the alternative hip hop movement they developed, and their worldwide influence on the art form.
Premiere

BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
The films screening in the Best Short Documentary Competition are:

HIP-HOP: BEYOND BEATS AND RHYMES (US/Director: Byron Hurt) - A riveting documentary that examines representations of gender roles in hip-hop and rap music. Conceived as a "loving critique" from a self-proclaimed "Hip-Hop Head," it tackles issues of masculinity, sexism, violence and homophobia in today's hip-hop culture. Mos Def, Fat Joe, Chuck D, Jadakiss, Busta Rhymes and hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons are interviewed; along with commentary from Michael Eric Dyson, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Kevin Powell, and Sarah Jones. The complex intersection of culture, commerce and gender are revealed through on-the-street interviews with aspiring rappers and fans at hip-hop events throughout the country. The film provides thoughtful dialogue from intelligent, divergent voices of rap artists, industry executives, rap fans and social critics from inside and outside the hip-hop generation.
Premiere
SHORT RADIOGRAPHY OF HIP HOP IN CUBA (Cuba/Director: Ricardo Bacallao) - Despite significant social change in Cuba, Blacks continue to be ostracized and subjugated by a colonial outlook. In 1995, a group of creative young people founded the Rap Festival; since then, the government has taken control of the Hip Hop movement, undermining its intentions. This is the story of struggle within a struggle waged by Black youths trying to maintain their voice and control the product of their culture and creativity.
Premiere

THOMAS SANKARA: THE UPRIGHT MAN (France/Director: Robin Shuffield) - As Africa looks desperately for leaders of integrity and vision, the life and ideals of the late Thomas Sankara seem more and more relevant and exemplary with the passage of time. Though largely forgotten in the United Satates, Sankara is still venerated in Africa as a legendary martyr like Patrice Lumumba or Amilcar Cabral. With a gun in one hand and Karl Marx's works in the other, Sankara became president at the age of 34 and served from 1983 to 1987. He immediately set out to shake the foundations of the country that he renamed from the French colonial Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, "Land of Upright Men."
Premiere
VICTIMS OF OUR RICHES (VICTIMES DE NOS RICHESSES) (Mali/France/Director: Kal Touré) - The economic and political background of the criminalization of undocumented African workers in Europe is the subject of this eye-opening indictment of the issues of illegal immigration exposed by the testimonies of Africans who attempted to immigrate to Europe to find work. Reminiscent of slavery and strikingly similar to descriptions by illegal Mexican immigrants of the treachery of their journeys to the U.S., African men and women bear witness to tragic events and the cruel treatment they suffer during their attempts to cross into Europe through Spain via Morocco. Though many die or suffer devastating injury during their desperate journey, the economic conditions of home leave them with no alternative. As revealed by those left behind, the economic survival of family and community is often dependent on immigrants reaching Europe and finding employment so they can send money home. Adding insult to injury, we learn that the economic conditions giving rise to this mass exodus of the young and able-bodied from Africa are economic policies forced on Africa by Europeans to improve European economic conditions. Finally the atmosphere of fear increased by the possibility of being caught and deported and restarting the horrendous journey anew, discourages illegal workers from complaining of inhuman working conditions and drives down wages. Although focused on the immigration issues between Africa and Europe, it is not a far jump to transfer these same human rights issues on immigration issues between the United States and its southern neighbors.
US Premiere
WALKING TALL: THE LIFE AND WIFE OF WALT WALKER (US/Director: Gail Parker & Isidra Person-Lynn) - The late artist Walt Walker and his wife Jane pioneered the business of African American art in the Los Angeles area by being the first to own an art gallery. They frequently exhibited at VeniceBeach, Ray's Kitchen and the Pan African Film & Arts Festival. Walker received a PAFF Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998. Interviewees include PAFF Executive Director Ayuko Babu, Charles Bibbs, Russell Walker and Dee Walker.
Los Angeles Premiere
WITH OR WITHOUT FIDEL (Cuba/Director: Ishmahil Blagrove Jr) - A rare glimpse into the heart of Cuban society. Filmed during the most precarious period in the island's history, it reveals the aspirations and vulnerabilities of a Revolution on the brink of change. Featuring the island's leading politicians, intellectuals and dissidents who debate the future directions of their nation, prompting the question: Will the Revolution survive after Castro?
US Premiere

BEST NARRATIVE SHORT COMPETITION
The films screening in the Best Narrative Short Competition are:

AKIRA'S HIP HOP SHOP (US/Director: Joseph Doughrity) - A romantic comedy/drama about an expatriate Japanese hip hop DJ. When a young Black culinary arts student walks into his shop, his life is changed forever. Does love conquer all? Or will prejudice and politics drive the couple apart?
Los Angeles Premiere
BOLD AS LOVE (US/Director: Joshua Gee Alafia) - Mbube is a South African Saxophone player with a heroin addiction. Thandeka is his childhood friend working in new york as an au pair. A funeral brings Thandeka back to South Africa and she returns to new york with an herbal potion to help Mbube quit heroin. After fighting the advances of her employer, she loses her living situation and moves in with Mbube. Bold As Love is a film about the powers of creation and destruction, and the fine line that separates the two. It's about facing the love that is the core of our being. Starring Thandiwe Maphumulo, Ezra Mabengeza, Roger Guenveur Smith, Magaly Colimon, Masauko, Vincent Burwell, Lady Blue, Miralva Melo Swaby, Lady Blue and Duke Mseleku.
Premiere
DRAWING ANGEL (US/Director: Rosalyn Coleman Williams) - Lonely and new to the city, Samantha meets Levi, a 9-year-old boy displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Starring Vanessa Williams.
Los Angeles Premiere
PARIAH (US/Director: Dee Rees) - A Bronx lesbian teenager juggles multiple identities to avoid rejection from friends and family but pressure from home, school, and within corrodes the line between her dual personas with explosive consequences.
Premiere
SPIN (US/Director: Tamika Lamison) - On the eve of a big press conference with the nation's top critics, premiere book publicist Alex Burke and her lover James Hughes, a former National Fiction Award winner whose last three novels bombed, joyously celebrate that she hooked the New York Times and he negotiated the printing of 100,000 more copies of the book. Yet a horrible betrayal deals a deathly blow to their relationship. What follows is a series of events that make us question the reality of artistic integrity--do we ever really know the truth behind who wrote a famous novel, movie, song? In the end, Alex learns that every lie has a consequence. Even her own.
Premiere
THE KNIFE GRINDER'S TALE (US/Kenya/Director: R. L. Hooker) - Based on the short story by award-winning Kenyan author Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor. Ogwang, a countryside knife grinder, has lost his son to an angry city mob. Not knowing the place his son lost his life, Ogwang sets out on a journey to bridge the distance between love and death in the face of violence.
Premiere
URBAN GENESIS (US/Director: Larry Bryant) - After serving 20 years in prison, Clifford comes home to live with his daughter in hopes of making up for lost time. But the road to redemption will be harder than he thinks when he realizes that he has to deal with his daughter's live-in boyfriend who is the mirror image of Clifford as a young man.
World Premiere
WE ARE ALL RWANDANS (Rwanda/UK/Director: Debs Gardner-Paterson) - NyangeSchool, 18th March 1997: a day in the life of six normal students who had to make the decision of their lives. Recreated in dramatic form, this is the true story of a rebel attack in post-genocide Rwanda, filmed in the school and village where the real events took place.
Los Angeles Premiere

BEST FEATURE COMPETITION
The films screening in the Best Feature Competition are:

EZRA (Nigeria/France/Austria/Director: Newton I. Aduaka) - Told in a non-linear style, the story centers around a Truth and Reconcilliation Commission during which the story of Ezra's life as a child soldier is retold in flashbacks from both his point of view and that of his sister. Moving back and forth from the past to the present, the audience steps into the shoes of the tribunal judges. At the time of his introduction, now 16-year old Ezra is a somewhat hardened ex-soldier. He is angry and volatile with no memories of or remorse for the atrocities he committed during the civil war. He sees himself as a soldier and after all, a soldier's job includes killing people. He also rationalizes his murderous behavior as part of the struggle waged against the corruption and injustices of the repressive government.
Premiere
EL BENNY (Cuba/Director: Jorge Luis Sánchez) - A fictionalized version of the life of great Cuban musical genius, singer and bandleader Benny Moré. Having consolidated his career in Mexico upon his return to Cuba, Benny takes the island by storm, making the audiences go wild with his unique performances. But Benny allows his weakness for alcohol and women to get the best of him and becomes increasingly unstable as a result of his excesses. Unable to read or write music, he composed the music he heard in his head and his heart. With heroic effort he eventually re-groups and is able to realize his dream of forming a Big Band and achieving great critical and popular success. Failing to heed both medical and spiritual advise, Benny continues to abuse alcohol and live a fast life resulting in him being hospitalized due to liver problems. He becomes aged and loses much of his fire. Yet against all odds, and with the help of Aida, the great love of his life, who makes sure he doesn't drinks a drop of rum and encourages him to take care of his health, he recovers his strength, vigor and confidence. He returns to perform at Cuba's great nightclubs to huge crowds of fans. But once again, overly confident of his newfound health and renewed success, he begins to drink and collapses onstage.
Premiere
NAMIBIA: THE STRUGGLE FOR LIBERATION (Namibia/US/Director: Charles Burnett) - NAMIBIA: THE STRUGGLE FOR LIBERATION depicts the long struggle waged by the people of Namibia for their independence that was ultimately won with the help of Cuban military volunteers fighting in Angola. The 1987 battle of Cuito Cuanavale, in which the South African army was decisively defeated, turned the tide in the liberation struggle for all of Southern Africa. This was one of the key factors that led to Namibian Independence and the election of Sam Nujoma as Namibia 's first President and forced the white supremacist South African government to free President Nelson Mandela and to negotiate with the African National Congress.
Premiere
POOR BOY'S GAME (Canada/Director: Clément Virgo) - Donnie Rose went to prison for beating a young man so brutally it left him handicapped for life. Nine years later, Donnie is out. He's a different man with only one place to go: back home to the same violent and racist neighborhood that created him. At the other end of town, the black community still wants revenge. The instrument of justice will be Ossie Paris, a devastatingly talented boxer who challenges Donnie to a match; a match Donnie's family and peers won't let him refuse. George Carvery has waited nine years to avenge his son's fate at the hands of Donnie. When finally they meet face to face, however, both realize they share a similar desire to overcome the past. As the barely contained racism boils to the surface, George and Donnie form a seemingly unlikely alliance. Their partnership makes them outcasts from both tribes, who will only be satisfied by blood in the ring. The two men get to know each other in the eye of a storm, knowing full well that their futures will be decided with the bell of the first round. Stars, Danny Glover, Rossif Sutherland, Tonya Lee Williams and Flex Alexander.
Premiere
SOUNDS OF SAND (SI LE VENT SOULEVE LES SABLES) (Belgium/Director: Marion Hänsel) - On the one hand, there's the desert eating away at the land. The endless dry season, the lack of water. On the other, there's the threat of war. The village well has run dry. The livestock is dying. Trusting their instinct, most of the villagers leave and head south. Rahne, the only literate villager, decides to head east with his three children and Mouna, his wife. A few sheep, some goats and a camel are their only wealth. Rahne and his family travel across hostile lands under a lethal sun, walking endlessly onwards and frequently crossing paths with death. Beautifully photographed and masterfully developed, a human face is placed on the hardships of displacement caused by the drought and global warming in this tale of exodus, quest, hope and fatality.
Premiere
THE WORLD UNSEEN (South Africa/Director: Shamim Sarif) - In 1950s South Africa apartheid is just beginning. Free-spirited Amina has broken all the rules of her own conventional Indian community, and the new apartheid-led government, by running a café with Jacob, her "colored" business partner. When she meets Miriam, a young traditional wife and mother, their unexpected attraction pushes Miriam to question the rules that bind her. When Amina helps Miriam's sister-in-law hide from the police, a chain of events is set in motion that changes both women forever. An engaging and beautifully executed story of self-expression, breaking of the chains of convention, individual freedom and most of all about the desire for self-fulfillment contrasted against a background of growing government repression.
West Coast Premiere

BEST DIRECTOR-FIRST FEATURE COMPETITION
The films screening in the Best Director-First Feature Competition are:

DEADMEAT (UK/Director: Q) - After his release from prison, Clarkie is told by a friend that his brother and his defense lawyer set him up. It is believable because the brother has just bought a gorgeous new house together. But why? When his brother is found dead under mysterious circumstances, the plot thickens. The police labels it a suicide but Clarkie knows better and sets out on a desperate quest to solve his brother's murder and find out why he was framed. A classic British "whodunit" with more twists and turns than a medieval English road. Enjoy the ride!
Premiere

DESIRES OF THE HEART (DESIRS DU COUER) (Togo/Director: Obanikoua Messa) - John and Carole are high school sweethearts. But Carole has been seduced by a wealthy older man. Little does she know that her relationship with her new suitor will alter both her and John's life forever. A contemporary African story of love and betrayal with near tragic results.
Los Angeles Premiere
DOING THE L.A. THING (US/Director: Jamie Burton-Oare) - Five New York-based actors venture to pilot season in Los Angeles at the urging of their acting coach, only to discover that they are the subject of his film.
Premiere
GRAPES ON A VINE (US/Director: Al Robbins) - Kyle is the art director at the High Museum in Atlanta and wants two things: to have a male child and an original Van Gogh oil painting valued at $275,000. He cannot afford the painting and his wife is unable to conceive. He plans a weekend getaway to the mountains with another couple where he hires two hitmen to kill his wife and make it look like a racially motivated murder.
World Premiere
SOUTH OF PICO (US/Director: Ernst Gossner) - The day starts off like any other for five ordinary people. As they go about their day, there are ups and downs. They bask in the joy of hope and the disappointment of lost possibilities. As they go about the day's activities, each struggles to make meaningful human connection. They have no way of knowing that their lives will converge and never be the same as a result in a horrific tragedy that causes their lives to spiral out of control on an ordinary street, in an ordinary block, south of Pico. Stars Gina Torres, Kip Pardue, Paul Hipp, Henry Simmons and Jimmy Bennett.
Premiere
THE RISE AND FALL OF MISS THANG (US/Director: Stacie Hawkins) - Over the years, Dee Miller has come to be known as Miss Thang, the hottest dancer in Chicago's underground house music scene. A former tap dance prodigy, Dee now spends her time ruling the dance floor at the local nightclub. Living with her mother, Dee uses the money she earns working part-time in her mother's home hair salon to finance her lifestyle. She refuses to grow up-until the day she learns of her mother's dark secret-a gambling habit that has thrown the family into financial ruin and threatens to divide them forever. In the midst of turmoil, Dee's only comfort is a new friend who reintroduces her to the world of tap-an art form that has always been close to her heart.
Premiere
TRUTH HALL (US/Director: Jade Jenise Dixon) - A dramedy that examines the bonds of friendship between five women who were inseparable in college. Many years after graduation, life has dealt each a different hand. Reuniting for their best friend's wedding, initially only four of the five are able to excuse themselves from the hustle and bustle of their daily lives to join their best friend for her special day. But just when they begin to settle in, a simple knock at the door alters the course of the entire weekend. At the door: friend number five. Although most are happy about her arrival, her presence unsettles one in the group and for good reason. She harbors a shocking secret about the two people who invited them there in the first place: the bride and groom. But to her surprise, one of her friends also harbors a secret about her. Once all is revealed, the accusations cause the women to question their faith, their friendship, their loyalty and their lives.
World Premiere
THE DISCIPLE (US/UK/Director: Rodney Charles) - Seemingly free-spirited trans-cultural friends, Pete, an American mid-westerner, Jud, a Black European, and Lisa, a first generation Polish American, share a house in Los Angeles. Together with their South African friend Mary, the group is coaxed into temporarily escaping the complex lies they live when Michael, Jud's ex-military cousin, comes to visit from London. As the deadly nature of Michael's visit begins to emerge and secrets are revealed the carefree façade is peeled away and the friends are soon forced to re-evaluate their lives. Are they really free or are they slaves to dogmatic forces that they are too afraid to confront?
World Premiere
THE OSCAR MICHEAUX AWARD COMPETITION
Named after Oscar Micheaux, the first African-American filmmaker, the films screening in the Oscar Micheaux Award Competition are:

ALL ABOUT US (US/Director: Christine Swanson) - Unable to secure a distribution deal for their latest film, Ed and Stacey Brown are forced to reconsider their cinematic dreams. Despite having a finished product in the can--accompanied by critical praise and a slew of festival circuit awards-the filmmaking couple encounters a Hollywood establishment that is unwilling to budge and unresponsive to their attempts, its barriers set in place to keep the independent Black filmmakers from making any noise. With their cinematic careers riding on her screenplay, the couple sets out for Clarksdale, Mississippi in search of Morgan Freeman and their uncertain future. Stars Boris Kodjoe, Ryan Michelle Bathé, Luke Swanson, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Raven Goodwin, the legendary Ruby Dee and a cameo by Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman.
Premiere
COVER (US/Narr/Director: Bill Duke) - When Ryan Chambers is murdered on New Year's Eve, the prime suspect is Valerie Maas, a church-going homemaker whose life unravels when she discovers that her husband of 15 years has been leading a double life. Her strength of character and faith keeps the family alive as a deadly disease threatens to destroy all that they have known. Stars Aunjanue Ellis, Razaaq Adoti, Vivica A. Fox, Richard Gant, Louis Gossett, Jr., Leon, Paula Jai Parker, Roger Guenveur Smith, Patti LaBelle and Obba Babatunde.
Premiere
KINGS OF THE EVENING (US/Director: Andrew P. Jones) - Homer Hobbs, after serving two years in jail, returns home to a bleak town caught in the depths of the Great Depression - no jobs, no prospects and no hope. He is thrown together with four strangers, each struggling to survive and dig their way out of poverty: Benny, the street hustler eager to begin life anew in the sunshine of Florida; Clarence, a nobody who aches to be somebody; Gracie, the despairing owner of a boarding house who lives with a secret; and, Lucy, whose past has caught up with her and threatens the lives of those she has come to love. Starring Lynn Whitfield, Glynn Turman, Tyson Beckford, Bruce McGill, James Russo, Reginald T. Dorsey, Justin Malloy and Linara Washington.
Premiere

OF BOYS AND MEN (US/Director: Carl Seaton) - Family man, Holden Cole loses his wife in a fatal accident, and with the help of his younger sister, has to lead his three children on a journey of healing and self-discovery, while battling his own demons of pain and regret. The story is seen through the eyes of the youngest son, who discovers through the loss of his mother what it means to be a man. A family drama set on the West side of Chicago, produced by and stars Robert Townsend (The Five Heartbeats, Meteor Man), Angela Bassett (What's Love Got To Do With It), Victoria Rowell (CBS's The Young and the Restless) and newcomer Dante Boens.
World Premiere
SARBANE'S OXLEY: MISTRESSES, MERGERS & MAYHEM! (US/Director: Ramcess Jean-Louis) - A powerful, genre-bending tour-de-force set against the backdrop of today's top business headlines highlights the lives affected by the acquisition of a financial technology startup on Wall Street. Robert is an ambitious attorney who is on top of the world. He is the star at his office, on the fast track and engaged to his soul mate, the captivating Christian. Life could not be better, until Robert's company is abruptly acquired by a larger firm. What follows is a sordid web of lies, greed and betrayal that threatens to destroy Robert's professional life and the world around him. While grappling with his inner conscience and the invisible forces of corruption surrounding him, Robert also has to deal with the equally challenging and deceptive forces taking hold in his sordid love life.
Premiere
SOMETHING IS KILLING TATE (US/Director: Leon Lozano) - Tate Bradley, a 25-year-old African American man, attempts to commit suicide. Surviving the ordeal, he isolates himself in his apartment--hiding from the world. The significant players in his troubled life come to check on him. With each visit, Tate is forced to face his demons. A psychological study of the strangulation and alienation of the scars left by the tragedy of child abuse and family disintergration. It bears an impact that will remain with the viewer for some time. But this is not a story of

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