A league of black intelligentsia set to headline the PAFF film institute


As part of the 21st Annual Pan African Film Festival, leading thinkers and tastemakers will discuss Slavery and Emancipation in films and the state of Black entertainment at the PAFF Film Institute’s three-day lyceum series, featuring intensive workshops on acting, producing, directing, writing, distribution and marketing.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, and Hollywood found the perfect stories to resonate with critics and the moviegoers, alike. The film “Lincoln” leads the pack in Oscar nominations with 12, and “Django Unchained” is up for five. Two different movies. Two different approaches, yet, slavery serves as the backdrop in both of the narrative features.

The PAFF Institute of the Pan African Film Festival will dissect the topic of slavery in films with a panel discussion, titled “Django Unchained: A Discussion on Slavery and the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation,” with some of the nation’s leading academic thinkers and entertainment tastemakers on race, pop culture and entertainment. The Oscar-nominated producer, Reginald Huldlin of “Django Unchained” will weigh in on the topic in delivering his closing keynote address on “The State of Black Entertainment.”
Here’s a look at the PAFF Film Institute’s headlining events:
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2013 | 3:15 to 5:15 p.m. | Rave Theatres
PANEL DISCUSSION: “Django Unchained: A Discussion on Slavery and the 150th Year Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation”  — will discuss what we’ve learned since the signing of this ground-breaking document that paved the way for African American to fight for freedom. A powerful discussion on slavery, media, entertainment and power. Featured panelists include:

Dr. Gerald Horne – is a prolific author and the John J. and Rebecca Moores Chair of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston.  A historian, attorney and political activist, Dr. Horne has published more than 30 books, including two on Hollywood, including Class Struggle in Hollywood:  Moguls, Mobsters, Stars, Reds, and Trade Unionists, 1930-1950 (University of Texas Press, 2001); and The Final Victim of the Blacklist:  John Howard Lawson, Dean of the Hollywood Ten (University of California Press, 2005) He’s written three books on slavery, including The Deepest South:  The U.S., Brazil and the African Slave Trade (NYU Press, 2005);  The White Pacific:  U.S. Imperialism and Black Slavery in the South Seas after the Civil War, (University of Hawaii Press, 2006); and Negro Comrades of the Crown:  African-Americans and the British Empire Fight the U.S. Before Emancipation (NYU Press, 2012).  He has also written historical accounts of the liberation struggles in both Kenya and Zimbabwe, as well as an account of the relationship of African-Americans to the Mexican Revolution.  

Dr. Melina Abdullah­ — acting chair and associate professor of Pan-African Studies at California State University, Los Angeles, and Dr. Abdullah has authored articles and book chapters on subjects ranging from political coalition building to Hip Hop womanism. What binds her research together is a focus on power allocation and societal transformation. She is currently writing a book manuscript that examines hip-hop and political mobilization.  

Ayuko Babu – the founder and executive director of PAFF, Babu is an international legal, cultural and political consultant, specializing in African affairs. He’s an expert in African cinema, and has been invited to serve as a juror on various international film festivals, including FESPACO, which is the world’s largest Pan African Film Festival held bi-annually in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, West Africa as well as the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA).

Ed Rampell – a film critic and author, Rampell specifically covers progressive films and filmmakers.  He’s the author of several books, including “Progressive Hollywood, A People’s Film History of the United States.” He also co-wrote the article, “Slavery and Emancipation in the Movies” that was published last month in Progressive Magazine. Currently, his cover story on Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone appears in the February issue of Progressive Magazine.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2013 | 7:15 p.m. | Rave Theatres
CLOSING KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Reginald Hudlin, Oscar-nominated filmmaker for Best Picture of  “Django Unchained” – will address the “State of Black Entertainment.” He offers a unique perspective because of his success as a writer, producer, director and executive. Hudlin is a pioneer of the modern black film movement, creating movies like “House Party,” “Boomerang” and “Bebe’s Kids,” which are some of the most profitable and influential films of his generation. He is the executive producer and writer of the “Black Panther,” an animated series and executive producer of  “The Boondocks.” Hudlin also directed the pilot of the hit series, “Everybody Hates Chris,” and was a producer and director of “The Bernie Mac Show.”

Hudlin produced Quentin Tarantino’s latest film “Django Unchained,” starring Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson and Don Johnson. The film has won two Golden Globe awards, and nabbed for five Oscars. Already topping almost $150 million at the box office domestically, it’s on track to be the top grossing Western of all time.
During his more than three year tenure as the first president of entertainment for Black Entertainment Television (BET), Hudlin created 17 of the top 20 rated shows in the history of the network including the award-winning “Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is;” “American Gangster;” and “Sunday Best.”
The PAFF Film Institute is a three-day lyceum series, featuring intensive workshops on acting, producing, directing, writing, distribution and marketing. I

During the day, the film institute will host various workshops and panel discussions, and end the evening with a “Conversation With” keynote discussion by key figures in the industry. Industry leaders, actors, actresses, directors, writers and film critics have been tapped to participate in panel discussions and workshops to engage and entertain festival goers, filmmakers and the public about the daily business of making entertainment profitable. The film institute is presented by Shadow and Act.

The PAFF Film Institute will run February 9-11, 2013 at a designated theatre at the Rave Cinemas in the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, located at 4020 Marlton Ave, between Marlton Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard). For more information about the PAFF Film Institute, please contact Sherri James at 323.646.3987 or visit the website at www.paff.org. Tickets are $10.50.


About Author

Robin Menken

Robin Menken Robin Menken lives in Los Angeles. She was the Artistic Director of the Second City Workshops, taught at UC Berkeley, USC, Barcelona\'s Ateneu and the Esalin Institute. She was Roberto Rossellini\'s assistant, and worked with Yevgeny Vevteshenku, Glauber Rocha and Eugene Ionesco. She sold numerous screenplays and wrote the OBIE winning The FTA SHow (touring with Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland and Ben Vereen.) She was a programming consultant and Special Events co-ordinator for numerous film festivals, including the SF, Rio, Havana and N.Y Film Festivals. Her first news outlet was the historic East Village Other.

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