Pan African Film Festival Ends With Common, Xzibit Films

Common and Xzibit attend the 27th Pan African Film & Arts Festival in Los Angeles on Feb. 18, 2019. (Credit: Credit Koi Sojer/SnapNU Photos)

The 27th Pan African Film & Arts Festival concluded Monday in Los Angeles with a hip-hop themed lineup that included a screening of the short film Hats, featuring Common’s music and co-starring Sherri Shepherd and Dante Brown.

The short from Caribbean-American filmmaker Sadé Clacken Joseph tells the story of a young black baseball player facing the challenges of attending a predominately white high school while navigating his gang-infested neighborhood in South Los Angeles.

Common, Shepherd, Brown and Joseph all attended the screening.

Dante Brown (Lead Actor, HATS) Sherri Shepherd (Comedian/Actress/Host) and Common (Lyricist/Actor) (Credit: Sarah Singer)
L-R: Dante Brown, Sherri Shepherd and Common attend the “Hats” screening. (Credit: Sarah Singer)

The star-studded Hats event was followed by a screening Monday night of rapper and actor Alvin ‘Xzibit’ Joiner’s directorial debut, Broken Ground. Los Angeles radio personality Big Boy moderated a Q&A with the team behind the digital series after the screening.

Broken Ground stars James Savage, previously known as “Jayo Felony,” and tells the  story of the once prominent San Diego rapper whose career hit a roadblock when he was arrested and sent to prison. Anthony Michael Hall, Anna Hutchison, Sticky Fingaz and Slink Johnson co-star.

L-R: Life Garland (Film Editor,) Big Boy (Host/Moderator,) James "Jayo Felony" Savage (Lead Actor/Rapper,) Alvin 'Xzibit' Joiner (Co-Director, Co-Producer,) Rashidi Harper (Director, Co-Producer,) and Jesse Ray Diamond (Co-Producer, Co-Director); (Credit Koi Sojer/SnapNU Photos)
L-R: Life Garland (Film Editor,) Big Boy, James “Jayo Felony” Savage, Alvin ‘Xzibit’ Joiner, Rashidi Harper (Director, Co-Producer,) and Jesse Ray Diamond (Co-Producer, Co-Director). (Credit Koi Sojer/SnapNU Photos)

Other highlights of the 12-day festival included the opening night screening of Aretha Franklin gospel music documentary Amazing Grace, and a centerpiece screening of the Nia DaCosta-directed feature Little Woods, starring starring Tessa Thompson and Lily James.

Read More‘Amazing Grace’ Opens Pan African Film Festival to Tears and Applause

On Wednesday, Feb. 20, the festival announced its 2019 winners with the Will and Jada Pinkett Smith produced feature Splinter, from director Storm Saulter, taking the top prize.

Below is the full list of PAFF winners.

Best Narrative Feature
Sprinter (Jamaica) Directed by Storm Saulter

Best First Feature Narrative
Skin in the Game (US) Directed by Adisa

Best Feature Documentary
Mr. Soul! (US) Directed by Melissa Haizlip

Best Short Documentary
120 Years (US) Directed by Matt Nadel and Lukas Cox

Best Short Narrative
Twelfth Round (Australia) Directed by Nir Shelter

PAFF Programmers’ Award-Narrative Short
The Fisherman (Ghana) Directed by Zoey Martinson

PAFF Programmers’ Award – Documentary Short
Sincerely, The Black Kids (US) Directed by Miles Iton

PAFF Programmers’ Award – Documentary Feature
Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes (UK) Directed by Sophie Huber
Boss: The Black Experience in Business (US) Directed by Stanley Nelson

PAFF Programmers’ Award – Narrative Feature
Lara and the Beat (Nigeria) Directed by Tosin Coker

PAFF Directors’ Award – Feature Documentary
Oliver Tambo: Have You Heard from Johannesburg (South Africa/Netherlands/ UK/US)
Directed by Connie Field

PAFF Directors’ Award – Feature Narrative
Nine Nights (UK) Veronica McKenzie

PAFF Directors’ Award – Narrative Short
Bail (UK) Directed by Kwame Lestrade

PAFF Directors’ Award – Documentary Short
Power to Heal (US) Directed by Charles Burnett & Daniel Loewenthal

Audience Award – Short Documentary
Bakosó: Afrobeats de Cuba (US) Directed by Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi

Audience Audience Award – Narrative Short
Pas Honteux (US) Directed by John D. Tucker

Award – Documentary Feature
Ali’s Comeback: The Untold Story (US) Directed by Art L. Jones

Audience Award – Narrative Feature
Rattlesnakes (UK/US) Directed by Julius Amedume