The 21st annual Pan African Film & Arts Festival opens tonight with Vipaka (its LA premiere) – the Southern, gothic, psychological thriller that stars Forest Whitaker, Anthony Mackie, Sanaa Lathan, Nicole Ari Parker and Mike Epps.
Directed by French/Lebanese Philippe Caland, the film centers on an earnest life-coach and author who is mysteriously abducted by a deranged client, who then uses the author’s spiritual messages of karma – action and reaction (Vipaka) – against him to terrorize him and his family for their past sins.
Whitaker, who stars in the film, also produced it.
This year, PAFF will screen154 films, representing 34 countries – 23 documentaries, 13 short documentaries, 67 narrative features, and 51 narrative shorts. At the close of the festival, which runs from February 7 to 18, prizes for Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short, Best Narrative Short, Best Narrative Feature, and Best First Feature Film, as well as audience favorite awards, will be distributed.
To assist with scheduling, here are a few films that I think you should have on your to-see list. I obviously can’t include every single film, so these aren’t necessarily the only films worth seeing.
1 – Philippe Niang’s much-buzzed about 3-hour epic drama, Toussaint L’Ouverture, that got the black blogosphere uber-excited. It actually screened at PAFF last year, but they’re bringing it back, because, well, a lot of you still haven’t seen it. So, if you’re going to be in LA, here’s another opportunity. The film doesn’t have distribution in the U.S. So you may not get another chance.
Read more: Tambay A. Obenson, IndieWire/ShadowandAct