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Mo'Nique, Kevin Hart featured in Pan African Film Fest

By Alicia Banks

3:47 PM PST, January 23, 2014

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The Pan African Film Festival returns for its 22nd year next month (Feb. 6-17), showcasing 172 films — documentaries, features, shorts and webseries — during its nearly two-week stint at the Rave Cinemas Baldwin Hills theater in Los Angeles.  Highlights of this year's fest include:

— Jahmil X.T. Qubeka's "Of Good Report" is the festival's opening-night premiere. The South African film follows a teacher named Parker (Mothusi Magano) whose grim obsession with the young Nolitha (Petronella Tshum) a student at his school. The film made headlines last year when it was briefly banned at the Durban International Film Festival quickly because of its sexual content. 

— Mo'Nique returns to the big screen after her 2009 performance as the abusive mother, Mary, in "Precious," which earned her a supporting actress Oscar. She'll star in Patrick Ian-Polk's film "Blackbird." The coming-of-age story is about a choir boy coming to terms with his sexuality after his parents, Claire and Lance Rousseau (Mo'Nique and Isaiah Washington), split and his sister disappears from a small Mississippi town. The film, slated for theaters Feb. 16, is based on the book of the same name written by Larry Duplechan. 

— And comedian Kevin Hart, who already has a hit in 2014 with the action comedy "Ride Along," co-stars in the festival's centerpiece presentation on Feb. 11, "About Last Night." The film, which will be released on Valentine's Day, also stars Regina Hall, Michael Ealy and Joy Bryant.  

The festival will also honor Tony-nominated and Emmy award-winning actor Charles Dutton ("Oz," "The Practice" and "Without a Trace") with its Lifetime Achievement Award, co-sponsored by the African-American Film Critics Association Jan. 31. 

Information about the festival can be found at www.paff.org or by calling (310) 337-4737. 

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Twitter: @AliciaDotBanks

alicia.banks@latimes.com

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