Gavin Hood

Celebrating 25 years, the Pan African Film Festival honors Alfre Woodard for telling and carrying 'our stories, our spirit'

Celebrating 25 years, the Pan African Film Festival honors Alfre Woodard for telling and carrying 'our stories, our spirit'

From the late 1980s to the early ’90s, when people thought of blackness in Los Angeles, most thought of either the rise of N.W.A’s West Coast style of rap or the fallout from the LAPD’s beating of Rodney King. As actress Alfre Woodard put it, “people didn’t think there was a mindset here of an African artistic consciousness, or a black or African American artistic consciousness.” Los Angeles was no Brooklyn or Harlem.

Then came Ayuko Babu and the Pan African Film Festival in 1992. Descending on West Hollywood’s Sunset 5 theater, everyone was in full bloom African regalia, Woodard recalled — geles or head ties; dashikis; kaftans. It was Leimert...

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