T0003_1Largest U.S. Black History Month Event Set for February 9-20

South Africa’s official nomination for the 78th Annual Academy Awards® in the foreign language film category, TSOTSI, has been selected as the opening night film for the 14th Annual Pan African Film and Arts Festival.  The star-studded event will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 9th at the Directors Guild of America with principal cast and filmmakers in attendance.  The evening will be hosted by acclaimed filmmaker and actor Forest Whitaker.  PAFF’s annual gala after party will follow the screening and be held at the Directors Guild of America which is located at 7920 Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.  Tickets are $150.  For sales and more information, please call (323) 295-1706 or visit www.paff.org.  The PAFF Opening Night Gala is sponsored by the South African Consul General of Los Angeles, South African Airways, Miramax Films, and the Directors Guild of America.

“TSOTSI is the perfect film to open this year’s Pan African Film Festival.  TSOTSI captures the complexity of youth life in South Africa and the familiar theme of redemption,” explained festival founder Ayuko Babu.  “The soundtrack driven by dance hall Kwaito music is outstanding and a must have for every music lovers collection.” 

Set amidst the sprawling Johannesburg township of Soweto – where survival is the primary objective – TSOTSI traces six days in the life of a ruthless young man who ends up caring for a baby accidentally kidnapped during a car-jacking.

TSOTSI is a gritty and moving portrait of an angry youth living in a state of extreme urban deprivation. His world pumps with the raw energy of "Kwaito music" – the modern beat of the ghetto that reflects his troubled state of mind.

The film is a psychological thriller in which the protagonist is compelled to confront his own brutal nature and face the consequences of his actions. It puts a human face on both the victims and the perpetrators of violent crime and is ultimately a story of hope and a triumph of love over rage.
"Tsotsi" literally means "brute" in the street language of South Africa’s townships and ghettos. "Kwaito" is South African  hip hop.

TSOTSI has been nominated for a Golden Globe® in the category of Best Foreign Language Film and has won the following awards: THE STANDARD LIFE AUDIENCE AWARD at the 2005 Edinburgh International Film Festival, MICHAEL POWELL AWARD FOR BEST BRITISH FEATURE at the 2005 Edinburgh International Film Festival, PEOPLE’S CHOICE AUDIENCE AWARD at the Toronto Film Festival 2005, AFI AUDIENCE AWARD 2005, AUDIENCE AWARD for the Denver and St Louis International Film Festivals 2005, CRITICS AWARD at the Sitenghi Film Festival in Cape Town, Thessaloniki Film Festival, Greek Parliament’s HUMAN VALUES AWARD 2005.

PAFF, the largest Black history month event in the U.S., will be held from February 9-20, 2006 in Los Angeles at the Magic Johnson Theaters and Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. The festival was launched in February 1992 by founder Ayuko Babu.   The 2006 PAFF program will showcase a diverse selection of Black films inclusive of features, shorts, documentaries as well as studio/network releases.  The PAFF is dedicated to the promotion of cultural and racial tolerance and understanding through the exhibition of film, art and creative expression.  The PAFF will feature panel discussions, industry workshops and seminars in addition to its film showcases.

The PAFF also presents one of America’s largest fine art shows featuring prominent and emerging Black artists and fine craftspeople at the annual PAFF Artist Market held at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.

The PAFF is supported by Hollywood’s leading black actors and filmmakers including: Jaime Foxx, Mo’nique, Ja’net Dubois, Danny Glover, Denzel Washington, Laurence Fishburne, Lynn Whitfield, Damon Wayans, Sanaa Lathan, Stan Lathan, Wesley Snipes, Forest Whitaker, Kasi Lemmons, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Blair Underwood, Alfre Woodard, Eriq LaSalle, Angela Bassett, Diahann Carroll, Ernie Hudson, Hill Harper, Michael Beach, CCH Pounder, Neema Barnette, Debbie Allen, Sharif Atkins, Penny Johnson Gerald, Carl Lumbly, Taj Mahal, Euzhan Palcy, Sydney Tamia Poitier, Sinbad, Lorraine Toussaint and Malcolm Jamal Warner.

Past festival features have included box office and award-winning hits: Ray, Lackawanna Blues, Redemption, Civil Brand, Crazy As Hell, Kingdom Come, The Brothers, Gridlock’d, and more.

The 2006 PAFF is sponsored in part by: Magic Johnson Theatres, Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, Union Bank of California, Starbucks, Urban Coffee Opportunities, Magic Johnson Enterprises, Target, South African Airways, Rolling Out Magazine and the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.

For more information, visit www.paff.org.