*Los Angeles – The arrival of PAFF Closing Night Gala is a signal that our plane is making its final approach to the airport, our ship is heading to its final port and/or the train is heading down the stretch to the station. These are metaphors for our 12 day global journey through the Diaspora by way of cinema.
The 22nd Annual Pan African Film and Arts Festival Closing Night Gala official featured film were Blackbird, based on a novel by Larry Duplechan, directed by Patrik-Ian Polk.
Photographers and reporters waited patiently for the Red Carpet Arrivals as the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza and RAVE Theatres was buzzing with excitement.
The moment finally arrived when cast members from the film Blackbird, the director, producer and author of the novel the movie is based on were joined by a plethora of celebrities to stroll down the Red Carpet. The cast consisted of Oscar-winning actress Mo’Nique, actor Isaiah Washington, newcomer Julian Walker, Terrell Tilford, Gary L. Gray, Kevin Allesee, Torrey Laamar, Nikki Jane, D. Wood, famed director Patrik-Ian Polk and author Larry Duplechan.
Chances are you have witnessed these familiar faces on television or on the big screen recently or in the past. Additional celebrities on the Red Carpet were Ja’Net Du Bois(PAFF Co-Founder), Roland Martin, Jennifer Lewis, Sidney Hicks, Lindsay Seim, Kelsey Scott(12 Years a Slave), Danielle Lewis, Jimmy Jean-Louis, Victoria Platt, Jennia Fredrique, James Lesure, Jensen Atwood, Keith Stenfield, Terrence T.C. Carson, Vanessa Williams and Nicole Lovince.
About Blackbird- known for his ability to incite thought-provoking discussions through his forays in film, director Patrik-Ian Polk doesn’t deviate from his creative formula with Blackbird. Based on the novel by Larry Duplechan, Blackbird is a powerful coming-of-age story about 17-year old Randy Rousseau. A devout high school choirboy, Randy is struggling to come to terms with his sexuality in a small religiously conservative Mississippi town. Randy juggles his role as star of the church choir while facing the everyday trials of life as a high school misfit.
I wasn’t able to attend the screening of the movie or the Q&A afterwards. I’m sure that a lively discussion took place about this relevant and timely subject matter.
The Pan African Film and Arts Festival is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the advancement of cultural diversity and education through the exhibition of positive and realistic media images.
Ricky Richardson is a Southern California based writer, music reviewer and photographer. Contact him via: [email protected]