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Pan African Film Festival

The Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) is the most prestigious Black Film Festival in the United States. It showcases the talent of creatives from the African Movie Industry and brings together movie lovers across the world. The Pan African Film and Arts Festival allows attendees an incredible opportunity to enjoy an incredible array of films representing the African diaspora. The films that are featured range from directorial debuts and special screenings to world premieres.

The Pan African Film and Arts Festival offers educational, engaging and entertaining activities for the entire family. Let’s take a look at its meaning and purpose.


Established in 1992, The Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to the promotion of cultural understanding among peoples of African descent. Every year PAFF-LA showcases hundreds of quality new and old films and hundreds of fine artists and unique craft persons from the United States, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, South America, Europe, the South Pacific, and Canada. PAFF is dedicated to racial tolerance through the exhibition of film, art, and creative expression. It is PAFF’s goal to present and showcase the broad spectrum of Black creative works, particularly those that reinforce positive images and help to destroy negative stereotypes. We believe film and art can lead to better understanding and foster communication between peoples of diverse cultures, races, and lifestyles, while at the same time serve as a vehicle to initiate dialogue on the important issues of our times. The screenings were well-attended, the programming selection nuanced and entertaining, and the films were memorable and exceptional in their own ways.

Venue and Organizers

According to the website, the PAFF is designated as an official qualifying film festival for narrative live action and animated short films for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. It takes place in Los Angeles, California. PAFF collaborates with other festivals from around the world, giving us an audience that is truly local, national, and international. Not only are we the largest and most prestigious Black Film Festival in America, but PAFF-LA is also the largest Black History Month event in the US during the month of February. PAFF is the quintessential Black Festival.


The 27th Annual Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF) announces dates for volunteer meetings for all people who are interested in volunteering. PAFF takes place in February each year. Volunteering with the Pan African Film Festival is a great way to network with entertainment industry professionals and support your community!

Celeb Sightings:

Denzel Washington, Sidney Poitier, Danny Glover, Idris Elba, Mo’Nique, Kevin Hart, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Jamie Foxx, Forest Whitaker, Phylicia Rashad, Lou Gossett, Jr., Issa Rae, Taraji P. Henson, Trevor Noah, David Oyelowo, Laurence Fishburne, Angela Bassett, Majid Michel, Alfre Woodard, Blair Underwood, Kerry Washington, Nate Parker, Salli Richardson, Dorian Missick, Jesse Williams, Michael Ealy, Anthony Anderson, Omotola, Boris Kodjoe, Whoopi Goldberg, Omari Hardwick, Chadwick Boseman, Malcolm Jamal Warner, Shia LaBeouf, CCH Pounder, Omar Epps, Regina King, Sanaa Lathan, John Legend, Tika Sumpter, Tim Roth, Van Vicker, Gabrielle Union, Alfre Woodard, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Wesley Snipes, and Meagan Good.

Types of Awards

Official (Jury) Prizes:

    • Best Narrative Feature
    • Best Documentary Feature
    • Best Short Narrative
    • Best Short Documentary
    • Best Director – First Feature Narrative
    • Best Screenplay
    • Best Web Series
    • Best Stand-Up Comedian
    • Best Music Video
    • Audience Favorites
    • Programmers’ Awards
    • Festival Director Awards

Rules and terms

The rules and terms of the PAFF are as follows:

  • Who Is Eligible to Submit to PAFF?
    • PAFF accepts films and videos made by and/or about people of African descent. (Filmmakers needn’t be of African descent.) Preferably, films should depict positive or realistic images.
  • Films can be of any genre, be it drama, comedy, horror, adventure, animation, romance, science fiction, experimental, and so on. PAFF accepts features and shorts, as well as narratives and documentaries.
  • All submissions must be in English or have English subtitles.
  • PAFF will accept the submissions of works in progress. However, your submission must be sufficiently complete to allow our programmers to follow the storyline and be able to make a decision. We will only accept one work-in-progress version of your film, so please make sure to make it your best shot. (If you expect your final version to be 90 minutes, a 45-minute rough cut is probably not acceptable.) Also, whenever possible, you should provide an on-screen description of missing scenes.
  • If My Film Is Accepted, What Projection Format Will PAFF Accept?
    • PAFF’s host theater is all-digital. The only accepted projection formats for Feature Films are DCP, online link, and Blu-Ray. For Short Films (59 minutes or less) you will be asked to submit an online link. We may also accept DCP and BluRay – depending on program needs.
  • If there are any updates for projection formats, you will receive them with your acceptance notification.
  • We will accept DVDs only when no other format is available, and only as a last resort. DVDs are strongly discouraged because they are unreliable for public presentation due to skipping, stopping, and other playback defects.
  • PAFF will not accept watermarked films for public presentation.

For a range of 2019 African movies, check out Demand Africa today.