2016 Pan African Film & Arts Festival Announces Opening, Centerpiece and Closing Night Films
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2016 Pan African Film & Arts Festival Announces Opening, Centerpiece and Closing Night Films

Miles AheadThe 2016 Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF) today announced their opening, centerpiece and closing night films.

First, making its worldwide premiere as the Opening Night film selection will be director Patrick Gilles’ "America is Still the Place ," which uncovers a story about a giant oil spill on the beaches of northern California.

"Agents of Change" will be the Centerpiece selection; from directors Abby Ginzberg and Frank Dawson, the film follows young men and women who were at the forefront of the student union takeover at Cornell University in 1969.

And closing the festival will be a special screening of "Miles Ahead," Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis film, which he both directed and stars in

All films will screen at RAVE Cinemas 15, located within the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza at 4200 Marlton Avenue in Los Angeles, CA 90008.

The complete lineup will be announced in coming days. 

The 2016 Pan African Film & Arts Festival takes place in Los Angeles from February 4 – 15, 2016.

Full details on each of the above 3 films follow below: 

– "America is Still the Place" uncovers a story about a giant oil spill on the beaches of northern California and the institutional racism that Charlie Walker has to overcome in order to finally achieve the “American Dream.” Based on a true story of one Black man’s courage and perseverance to provide for his family, the film takes us on a journey during the Black Power and civil rights era in San Francisco in 1971. This seemed like a good place for a Black Korean War veteran and his family to realize their dream of economic and cultural independence and his chance to be his own boss. In the pursuit of his dream, Charlie Walker finds himself in a city full of impostors and naysayers. He refused to take “no" for an answer. When a catastrophic oil spill opened a door that had never been open to a black man before, he decides to step through the door with both feet and claim the “American Dream.” This movie stars Mike Colter (Netflix’ Jessica Jones & Luke Cage), Dylan Baker, Carl Lumbly, Emma Caulfield, and a cameo appearance by former San Francisco Mayor Willy Brown. 

– Violence against African Americans has been at the forefront of national media headlines and the subject of debates and conversations around the world. "Agents of Change" is a ‘movement’ film which follows young men and women who were at the forefront of the student union takeover at Cornell University in 1969, as well as highlighting the graphic footage of student demonstrators at San Francisco State in 1968 being beaten and arrested by police. This was just the beginning. These images are the entry point to a powerful but little known story that took place during the Black Power and civil rights era: the struggle that erupted with demands for expanding the enrollment of black students and the creation of African American Studies centers across America at the end of a tumultuous decade. This film tells the story of what they encountered, how they responded, and the continuing impact of the dramatic confrontations that followed. Directed by Abby Ginzberg and Frank Dawson, "Agents of Change" introduces a cast of largely unrecognized but remarkable people, whose commitment to justice and equality paved the way for the opportunities that followed, while also reminding viewers about the work yet to be done to achieve full equity and dignity on campus and in society. Stars of the film include: Danny Glover (a leader of the Black Student movement at San Francisco State), Harry Edwards, Irene Smalls and more. Music composed by Patrice Rushen.

– Don Cheadle does double duty as director and star in "Miles Ahead," a film based on a chronological arc of events inspired by the life of the great jazz musician Miles Davis. This is a wildly entertaining, impressionistic, no-holds barred portrait of one of 20th century music’s creative geniuses. In the midst of a dazzling and prolific career at the forefront of modern jazz innovation, The film focuses on a period of five years in the late 1970s. While away from the public light and celebrity, Davis was stifled with personal challenges.  During this time, Davis meets a wily music reporter, Dave Braden, who forces his way into Davis’ house and, over the next couple of days, the two men unwittingly embark on a wild and sometimes harrowing adventure to recover a stolen tape of the musician’s latest composition. By the late 70s, plagued by years of regret and loss, Davis flirts with annihilation until he once again finds salvation in his art. Working from a script he co-wrote with Steven Baigelman, Cheadle makes his directorial debut with co-stars Emayatzy Corinealdi, Lakeith Lee Stanfield, Ewan McGregor and Michael Stuhlbarg. "Miles Ahead" will be released by Sony Pictures Classics in theaters on April 1, 2016.

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