Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Award-winning Actress Will Be Feted at the Night of Tribute

and Televised on the Africa Channel

The Pan African Film Festival will honor award-winning actress Loretta Devine with its highest honor, a Lifetime Achievement Award for her work on stage, television and film. The award will be presented during the Night of Tribute at 8 p.m. on Friday, February 10, 2012 at the Rave Cinemas Baldwin Hills 15 at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.

After more than 30 years in the business, Devine nabbed an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Dramatic Role for her work on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” last year. She received an Independent Spirit Award nod for Best Supporting Female for her role in “Women Thou Art Loosed.” And she has been nominated for a slew of NAACP Image Awards in television and film, grabbing two awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for her roles in “Waiting to Exhale” and “The Preacher’s Wife,” respectively.  She picked up three more NAACP Image Awards for her work on David E. Kelly’s Fox series, “Boston Public.”
Still, it was her breakout role on the stage that brought her to national attention. In the role of Lorrell, the Houston native was one of the three original “Dreamgirls” in Michael Bennett’s classic, award-winning Broadway musical of the same name. She followed that performance with a fiery portrayal of Lillian in Bob Fosse’s critically-acclaimed stage production, “Big Deal.” Other performances, including George C. Wolfe’s “Colored Museum” and “Lady Day at Emerson Bar and Grill,” which cemented Devine’s status as one of the most talented and versatile stage actresses.

Soon, film roles followed, and she’s appeared in some of audience’s most beloved movies, including ”Jumping the Brown,” “This Christmas,” Tyler Perry’s “For Colored Girls” and “Madea’s Big Happy Family, and of course, “Waiting to Exhale.” Other film credits include the Academy award-winning film, “Crash,” “I Am San,” “What Women Want” and “Stanley and Iris.”

On the small screen, Devine can be seen regularly in her Emmy-winning role as “Adele,” on ABC’s hit medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy.” Just announced, she’s set to co-star with Jennifer Love Hewitt in Lifetime’s new series, “The Client List.”

“Ms. Devine is probably one of the hardest working women in show business,” said Ayuko Babu, founder and executive director of the Pan African Film Festival with a chuckle. “She is an extremely gifted and versatile actress, creating soulful characters in some of our favorite televisions shows and films.” He added, “Through her craft, she is an amazing storyteller, delivering memorable performances and portraying characters with a richness and vulnerability that connects with audience on many different levels.”

Produced by the Africa Channel, the Night of Tribute honors world-renowned actors, filmmakers, community leaders and fine artists for their contributions on stage, television, film, the arts and the community. Previous recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award include Oscar-winner Louis Gossett Jr,, Tony award-winner Phylicia Rashad, Emmy award-winning actor Glynn Turman, the honorable Ambassador Andrew Young as well as award winning actresses Marla Gibbs and Dr. Della Reese -- just to name a few. The ceremony will be recorded and televised by the Africa Channel, which is broadcast in major markets across the United States and the Caribbean. Visit

Other honorees include:
  • Meagan Good | Beah Richards Rising Star Actress Award a rising star in television and film. She rose to fame in the family drama, “Eve’s Bayou” with Samuel L. Jackson. Today, she’s one of the most sought after actresses with a string of film credits, including “Jumping the Broom,” “The Unborn,” “The Love Guru,” “35 & Ticking,” “Video Girl” as well as  fan favorites, “Stomp the Yard”  and “You Got Served.” Good will appear in the film adaptation of “Think Like a Man,” based on radio host Steve Harvey’s best-selling book. *
*Programming note:  The comedy, “Think Like a Man” will  premiere as the festival’s opener on February 9. The movie is schedule for theatrical release on March 9, 2012.
·         David Oyelowo | Canada Lee Rising Star Actor Award named by the Los Angeles Times as one of the ”Faces to Watch in 2012.” Oyelowo’s credits include, “The Help,”  “The Rise of the Planet of Apes,” and the indie, “96 Minutes.”  Currently, he can be seen as one of the Tuskegee Airmen in George Lucas’ bio-pic, “Red Tails” currently in theatres.*

*Programming note:  The film, “96 Minutes,” will be screened during the festival. Visit for screening times.
  • Mr. Leon Garr | Community Treasure Award – an entrepreneur and philanthropist.  Garr launched Garr Construction, contributing to the architectural fiber of Southern California. While semi-retired, at the age of 76, Garr purchased the failing Founders Savings and Loan, and transformed it into Founders National Bank – i.e. the only African American-owned commercial bank in Southern California.  Today, he’s 88.*

*Programming note:  Leon Garr’s life story will be told in the film, “This Life of Mine,” directed by Antwone Fisher, during the festival. Visit for screening times.
  • Jewel Thais-Williams | Community Service Award  a club owner and health care practitioner. Williams is celebrating 39 years of business with her night club, Jewel’s Catch One Night Club, affectionately known as “The Catch.” She founded the Village Health Foundation to offer health and hope to the un- and under-insured. But more courageously, she befriended the LGBT community -- initially hit with HIV/AIDS pandemic – providing a safe haven for those stricken with the deadly disease.
·         Van Vicker | The Africa Channel Creative Achievement Award – one of Africa’s hottest movie stars, he’s one of the most sought-after Nollywood actors.  The award-winning actor has appeared in more than 100 movies, including “Paparazzi: Eye in the Dark,” “Royal War,” “Broken Tears,” “Return of Beyonce” and “Princess Tyra.” He’s been nominated twice for an African Movie Academy Award.*

*Programming note:  The film, “Paparazzi: Eye in the Dark,” starring Van Vicker will be screened during the festival. Visit for screening times

·         Jimmy Jean-Louis | The Africa Channel Diasporan Award – one of the most popular and recognizable actors in Africa and making his mark in television and film in Hollywood. The Haitian actor is best known to American audiences from his stint on NBC’s “Heroes” and as the romantic lead in “Phat Girlz” with Oscar-winner Mo’Nique.  His Nollywood credits include “Toussant Louverture,” “Sinking Sands,” and  “I Sing of a Well.”

*Programming note:  The film “”Toussant Louverture” starring Jimmy Jean-Louis will be screened during the festival. Visit for screening times.

·         Eric Kabera and the Rwanda Cinema Centre  | The Africa Channel Visionary Award -- an acclaimed Rwandan filmmake and documentarian. His credits include  “Africa United,” “Through My Eyes,” “Keepers of Memory,” and “Kist Towards a Brighter Future.” Kabera founded the Rwanda Cinema Center, which trains young filmmakers and promotes the art of movie making in Rwanda. He is the founder of the Rwanda  International Film Festival, which is organized by the Rwanda Cinema Center. *
*Programming note:  The film “Africa United” produced by Eric Kabera will be screened during the festival. Visit for screening times.

PAFF, America's largest and most prestigious international Black film festival, will take place February 9-20, 2012 at the new Rave Cinemas Baldwin Hills 15 at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. The theatre is situated on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard between Marlton Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard)

It has selected a total of 160 films, representing 30 countries, 91 feature length films (narrative and documentaries) and 67 short films. The festival will hand out prizes for Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short, Best Narrative Short, Best Narrative Feature, and Best First Feature Film, as well as audience favorite awards  at the close of the festival. For more information, including how to purchase tickets, please visit or call (310) 337-4737.
About the Pan African Film Festival
The Pan African Film and Arts Festival (PAFF), America's largest and most prestigious Black film and arts festival, is gearing up for its 20th year of screening more than 150 films made by and/or about people of African descent from the United States, Africa, the Caribbean, South America, the South Pacific, Europe and Canada. PAFF holds the distinction of being the largest Black History Month event in the country.

PAFF was founded in 1992  by award-winning actor Danny Glover (“The Color Purple,” “Lethal Weapon” movie franchise), Emmy Award-winning actress Ja’Net DuBois (best known for her role as  the busybody neighbor Willona  in the tv series, “Good Times”) and executive director, Ayuko Babu, an  international legal, cultural and political consultant who specializes in African Affairs.  PAFF is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the promotion of ethnic and racial respect and tolerance through the exhibit of films, art and creative expression.

The goal of PAFF is to present and showcase the broad spectrum of Black creative works, particularly those that reinforce positive images, help to destroy negative stereotypes and depict an expanded vision of the Black experience. PAFF believes 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 Pan African Film & Arts Festival is an official event of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa's Celebration of African American Heritage Month. PAFF is sponsored by Macy's; Wells Fargo Bank; AIDS Healthcare Foundation; City of Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Arts Commission; as well as Los Angeles Council members Bernard C. Parks (District 8), Jan Perry (District 9), and Herb J. Wesson Jr. (District 10); Sony Pictures Entertainment; The Brotherhood Crusade; The Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, The Africa Channel; South African Airways; The Directors Guild of America; and The Water Replenishment District of Southern California.

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