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PUSHOUT winner of Audience Award at the PAFF


The Pan African Film Festival Wraps, Screening a Record-Breaking 225 Films, Representing 52 Countries in 26 Languages!

*Audience Favorite Award Winners Announced*

LOS ANGELES – The people have spoken! The votes have been counted, and the 28th annual Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) is excited to announce its Audience Favorite Award winners. PAFF wrapped its 12-day marathon of offerings from around the Diaspora. The winners include narrative two feature films, one boasting an all-star cast, starring Oscar winner Lou Gossett Jr. and Oscar nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo, as well as the Oscar-winning sound team from “Shape of Water;” and another one, nominated for an NAACP Image Award that examines the criminalization of Black girls from a paternalistic juvenile courts, and inspired legislation called “Ending PUSHOUT Act,” sponsored by Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley.

PAFF is the largest Black film festival in the United States and the largest Black History Month cultural event in the nation. Here are the festival stats: PAFF has selected a record-breaking 225 film, representing 52 countries in 26 languages – that is, 86 feature films; 128 short films and 11 new media selection. Plus, ArtFest featured more than 100 fine artists from around the world. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has designated PAFF as an official qualifying film festival for live action and animation short films. The festival was held from February 11 – 23, 2020 at the Cinemark 15 Theatres, located at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in Los Angeles

The festival has cemented its role as a hub for breakthrough and award-winning Black films and filmmakers from around the world. PAFF is dedicated to the cinematic promotion and cultural exploration of peoples of African descent. It is PAFF’s goal to present and showcase the broad spectrum of Black creative works, particularly those that reinforce positive images and help destroy negative stereotypes. PAFF believes film and art can lead to better understanding and foster communication between peoples of diverse cultures, races, ethnicities, and lifestyles in an entertaining way.

And so, without further ado, here’s a list of the Audience Favorite Award winners from PAFF:


Audience Favorite for Feature Documentary

PUSHOUT: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools, directed by Jacoba Atlas

(Feature Documentary/US/76min)

Movie Synopsis: An indictment of the criminalization and miseducation of African American girls that has led to their alarming high school dropout rate and increase into the juvenile justice system. Schools, throughout the country, have become a key entry point into the juvenile justice system with Black girls being the fastest growing population in this system. PUSHOUT tells the story through the eyes of the girls themselves from elementary to post high school and explores the many reasons for this increase in the criminalization of Black girls from paternalistic juvenile courts who do not understand the unique challenges these girls face, a lack of community based, culturally competent and gender sensitive responses to the way girls of color are perceived by mainstream society is often at the root of this push to criminalize our young people. This criminalization of Black girls disrupts one of the most important protective factors in a girl’s life “education”. Update: Pushout inspired legislation called “Ending PUSHOUT Act” sponsored by Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley.


Pitch Engine  March 3, 2020


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