The 2015 Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) concluded on Monday night (February 16) with an award ceremony in which several worthwhile films received top accolades. Kunle Afolayan’s “October 1,” one of the most buzzed-about titles in the narrative competition picked up the Festival Programmers’ Award for Narrative Feature.
A film that starts out simply and opens up into a labyrinth of complications, the psychological thriller follows a police officer, Inspector Danladi Waziri (played by Sadiq Daba), from Northern Nigeria, who is posted to a remote town of Akote in Western Nigeria to investigate a serial murder case in the community. Intrigue and suspense are the order of the day, and nothing is as it appears. With the clock ticking, Waziri is under pressure to find the killer before the Nigerian flag is raised on October 1, Nigeria’s Independence Day. An excellent screenplay full of rich and complex characters, it’s a well-paced drama and is unquestionably one of the best films to emerge from the festival this year.
Other key festival prizewinners included the Angelina Jolie produced drama “Difret” which tells the tale of a girl and a female lawyer who take on the Ethiopian tradition of “telefa”, or marriage by abduction. The film received the Best Feature Narrative award.
Stanley Nelson’s documentary on the story of the Black Panthers, which is often told in a scatter of repackaged parts, often depicting tragic, mythic accounts of violence and criminal activity earned him the Festival Founders’ (documentary) Award.
Actors Malachi Kirby and O.C. Ukeje in a scene from Gone Too Far
The outstanding documentary “Bound: Africans vs African Americans” which painfully explores the rift between Africans and Black Americans received the Audience Award—Documentary while the brilliant Afro-British drama “Gone Too Far” which follows two estranged African brothers who reunite over the course of a single day deservedly earned the BAFTA LA PRIZE (Pan African Film Festival-British Academy of Film and Television Arts/LA Prize).
PAFF is America’s largest and most prestigious international Black film festival, which takes place annually during black history month.
Samantha Ofole-Prince is an entertainment industry specialist and contributes to Trendy Africa Magazine from Los Angeles.