Highlights include Filmmaker Awards Brunch, spotlight screening of ‘Genius: MLK/X’, ArtFest, and dozens of screenings of films

The last day of the Pan African Film & Arts Festival is today, Monday, February 19, 2024.

The film festival will take place at Cinemark Baldwin Hills & XD and the ArtFest featuring over 100 fine artists from throughout the African Diaspora will take place at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza and Cinemark Baldwin Hills & XD, 4020 Marlton Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90008.

The events today include ARTFEST from 10AM - 9PM at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. The PAFF  ArtFest features over 100 established and emerging fine artists and unique craftspeople from all over the world. With an artistic aesthetic that is rooted in Africa and its Diaspora, featured artists present their creative works using oil on canvas, watercolor and pastels, acrylic paper, glass, ceramics, metal, cloth, plastic, wax, wire, leather, and stone. In addition to fine art and one-of-a-kind crafts, the ArtFEST also features the best in designer and traditional fashions, jewelry, home decor, fashion accessories and so much more!

Representing the perfect mix of both art and culture, the PAFF ArtFEST brings out over 100K+ visitors from all over Los Angeles, across the country, and around the world.

FILMMAKER AWARDS BRUNCH is at 11: 00 a.m. at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, 2nd Floor Bridge

Celebrating the best in Black independent storytelling at the 2024 PAFF Filmmaker Awards Brunch and announcing the winners of this year’s film festival audience and jury awards.

‘GENIUS: MLK/X’ will screen at 7:00 p.m. at the Cinemark Baldwin Hills & XD.


GENIUS: MLK/X follows both Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.) and Malcom X (Aaron Pierre) from their formative years, where they were molded by strong fathers and traumatic injustices, to their rich, parallel stories as they shaped their identities and became the change they wished to see in the world. The docudrama series offers an intimate look into their complex lives as husbands, fathers, brothers and sons, taking them off the iconic T-shirts to show their humanity. GENIUS: MLK/X brings their wives, Coretta Scott King (Weruche Opia) and Betty Shabazz (Jayme Lawson), who are often portrayed as peripheral figures, to the forefront and shows them as formidable equals of the Movement. Episodes will explore the moments between the monumental historical events we’ve come to know and shine a light on how each leader and those closest to them questioned their resolve and decisions as they navigated the rigors of balancing a public persona with a private life. While King and X met only once and often challenged each other’s views, neither would have been as successful without the other.

Following the screening there will be a Q&A with Reggie Rock Bythewood – Executive Producer, Gina Prince-Bythewood – Executive Producer, Raphael Jackson Jr. – Executive Producer and Showrunner, Damione Macedon – Executive Producer and Showrunner and Weruche Opia, who protrays Coretta Scott King.


The 32nd Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF) makes its return to Los Angeles February 6-19, 2024 at the Cinemark Baldwin Hills XD and Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza to present and showcase a broad spectrum of Black creative works, particularly those that reinforce positive images and help to destroy negative stereotypes of Africans and African-Americans.

Since 1992, as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, PAFF has remained dedicated to the promotion of Black stories and images through the exhibition of film, visual art, and other creative expression. Today, PAFF is one of the largest and most prestigious Black film festivals in the U.S. and attracts local, national, and international audiences. In addition, it is an Oscar-qualifying festival for animation and live-action films, and one of the largest Black History Month events in America.

PAFF is supported in part by the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, LA Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, LA Councilmember Curren Price, LA Councilmember Heather Hutt, LA County Department of Arts and Culture, the LA County COVID-19 Arts Relief Fund administered by the LA County Department of Arts and Culture, Senator Steve Bradford, and Senator Lola Smallwood-Cuevas.

The 2024 PAFF is possible through the generous support of sponsors including Color Creative, Gilead Sciences, Inc., Stocker Street Creative, Disney, Andscape, BET+, Paramount Pictures, National Geographic, Black Alliance for Justice Immigration, Cal State University, Los Angeles.

For more information, please visit



The Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF) is thrilled to announce that actor/director Bill Duke will receive the Ja’Net Dubois Lifetime Achievement Award during its Centerpiece on Thu., Feb. 15 at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles. PAFF’s Centerpiece will feature the world premiere of the Ethiopian war film “For the Love of the Motherland.

Duke will receive his award today, Thursday, February 15, 2024, at 7:00 p.m. at the Directors Guild of American, 7920 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA

On hand will be Actor and Director Bill Duke, Theodros Teshome Kebede, Director, “For the Love of the Motherland.” Other notable guests, elected officials, foreign dignitaries, and talent

Originally the Pan African Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award, but renamed after the late “Good Times” actress and co-founder of PAFF, The Ja'Net DuBois Lifetime Achievement award holds immense significance within the Black entertainment industry and beyond, serving as a beacon of recognition for individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the arts, culture, and society at large. Named in honor of the iconic actress, singer, and humanitarian, Ja'Net DuBois, this award celebrates a lifetime of creativity, innovation, and dedication to one's craft. It not only commemorates the outstanding achievements of its recipients but also highlights their enduring impact on audiences, communities, and future generations. Through honoring individuals who have left an indelible mark on the world through their talent, advocacy, and philanthropy, the Ja'Net DuBois Lifetime Achievement award inspires others to strive for excellence and use their talents to make a positive difference in the world. Past recipients have included Beah Richards (2000), Danny Glover (2003), Melvin Van Peebles (2004), and Alfre Woodard (2017).

About Bill Duke

Bill Duke is an actor, director, producer and humanitarian in Hollywood, with more than 40 years of experience on-screen and behind the camera. His acting credits include recent television and feature film roles on HBO Max.  Mr. Duke appeared in “No Sudden Move” with Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Brandon Frazier, and Julia Fox. He was also in Starz “Gaslit” with Julia Roberts and Sean Penn, Tyler Perry’s “The Oval,” “Black Lightning,” the critically acclaimed “Mandy,” and the highly lauded Stephen Soderbergh film “High Flying Bird”. Bill Duke is known worldwide for roles in “Predator,” “American Gigolo,” “Car Wash,” “Action Jackson,” “Commando,” “Menace II Society,” “Bird on a Wire,” “Get Rich or Die Tryin,” “X-Men 3,” “Henry's Crime,” “The Big Bang,” “Starsky & Hutch,” “Karen Sisco,” and “Lost”.

Bill is legendary for his directing prowess and agility in television and film as the first Black director on numerous television shows. His credits for film and television include, “Falcon Crest,” “Dallas,” “Knots Landing,” “Fame,” “Hill Street Blues,” “Miami Vice,” and PBSʼ “The Killing Floor” for which he won the Sundance Special Jury Award in 1985, just to name a few.

The accolades continued with a feature film directorial debut in 1991 for “A Rage in Harlem,” which was an official selection at the Cannes Film Festival for the prestigious Palme dʼOr. This global recognition led to further opportunities including directing feature more feature films and documentaries: “Sister Act 2,” “Deep Cover,” “Hoodlum,” “The Cemetery Club,” “Not Easily Broken,” “Deacons for Defense,” and the documentaries “Dark Girls” and “Light Girls”.

“Dark Girls” aired on Oprah Winfrey's OWN Network and succeeded as one of the most successful programs on the network.

Most recently, Bill directed the feature film, “Created Equal” and was featured in the documentaries, “What is a Man,” and “What is a Woman”. He's currently working on several film and TV projects. Bill's autobiography, “Bill Duke: My 40-Year Career on Screen and Behind the Camera” was released in November 2018. He also authored “The Journey: Tale of Human Healing” and “Works of the Invisible Man”.

Throughout the course of his career, Bill Duke has been recognized by prestigious leaders and institutions for his work in television and film. He was appointed to the National Endowment of Humanities by President Bill Clinton and the Board of the California State and Film Commission by Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He has also served on the Board of Trustees at the American Film Institute and as the Time Warner Endowed Chair in the Department of Radio, Television, and Film at Howard University. He was also recognized by his peers with a Lifetime Achievement Tribute from the Directors Guild of America’s African- American Steering Committee in 2010. In May of 2022, Bill was honored at The Jonathan Foundation for Learning Disabilities Gala for being an entertainment legend and humanitarian. On June 20, 2022, Bill was honored to be in the Kingdom Day Parade with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. November 19, 2022, Bill gained another honor at the 11th Annual “I've Known Rivers Film Festival when he received the Living Legend Award along with a Certificate of Appreciation from the California Assembly.

In addition to working on creative projects in Hollywood, the multi-hyphenate superstar has added another sobriquet to his long list of titles--digital network owner. On May 9, 2022, the YOUNITE Network launched, and will morph into a global media force, with global initiatives in the works. Bill also created Duke Media Entertainment to bring quality "Edutainment" to audiences around the globe. He coined the word to symbolize entertainment that also includes an educational element for the audience. Formerly Yagya Productions, Duke Media has successfully produced critically acclaimed film and television content for more than 30 years.

Additionally, Duke Media is in process of expanding its brand through the development of new media technologies, i.e. cellphone apps, games, and virtual/metaverse world experiences. Since the early 70s, Bill Duke along with industry veterans Michael Shultz and Gordon Parks, have long paved the way for the furtherance of African American actors, writers, directors, and producers in the entertainment and technology industries. Bill Duke has taught the fundamentals of acting to many young aspiring thespians which includes some of today's superstars such as Taraji P. Henson, Anthony Anderson, Shemar Moore, LisaRaye McCoy, Kevin Carroll, Monica Calhoun, Chris Spencer and Emayatzy Corinealdi.

Giving back has been a large part of Bill's Hollywood legacy. He runs the Duke Media Foundation, which for the last ten years has prepared youth for the future by exposing them to specific new media and financial literacy tools. This will enable them to compete, survive, and thrive. The economy is experiencing a paradigm shift far beyond film and TV to media. Film and TV are still important parts of the entertainment landscape.  However, new media content has become a dominant force to be reckoned with. Bill encourages students to explore and master new technology as it emerges and evolves.

About For the Love of the Motherland

“For the Love of the Motherland” will reflect how the Tigray War in Ethiopia has fueled divides members of the diaspora. A war that has killed an estimated 162,000-378,000 people, with other reported estimates reaching numbers as high as 600,000 killed.

For many Ethiopians residing in Los Angeles, the premiere of “For the Love of the Motherland” represents a significant moment of cultural recognition and storytelling. Theodore Teshome, whose previous works have garnered critical acclaim for their poignant portrayal of Ethiopian history and identity, has spent years meticulously researching and crafting this film to capture the multifaceted narratives of individuals directly impacted by the conflict.

“For the Love of the Motherland” will reflect how the Tigray War in Ethiopia has fueled divides members of the diaspora. A war that has killed an estimated 162,000-378,000 people, with other reported estimates reaching numbers as high as 600,000 killed.

The film tells the intimate story of Hayelom and Lielt who are deeply in love. He is from Tigray region in Ethiopia and she is from Ethiopia’s Amhara region. Their love faces an expected turn when Tigray militants invade the Amhara region to take over power of the central government. He joins the militants, she joins the Ethiopian Defense Force, and they become enemies looking to kill one another.

Directed and written by Theodros Teshome Kebede, the film stars Debebe Eshetu, Getahun Hailu, and Tsigereda Bekele.

Hallmark Red Carpet Premiere for ‘Sense and Sensibility’ at the Pan African Film & Arts Festival


Starring Deborah Ayorinde (Actor, “Elinor”), Roger Bobb (Director), Tia A. Smith (Executive Producer), Kara Saun (Costume Designer) Toni Judkins (SVP Programming & Development, Mahogany Originals, Hallmark Media)

About the Film

Deborah Ayorinde (Them), Bethany Antonia (House of the Dragon), Dan Jeannotte (The Royal Nanny) and Akil Largie (The Sandman) star in a beautiful period adaptation in Sense and Sensibility, a new, original movie and Mahogany Original, premiering Saturday, February 24 (8 p.m. ET/PT), on Hallmark Channel.  The movie is part of the network’s Loveuary with Jane Austen programming event, honoring the author’s timeless legacy with four all-new original movie premieres, every Saturday in February.  Set in Regency-era England, it features original costumes by Kara Saun (Project Runway) and hair designs by Kim Kimble (Euphoria). Author and historian Vanessa Riley (Island Queen) served as a historical consultant.

LindsayLuvzU Productions Announces Debut Screening of “Maharlika Warrior Spirit” at the Pan African Film Festival


Los Angeles, CA - LindsayLuvzU Productions is thrilled to announce the nomination and screening of its most recent film, "Maharlika Warrior Spirit," at the prestigious Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF). The film will debut on Saturday, February 10, 2024, at 1:00 PM, and a second screening will follow on Friday, February 16, 2024, at 3:40 PM. These screenings will take place in Los Angeles at the Cinemark Baldwin Hills & XD Movie Theater, located at 4020 Marlton Ave.

"Maharlika Warrior Spirit" is an anti-sex trafficking movie that is set to ignite a movement disguised as a film. This multi-channel production transcends traditional storytelling by using film, music, documentaries, and live events to raise awareness about the sensitive and often overlooked issue of sex trafficking. The story follows Tala, a defense attorney with a strong moral compass, who is forced to confront the ineffectiveness of the law when her best friend becomes a victim of sex trafficking. Embarking on a journey of self-discovery, she awakens to her ancient warrior spirit.

At its very core, the movie is not only a call to action but also a beacon of hope for victims and a rallying cry for societal change. With the movie’s official release, LindsayLuvzU Productions is leading the charge with a vision that differs from its contemporaries, embodying the spirit of innovation akin to the work of Spike Lee.

"LindsayLuvzU Productions stands at the intersection of activism and entertainment, and with 'Maharlika Warrior Spirit,' we aim to not just tell a story, but to spur a cultural metamorphosis," says Lindsay Castillo, founder, and CEO of LindsayLuvzU Productions. "It's time to shine a light on the darkness of sex trafficking, and we are committed to empowering women and inspiring audiences to take action."

The film is part of a larger endeavor by the company, including the documentary, "Traffik ‘n’ Sex, An Anti-Sex Trafficking Movement," which provides a grounded perspective of trafficking through the eyes of survivors. Additionally, the world’s first anti-sex trafficking concept album, "Traffik ‘n’ Sex," is set to engage fans and raise awareness through music.

It is also important to note that LindsayLuvzU Productions' unique approach extends beyond the screen, with the establishment of "Traffik n’ Sex," a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting victims of sex trafficking by connecting safe-houses nationwide and encouraging public discourse on the issue.

For more information about "Maharlika Warrior Spirit" and the non-profit organization, please visit

About LindsayLuvzU Productions

LindsayLuvzU Productions is a cinematic platform for change, founded by the accomplished Lindsay Castillo, whose life experiences have shaped her into a storyteller with a cause. Castillo's journey began i he diverse streets of Oakland, California, where she cultivated her passion for performance and her deep sense of social responsibility. Growing up, she witnessed the challenges of entrepreneurship within her family and the broader community, experiences that instilled in her the drive to pursue her own business ventures with a philanthropic edge.

Castillo's evolution from a student activist engaged in cultural and social justice organizations to a prominent advocate for women's rights and anti-sex trafficking initiatives underscores her dedication to making a substantive impact through her work in the film industry. With LindsayLuvzU Productions, Castillo has found a way to channel her advocacy into creative expression, producing content that doesn't just tell stories but also educates and mobilizes audiences towards action.

This commitment to blending art with activism is deeply personal for Castillo. Her experiences with marginalized communities, her active role in pivotal social movements, and her educational background in broadcast arts and gender studies have all contributed to her unique perspective as a filmmaker and activist. LindsayLuvzU Productions is not just a company but a reflection of Castillo's lifelong commitment to justice, empowerment, and the belief that change begins with powerful storytelling.

Contact Information

Lindsay Castillo


Documentary from John Deere and Al Roker Entertainment Puts the Spotlight on Land Ownership Challenges Facing Black Farmers

MOLINE, Illinois (June 13, 2023) – Deere & Company (NYSE: DE) and Al Roker Entertainment today announced a new documentary focused on the legacy of Black farming in America and the devastating impact of heirs’ property – property passed to family members by inheritance, usually without a will or proper estate planning. Without a clear title, Black farmers are unable to qualify for government assistance, equipment financing or agricultural programs designed to optimize their land. In 2020, John Deere created the LEAP Coalition in partnership with the National Black Growers Council and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to provide resources for farmers and landowners to resolve heirs’ property issues.

“This film serves as an important platform for Black farmers to delve into their history while also discussing impactful ways to sustain agriculture and places to go for help with legislation and available grants,” said Al Roker, executive producer. “The organizations featured in the film are creating change and it’s one of the reasons our company was so interested in getting involved with this important work.”

Created in partnership with Emmy-nominated director Eternal Polk, the documentary, Gaining Ground: The Fight for Black Land, addresses how landowners are reclaiming their agricultural rights and their paths to generational wealth. The film will debut at the American Black Film Festival in Miami on June 15, 2023, and appear in screenings across the country this summer.

“Documentaries can offer a lens into history and shed light on a forgotten or untold story. It's more than just a form of storytelling, it's a way to offer new viewpoints on an issue, create lasting dialogue, and drive change,” said Gaining Ground director Eternal Polk. “With Deere’s support, we were honored to help bring this important story to life. This documentary provides resources to those who are dealing with heirs’ property and shows others how they can get involved to support this cause.”

Black land ownership peaked in 1910 at 16 to 19 million acres, which was about 14 percent of total arable land in the United States. A century later, 90 percent of Black-owned land has been lost, and heirs' property has been the leading cause for that decline. The documentary shines a spotlight on the challenges Black farmers and landowners’ must navigate to preserve their land for future generations. The film additionally showcases subject matter experts and practitioners who are actively working to address these issues.

"For farmers, land provides more than a livelihood, it provides a legacy. For far too long, Black farmers have had to deal with often coercive constraints, barriers and systems that result in involuntary loss of land, economic value and wealth. This documentary provides an opportunity for folks to tell their stories, highlight injustice and hopefully serve as a catalyst for concerted action to address this little known but important and pervasive issue” said Marc Howze, Senior Advisor, Office of the Chairman, Deere and Company. "The message of this documentary is clear: We need to do more to help Black farmers and landowners unlock the tremendous value in the land they already own to help us feed, clothe and shelter a growing population while pursuing opportunities to build wealth and provide a legacy for future generations.”


John Deere created the LEAP Coalition in 2020 in partnership with the National Black Growers Council and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. The LEAP Coalition provides legal, educational and other resources to help farmers and landowning families gain clear title of their land. It works to unlock economic value for farmers, while also eliminating systemic barriers to wealth building faced by Black farmers and other historically disadvantaged communities.

To learn more about the LEAP Coalition, to help Black farmers, and provide support to support LEAP coalition partners visit:

To learn more about the documentary, visit:

About John Deere

Deere & Company ( is a global leader in the delivery of agricultural, construction, and forestry equipment. We help our customers push the boundaries of what's possible in ways that are more productive and sustainable to help life leap forward. Our technology-enabled products including John Deere Autonomous 8R Tractor and tillage solution, See & Spray™, and E-Power Backhoe are just some of the ways we help meet the world's increasing need for food, shelter, and infrastructure. Deere & Company also provides financial services through John Deere Financial.

For more information on Deere & Company, visit us at

About Al Roker Entertainment

Formed in 1994, Al Roker Entertainment (ARE) is an industry-leading producer of original, award-winning TV programs and digital content. Led by 14-time Emmy winning TV personality and trusted media authority Al Roker, ARE partners with a creative consortium of producers, directors, writers, agencies, and talent to ideate, produce, activate, and amplify original content globally, using a variety of broadcast, cable, OTT, social, and streaming platforms. ARE works with brands, non-profits, ad agencies, and PR companies to generate and inspire audiences through social impact branded entertainment storytelling.





LOS ANGELES, Nov. 10, 2023 – The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) today announced a new date to celebrate its previously announced AAFCA TV Honors winners. The private, invitation-only event was previously scheduled for August 27th but was postponed due to the strike and will now be held on December 3rd at the Hotel Casa del Mar in Santa Monica, California.

Presented by the African American Film Critics Association the AAFCA TV Honors recognize outstanding achievements in Broadcast Television and Streaming with a special emphasis on entertainment representing the Black diaspora.  Previously announced winners include Quinta Brunson, the cast of “P-Valley,” Jessica WilliamsDebbie AllenNiecy Nash-Betts, “The 1619 Project” and many more. Special honorees include Jennifer Hudson, who will receive the We See You Award, Delroy Lindo, who will receive the Legacy Award, and five-time Emmy® nominee Marla Gibbs who will receive the Legend Award.  The Apple TV+ show “Ted Lasso'' will receive the Inclusion Award, and CBS’ “S.W.A.T.,'' produced by Sony Pictures Television in association with CBS Studios, will receive the Impact Award.

"We are happy that our industry can take a collective sigh of relief and get back to work, " stated AAFCA co-founder and president Gil Robertson. “We love a good party here at AAFCA and we’re going to pull out all the stops to celebrate our winners and honorees.  With the industry in flux for so many months, we’re really looking forward to finally getting to recognize and celebrate these incredible talents.”

A full list of previously announced  winners follows:


  • BEST TV COMEDY - "Abbott Elementary" (ABC)

  • BEST TV DRAMA - "P-Valley" (Starz)

  • BEST NEW SHOW - "Mo" (Netflix) 

  • BEST DOCUMENTARY - "The 1619 Project" (Onyx Collective/Hulu) 

  • BEST LIMITED SERIES - "The Best Man: The Final Chapters" (Peacock)

  • BEST TV MOVIE - “Shooting Stars” (Peacock)  

  • BREAKOUT STAR - Jessica Williams - “Shrinking” (Apple TV+)

  • BEST ENSEMBLE - "P-Valley" (Starz) 

  • BEST TV WRITING - Quinta Brunson - “Abbott Elementary” (ABC) 

  • BEST TV DIRECTING - Mary Lou Belli, Debbie Allen, Tasha Smith, Henry Chan, Jordan E. Cooper - "The Ms. Pat Show" (BET+) 

  • BEST TV ACTING (Female) - Niecy Nash-Betts - “Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” (Netflix)  

  • BEST TV ACTING (Male) - J. Alphonse Nicholson and Nicco Annan - "P-Valley" (Starz) 

Established in 2003, AAFCA is the premier body of Black film critics in the world, actively reviewing film and television, with a particular emphasis on entertainment highlighting the Black experience in the US and throughout the rest of the African Diaspora. For more information on AAFCA and its programs visit

Key West FF 2023 Announces Golden Key honors including Jacqueline Durran (Costume Design) and Sheila Nevins (Documentary Filmmaking) 


KEY WEST FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES golden key honors for costume design and documentary 


Key West, FL October 5, 2023 — The Key West Film Festival announced today the recipients of its 8th annual Golden Key for Excellence in Costume Design, and 2nd annual Golden Key Award for Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking.

The recipients this year are Academy Award winning Costume Designer Jacqueline Durran and Academy Award winning Executive, Director and Producer, Sheila Nevins.

Jacqueline Durran’s most recent work can be seen in the record-breaking, billion-dollar box office smash Barbie.

As part of the honor, Durran will participate in a discussion of her work, to be moderated by Stephanie Zacharek of Time. Ms. Durran will accept her award in person at the festival, which will feature a pre-recorded presentation by Oscar nominated Costume Designer, Dr. Deborah Nadoolman Landis. Past recipients of the award include Mary Zophres, Mark Bridges, Alexandra Byrne, Arianne Phillips, Jamison-Tanchuck, Paul Tazwell, and Jennifer Johnson.

Sheila Nevins, an industry icon whose recent credits include the Academy Award nominated documentary Ascension (2021) and the current Oscar contender The Eternal Memory,  will be joined by award winning director Erin Lee Carr, winner of the inaugural KWFF Documentary Award, for a conversation via satellite. Following the talk, the festival will present the Florida premiere of the short film, The ABC’s of Book Banning, directed by Nevins, which centers on the book banning efforts of a school district in central Florida.

In addition to Barbie, Jacqueline Durran previously collaborated with director Greta Gerwig on Little Women which garnered Durran the Academy and BAFTA Awards for Best Costume Design, as well as Chicago Film Critics Association and Critics’ Choice Award nominations. Durran previously won the Academy and BAFTA Award for Best Costume for Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina.

Durran’s many other collaborations with director Joe Wright comprise most recently Cyrano for which she was nominated for an Academy and Costume Designers Guild Award; Darkest Hour which garnered her both Academy and BAFTA nominations; PanThe SoloistAtonement for which she received Academy, BAFTA, Satellite and Costume Designers Guild Award nominations, and Pride and Prejudice for which Durran also received Academy and BAFTA Award nominations.

Sheila Nevins is an Executive Producer for MTV Documentary Films. Sheila is the former president of HBO Documentary Films and Family Programming for Home Box Office. At HBO, she was responsible for overseeing the development and production of more than 1500 programs for HBO, HBO2 and Cinemax.

She has received 32 Primetime Emmy® Awards, 35 News and Documentary Emmys® and 42 George Foster Peabody Awards.  During her tenure, HBO’s critically acclaimed documentaries won 26 Academy Awards®. She has been honored with numerous prestigious career achievement awards, including the 2018 Realscreen Legacy Award and the 2017 DOC NYC Lifetime Achievement Award.  She is the recipient of the Governors Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and is a NYU Tisch School of the Arts Honoree. Women in Film presented Sheila with a Lucy Award for her outstanding achievements in advancing documentary filmmaking and the National Board of Review presented her with the Humanitarian Award for her contribution to the advancement of social reforms and the promotion of human welfare through film.  

Michael Tuckman, Director of Programming of the Key West Film Festival, commented " Jacqueline and Sheila stand at the apex of their fields. Sheila has been a trailblazer in documentary filmmaking for over five decades, constantly pushing and redefining the boundaries of the genre, and kicking down a glass door that opened opportunities for so many women in the field in particular. Jacqueline has given particular emphasis to creating the characters of so many powerful women in film, from Anna Karenina to the March family to Barbie herself, in her many iterations. It’s an absolute honor to recognize and highlight the work of these incredible women.” 

Visit  for full program information – which will be announced on October 19, along with a schedule of events and travel and lodging details.

Honoring creativity, diversity, sustainability and beauty, the Key West Film Festival is an annual celebration of film and filmmakers set to take place November 15-19, 2023. A diverse, entertaining and artistically rigorous selection of films will be represented through a broad array of categories that offer opportunities for filmmakers, both aspiring and established, to commune and exchange ideas while showing their work to audiences in an historic and artistically vibrant tropical paradise.  

For more information, visit our website:

Twitter - @keywestfilmfest
Instagram - @keywestfilmfestival
Facebook - Key West Film Festival#kwff #kwff2023 


Emma Griffiths (EG PR)/  

YOUNG PLATO will have a Theatrical release in NEW YORK (Angelika Film Center) and Boston (Dedham Community Theater) on Friday, September 23


Young Plato Poster





At Holy Cross Boys School in Belfast, Northern Ireland schoolyard conflicts are resolved at the Philosophy board where the youngsters learn to reason and think for themselves. School Principal Kevin McArevey, a Stoic who sings along to Elvis Presley, is rocking the status quo by teaching Philosophy to students in a community plagued by urban decay, sectarian violence, poverty and drugs. In an atmosphere of deep caring and support, his students learn new ways to manage their emotions based on Ancient texts. YOUNG PLATO  deftly addresses the social division and intergenerational trauma of a city divided by Peace Walls where "the troubles" are more than a memory in a story filled with the mischievous charm of young boys learning to question the mythologies of war and violence.  "Young Plato" shines a positive light on contemporary Northern Ireland, offering a model for building a culture of peace in these troubling times.

YOUNG PLATO - Awards and Festivals
World Premiere at DOC NYC 2021.  Winner of nine (9) international and Irish awards, including the Irish Film & Television Academy Award for Best Feature Doc 2022, presented by Michael Moore.  Selected for nearly 40 festivals worldwide.

Neasa Ní Chianáín (Director) is one of Ireland's most established documentary talents and has directed four features, four shorts and a TV  series. Neasa was named one of Europe's 10 most promising women directors at the Sydney Film Festival's 'Europe! Voices of Women in Film' program. Immediately prior to “Young Plato” Neasa directed 'In Loco Parentis' (aka 'School Life' ) a Magnolia Pictures release which premiered at IDFA 2016 and Sundance 2017. Awards: Special Jury Prize, Golden Gate Awards, San Francisco Film Festival; Audience Award, Visions du Réel, Nyon.  Directing credits: ‘Frank Ned & Busy Lizzie,’ ‘Fairytale of Kathmandu,’ and 'The Stranger.'  Neasa is currently in post-production on a new feature documentary, 'The Alexander Complex.’

Declan McGrath (Director) is a Belfast based filmmaker and a Director of the feature documentary YOUNG PLATO. Declan is also the Director of the award-winning 'Lomax in Éirinn ' (TG4) which screened at festivals worldwide and 'Mary McAleese & The Man Who Saved Europe  '(RTE, BBC).  He has written two books on the craft of filmmaking (Screencraft: Editing & Post Productions and Screencraft: Scriptwriting), both translated into 5 languages. He is also a regular contributor to the New York film journal Cineaste. Additional directing credits include:  'My Struggle For Life,' Tír Eoghain: The Unbreakable  Bond’ 'Women Of The Oireachtas.

Kevin McArevey (Protagonist) has been Headmaster at Holy Cross Boys School in Ardoyne, North Belfast, Northern Ireland for the last 10 years.

US Theatrical release supported by Screen Ireland and Meath County Council, and by our coproduction partners, Aisling Productions, Clin D’Oeil Films and Zadig Productions. 


Emma Griffiths (EG PR)

Bill Russell’s Impact on me and The Pan African Film Festival


I am Ayuko Babu, Executive Director of the Pan African Film Festival. Brother Bill Russell had a profound impact on my life. When I played center on my high school team in Cheyenne, Wyoming, we won the Wyoming State Championship and I won a full scholarship to the University of Wyoming and Otero Junior College in La Junta, Colorado (where the new Laker head coach Darvin Ham played before he moved on to Texas Tech and pro ball.) I moved on to play at LA City College and joined the civil rights/Black Power Movement. I had patterned my whole basketball game after Brother Bill, especially in defense. At that time, Cheyenne had no television station, so I religiously listened to the broadcasts of all Bill's games when they aired on the radio in Cheyenne. When able, I watched Bill and the other bad brothers on the Boston Celtics on television by antenna from Denver, Colorado.  He had a major impact on me. The way he looked and carried himself was noble. With his goatee and mustache and his 6’10” muscular frame, he looked like an African chief.

When I came out to Los Angeles in July 1962, I went to see Bill and the Boston Celtics play the Lakers at the old Sports Arena, which was new at the time. A friend of mine, Gene Wiley, was playing center for the Lakers. Brother Gene was from Amarillo, Texas, where I was born and lived until my family moved to Cheyenne. Gene got me tickets to see that game. Needless to say, it was an incredible game. I learned many invaluable basketball lessons that night watching Bill and Gene battle.  

Even at that time, I knew Bill was very much into Pan Africanism; not only basketball. He had bought a rubber plantation in the Republic of Liberia (West Africa). After the game, I was hoping to talk to Bill for a few minutes. So my brother Jaheed and I waited outside the locker room for him to come out. When he finally came through the door and into the hallway, I spoke to him and he smiled. I asked him about his rubber plantation in Liberia. He was happy to know that I knew about it. He stood there and talked to me and my brother for about an hour about the plantation and its operation. He proudly told us he had 200 workers and when he realized that his workers needed a school to increase their education and level of development, he built a school for them. It was my first experience speaking with someone who actually had a successful project and a program on the Continent. I was spellbound. During our encounter, Bill never spoke about the game we had just seen or basketball in general. His entire enthusiastic conversation was about the plantation and the incredible possibilities that these kinds of projects could open up for Black folks. 

Needless to say, he fueled my determination and drive to be a part of the Pan African experience. He became the role model that led me to facilitate Brother Stevie Wonder’s first trip to Africa to perform at the 2nd World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture in Lagos, Nigeria in 1977. The Grammy organization flew to Nigeria to broadcast Stevie's performance and to present his Grammys in Lagos. The performance, directed and produced by Stan Lathan, was broadcast to a worldwide TV audience of 90 million people. Stevie performed his famous song Sir Duke with his band and Duke Ellington’s band and the George Faison dancers. It was Bill's influence and that early conversation after the Laker/Celtic game that spurred me on to bring the world-famous dance company Les Ballets Africains from the Republic of Guinea to perform at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Bill's impact was so inspirational to me that I, along with actress, singer and composer Ja’Net DuBois and actor Danny Glover, was able to create The Pan African Film Festival, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2022. This is the kind of impact that Pan Africanist Bill Russell had on my life and will continue to have on my life.

KDMG, Inc. Brings Moving Coming of Age Drama “Icon” to Audiences Everywhere this August

KDMG, Inc. Acquires Filmmaker Tony Ahedo's Touching Feature Film “Icon”  for North American VOD/Digital & Blu-Ray/DVD August 1st Release 

(Los Angeles, CA—July 11, 2022) KDMG, Inc. (Kaczmarek Digital Media Group, Inc.) has acquired the Pretty Sweet Films’ production of filmmaker Tony Ahedo’s touching feature film debut  “Icon.” This moving coming of age drama charts the perilous journey to adulthood for our charismatic leads Sam (Parker Padgett) and Ana (Devon Hales). KDMG, Inc. will release “Icon” across all TVOD/Digital and Blu-Ray/DVD platforms throughout North America on August 1, 2022.

Young love’s the topic of so many films, but rarely is it handled with earnest, authentic grace, as we see in “Icon”. Anchored in the touching performances of Padgett and Hales, audiences will find themselves moved much like fellow beloved indie film “The Spectacular Now.” When a surprise pregnancy forces Sam to face many brutal realities of adulthood and responsibility, things spiral rapidly out of control as he simultaneously tries to fight to find his own truth: why his absent father hasn’t been in his life since he was one and is only a fading memory.

Icon” was inspired by a true story and stars Parker Padgett (“Surviving Lunch”) and Devon Hales (Netflix’s “Teenage Bounty Hunters,” “Stan Against Evil”), along with Julia Denton (“The Fundamentals of Caring,” “Geostorm”), Tony Demil (Succession,” “Zola”), Bryce Anthony Heller (“Education in Love,”  “Cobra’s World”), and the feature film debut of Ronald Sansone.

“I am excited for audiences everywhere to see the film and prompt important conversations. My intent is to show the male perspective to a pregnancy in such a way that illuminates the idealization of patriarchy and toxic masculine views of the past and how we move beyond it,” stated Ahedo.

Adapted from an award-winning short that won the presidents’ award at Ringling College of Art & Design, “Icon” was filmed in Ahedo’s hometown of Saint Petersburg, Florida, just prior to the pandemic. The story pulls elements from his childhood growing up in the mid 90’s through the early 2000s in Florida.

“It's not often we see a good coming-of-age film that breaks down the fundamentals of teen adolescence in a relatable way,” stated KDMG, Inc.’s CEO, Kyle Kaczmarek . “I felt this story had an audience and needed to be seen. On behalf of myself and the KDMG team, I am thrilled to be part of Icon's journey.”

Cinematographer Harrison Stagner (“Rosary, Fiona Humphrey: A Family Album,” “Stubbz”), utilized different cameras to best embody the film’s timelines. A Canon C200 was used for the 2010 timeline and BMCC4K with a vintage 60’s lens for the 90’s timeline. “Icon” also features a moving original score by Chris Carlone (“The Red Cocoon,” “Highway to Havasu”).

Terese Linden Kohn, Founder of Talk Global Media, negotiated on behalf of the film with Kyle Kaczmarek, CEO of KDMG.

About KDMG, Inc.:
Kaczmarek Digital Media Group, Inc. 
(KDMG, Inc.) was founded in 2012 to provide a non-traditional, outside the box, hands-on digital approach to entertainment content providers. Deeply passionate about our work, KDMG counsels individuals and companies in all areas of the entertainment industry, including producers, directors, distributors, technology companies, digital retail platforms, sales agents, and cable, telecommunications and satellite companies toward achieving their highest potential.

About Pretty Sweet Films:
Pretty Sweet Films is a full-service narrative production company founded by award-winning filmmaker Tony Ahedo based in Los Angeles. Since its inception in 2019, the company has created and collaborated on a wide variety of projects across the country. From romantic coming of age films to raunchy dark comedies to chilling horror thrillers, PSF is prepared to make any story a compelling piece for the eyes and mind. With more than a decade of production experience, PSF is here to make films pretty sweet.

About TALK Global Media
TALK is veteran sales executive Terese Ann Linden Kohn's global sales agency whose years of indie sales and distribution experience has provided the global marketplaces with quality film, television and new media content.  Representing all genres and numerous libraries for all rights and windows, TALK takes pride in the transparency and service it provides to filmmakers, distributors and programmers around the world.