October 11, 2012

The Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) has announced its call for submissions. The 21st annual PAFF will be held on February 7-18, 2013 in Los Angeles. Currently, PAFF officials are accepting submissions of independent features, shorts, narratives and documentary films made by or about people of African descent, though it is not a requirement that filmmakers are of African descent, they said.

“Films can be of any genre -- drama, comedy, horror, adventure, animation, romance, science fiction, experimental, etc.,” officials said.

“[They] should preferably depict positive and realistic images. The film festival will accept submissions of works in progress; however, the final version of the film must be completed no later than January 5, 2013…”

Over the years, PAFF has showcased films from all parts of the world, representing such countries as Angola, Austria, England, Bermuda, Canada, Egypt, Ethiopia, Brazil, Kenya, Mexico, South Africa, Nigeria, and the United States.

“Over the years, the filmmakers from around the world have become more sophisticated in telling their stories,” says Asantewa Olatunji, the director of programming for PAFF.

Last year, more than 40,000 folks attended the festival, and were the first to see a string of highly-anticipated films, including Screen Gems’  “Think Like a Man,” based on the New York Times best-selling book by radio host/comic Steve Harvey. Directed by Tim Story and written by Keith Merryman and David A. Newman, the romantic comedy has grossed nearly 100 million dollars in its theatrical run, making it one of the highest grossing films with a predominantly African American cast.

“This is certainly proof that Black audiences will respond to good stories and positive depictions of ourselves on the big screen,” added Olatunji.

The PAFF competition categories are: Best Narrative Feature, Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary, Best Director -- First Feature, plus, Audience Favorite Awards for Narrative Feature and Favorite Documentary. Films in competition must be copyrighted no earlier than 2012. With the exception of Audience Favorite Awards, all films are judged by industry professionals, selected by PAFF. In addition to competition awards, other programming and festival special prizes will be awarded.

For information about the festival, submission procedures, fees and registration, visit www.paff.org or call 310. 337-4737. Submissions will be accepted from July 2, 2012 through October 15, 2012. Late submissions will be accepted until November 21, 2012 and December 1, 2012 for international entries. Official selection announcements will be made beginning December 15, 2012.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

October 11, 2012

LAWT Wire Service


OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network announced an exclusive partnership with Tyler Perry, the award winning actor, director, screenwriter, playwright and producer, to become his singular destination for all new television series and projects, including two new scripted series for the network to premiere in mid 2013. These will be the first original scripted series for OWN and Perry will executive produce, write and direct both series.

The announcement comes as the network closed its third consecutive quarter of year-over-year, double-digit ratings gains across primetime and total day in the key women 25-54 demo (+63percent and +70 percent respectively) and saw triple-digit ratings growth in September.

OWN network officials have said that they felt targeting an underserved African-American audience may be the best opportunity for the network to sustain growth. OWN has produced ratings winners with “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” and interview specials with artist Rihanna.

Perry’s popular television series “Tyler Perry's House of Payne” “Meet The Browns” and “For Better Or Worse” have been massive hits with record-breaking ratings. Perry had his first foray into television in 2007 with the hit series “House of Payne,” which premiered as cable’s biggest comedy debut ever. The series remained basic cable’s top-rated sitcom only until the premiere of Perry’s second series “Meet The Browns.”

“I have been looking forward to the day when we would be in the position to enter the world of scripted television. That day has come,” said Oprah Winfrey, CEO, OWN. “We are all energized by the opportunity to collaborate with Tyler who has a proven track record for producing highly successful cable series. He has an incredible ability to illuminate life stories and characters in his unique voice and inspires and encourages people all over the world.”

“It’s a dream realized to partner with Oprah and bring scripted programming to OWN,” stated Perry. “She has accomplished so much with the network and I’m excited to work with her to be a part of its continued growth.”

“Bringing Tyler Perry exclusively to OWN is a major coup. Today’s announcement demonstrates the power of the Oprah brand to attract some of the biggest names in television and film to OWN,” said David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery Communications. “OWN’s growth over the past nine months has been nothing short of phenomenal and, with the continued support of our advertising and affiliate Partners, this bold move into scripted entertainment positions OWN to continue that momentum going forward.”

OWN’s flagship series “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” featuring Winfrey’s interviews with top news-making celebrities, has given the network its highest ratings ever, hitting No. 1 in its time period in all of cable multiple times. The fall premiere of the OWN original primetime series “Iyanla: Fix My Life” featuring life coach Iyanla Vanzant garnered the network’s highest rated series debut in network history and the return of the popular family docu-series “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” hit an all-time series high. In addition, the thought-provoking documentary series “Our America with Lisa Ling” recently wrapped its summer season posting triple-digit gains versus year ago numbers.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

October 11, 2012



This week should bring an opportunity to further your education, don’t pass it up. Pay special attention to details at work. A friend needs your support. Find joy in giving it. Soul Affirmation: All things work together for good.



Your leadership skills are shining this week, so get out there and glimmer with good vibrations. Others are looking to you for guidance and as a path to follow. Let your journey through the week provide a good model. Soul Affirmation: I let worry fly away.



You are brilliant this week as you gather materials and resources together for an important project. There’s a good probability for wonderful news late in the afternoon. Ride the vibes and be gentle with your own feelings. Soul Affirmation: There are plenty of fish in the sea waiting for me.



A date or meeting that is unexpectedly cancelled may make someone very unhappy. Recognize that all things work for good, and that a better solution is being provided in the space between what you think you want and what you are getting. Soul Affirmation: This week silence speaks loudest and truest.



Serenity is yours as you realize you can get what you need. It’s coming and you deserve it! Take a few quiet moments this week to listen to your inner voice. It will give you a powerful hint about what activities you should be pursuing right now. Soul Affirmation: I let positive emotions carry me through the week.



In all of the hustle and bustle of the week this week, take some time to observe the Now. There’s a great deal to be thankful for! A great idea could come to you when you are out with friends. Soul Affirmation: I celebrate with those around me.



Relax the grip you have on your attitudes this week, and just go with the flow. Ease up in full knowledge that goodness is being perfectly fulfilled. Let go of any feelings of insecurity or loss and bless the perfect moment. Soul Affirmation: I quiet all confusion



Exhilaration is high and your mental abilities are amazing. Use your intuition to brainstorm your way to a highly creative idea that could change the way you make your living. Soul Affirmation: I give thanks for the chance to give.



What you say and what you do are in harmony this week. The importance of your idea(s) comes through very clearly to others. They can see that you walk what you talk. Communicate your ideas through your values. Soul Affirmation: I give thanks for the goodness in people.



If you feel as if the vibes this week are mixed at best, make up your mind to only receive the positive ones. Tune the transmitter in your soul to life and give your spiritual a workout. You are in charge of who you are. Soul Affirmation: I see myself as a finisher rather than a starter this week.



A benefit arrives, and there’s good reason to celebrate. Claim your blessing and do the happy dance! Loving, supportive friends surround you, and family members are well behaved. Enjoy! Soul Affirmation: I speak my mind knowing that truth is my best defense this week.



Look forward to some pleasant news. There is every possibility for a renewed love affair or a refreshing new romantic interest. Free yourself from the past and make a fresh start. Soul Affirmation: I see myself as a finisher rather than a starter this week.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

October 11, 2012

LAWT Wire Service


The Grammy Foundation is currently accepting applications for its 2012 Grammy Camp, Grammy Camp Jazz Session and Grammy Signature Schools programs for high school music programs. These programs are part of the Foundation's GRAMMY in the Schools® offerings and are supported in part by Best Buy and Converse.

"Grammy Camp and Grammy Camp  Jazz Session allow high school students to experience firsthand what it feels like to have a career in the music industry, and our GRAMMY Signature Schools program provides generous financial resources to high schools for the benefit of their music programs," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy® and the GRAMMY Foundation.

"These Grammy in the Schools initiatives are helping to inspire and educate the next generation of music makers."

Students and schools interested in participating in the 2013 Grammy Camp — Jazz Session and Grammy Signature Schools programs can apply at www.grammyintheschools.com. Completed applications are due Oct. 22 for both programs. Oct. 22 is also the early decision deadline for students interested in attending the 9th annual Grammy Camp to be held in summer 2013. Early decision applicants will receive a 10 percent tuition discount if selected to attend GRAMMY Camp. They receive this discount whether they are selected as part of the early decision process or drawn from the regular applicant pool. Applicants not selected via early decision will be reconsidered with the final pool of applications. The final Grammy Camp application deadline is March 31, 2013. In the past, approximately 75 percent of Grammy Camp participants who have applied for financial aid received assistance.

The Grammy Foundation is also pleased to announce that recordings from the jazz program can now be purchased on iTunes, Amazon.com and other online music outlets. Albums released from 2007–2012 are now available for download. These projects were recorded at the world-famous Capitol Recording Studios (EMI Music) in Hollywood, Calif., by Grammy-winning engineers Manny Marroquin and Al Schmitt, and mastered by GRAMMY winner Bernie Grundman.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

October 11, 2012

By Joy Childs

LAWT Contributing Writer


It truly was an artful night, as the Friends of the California African American Museum (CAAM) feted legendary actor Sidney Poitier and acclaimed artist John Outterbridge with Lifetime Achievement awards at the foundation’s seventh annual black-tie fundraiser this past Saturday.  CAAM’s main hall was transformed into an elegantly glamorous and festive venue, with pristine white tablecloths and dainty bright burgundy flowers adorning the tables.

A diverse group of hundreds of dinner guests turned out to honor the two and to also support the museum, which is a huge source of community pride, at the event called “An Artful Evening at CAAM.”  Celebrities who came out to salute the honorees and to support CAAM’s outreach missions — Mentoring Generations Program, the Young Docent High School Intern Program, and the Busses and Docents Program (the last of which provides transportation service for Title I schools that otherwise could not afford a field trip to CAAM) — included Larkin Arnold, Clarence Avant, Howard Bingham, Bernie Casey, Art Hillery, Dawnn Lewis and Larenz Tate.

The excitement that comes with being in the in-crowd and honoring an acting gem like Mr. Poitier was palpable — from CCH Pounder, the Emmy®-nominated actress who hosted the event and welcomed the crowd to former First A.M.E. pastor Cecil “Chip” Murray standing up for the requisite invocation to the scrumptious dinner catered by Wolfgang Puck.  

A little while later, several young docents who’ll no doubt directly benefit from the fundraiser proudly shared their life-changing experiences and career goals.

CAAM Executive Director Charmaine Jefferson beamed with pride as she told of how the funds raised by CAAM and its 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization Friends of CAAM support the state-supported institution’s missions and goals.  CAAM hosts around 10 in-house curated and/or traveling exhibitions and more than 80 public programs each year. 

As Councilman Bernard C. Parks explained:  “We work very closely with CAAM because they used to be in our district … This is a place that really is our legacy for this city and the nation.  It’s the only place you can find the concentration of African American art, culture and history in one place …  And for those who are unfamiliar or who came along after the struggle, this is the place for them to get a tremendous education about our past … ”  Though he’d met Poitier only once, when jokingly asked about his favorite Sidney Poitier movie moment, Parks responded, “a scene in ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’ ”!

The reigning grand dame of stage and screen, Diahann Carroll, who’s known Poitier since both were starting in the business (he was in the historic Negro Ensemble Company  while she was in the Actor’s Studio: “I already knew how to be a Negro,” she quipped), says it was important for her to be there primarily because of him.

Her favorite Poitier movie moment?  She said she’d seen all his movies and, because the two are friends, they’d discussed many of them, so she couldn’t name her absolute favorite, sighing, “There were just too many of them.”

Jackée Harry, the diva behind “227,” then “Sister, Sister,” told of meeting Poitier when he was in New York casting young people for a movie. She was 15 at the time.  The star looked her straight in the eye and told her, “You know you’re going to be famous,” as she nervously shivered inside. Many, many years later, at a time that she would have sworn he didn’t know her from Tom’s house cat, she ran into him at an event and he said to her, “I met you when you were just 15!” She chuckled at the memory, going on to reveal that she’s just learned in an elevator ride with Poitier and Carroll that at one time the three had lived in the same building in Hollywood — Joan Collins too!

Talented actor Larenz Tate said his favorite Poitier movie moment was from “In the Heat of the Night” when Poitier declares, “They call me Mr. Tibbs.” As Tate saw the movie just recently, he noted: “It’s such a strong moment in the film but it was such a strong moment in our culture for someone to stand up and say, ‘Recognize who I am.’ ”

When called to accept the award, Mr. Poitier graciously thanked his forebears for giving him the strength to do what he’s done and what he will do — and, the actor added, it was always his intent to be famous!

Right on point!




Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

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