Los Angeles, CA – It’s a simple matter of economics and infrastructure. Those are the basic reasons behind the move of the film festival portion of the Pan African Film and Art Festival from the Magic Johnson theaters in the Crenshaw Mall to the Culver Plaza Theater on the Los Angeles/Culver City border.
” . . . the cost to rent the theater has become prohibitive; it’s been going up, and we can no longer afford to go there based on the services we are given,” explained Ayuko Babu, festival co-founder.
The decision to move from its home of about 10 years has been months in the process, but it is not something Babu is happy about.
“I don’t really want to move from the center of the community; Crenshaw and King is in the center of the Black community, but it costs too much to use the theater,” added Babu.
The need to survive economically, combined with the lack of infrastructure of multiple restaurants, night spots and after-hours venues prompted organizers to relocate the film festival to the outer edge of Herb Wesson’s 10th Council District.
“That’s part of the general problem in the Black community–no infrastructure. There are no restaurants or bars where people can go and have lunch or dinner,” continued Babu. “If they’re going to see an 8 p.m., film they might want to go to dinner at 6 p.m.”
And while Babu acknowledged the presence of establishments such as Harold and Belle’s, he said that his audiences and the dignitaries the festival attracts may also want to go out after a film, and there are just no places to go in the areas after midnight.
Additionally, at the Culver Plaza, the festival coordinator said they will have full control of the theater which will enable PAFF to create the kind of ambiance that truly showcases the films. That might include serving Afro-Cuban food or playing jazz, R & B or African music in the facility as people mingle in the lobby waiting for a movie to start.
Babu said the other consideration for the festival was making sure that the films are shown on first-class (state of the art) sound and video equipment, and that was just not available anywhere else in the community.
Although the film festival is moving, Babu said the art show will continue at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza at the same time as the festival.
The 2009 festival runs Feb. 5-16 from 10 a.m. to midnight, and ticket prices will remain the same.
For additional information about the film festival and art show, go to the web site www.paff.org.