For Immediate Release
TORONTO – Following a sold-out Opening Night of the 28th Pan African Film and Arts Festival (PAFF) with more than 1000 patrons at the Director’s Guild of America in West Hollywood, and two subsequent packed screenings, Frances-Anne Solomon’s HERO was awarded the newly created Ja’Net Feature Narrative Award, renamed in honour of PAFF co-founder, Ja’Net Dubois. The well-loved actress and songwriter, who sadly passed away unexpectedly during this year’s festival, was best known for her role as Willona in the TV series, Good Times.
“We are proud to be the recipient of this inaugural award in honour of Ja’Net. Hero is a film about a Pan African trailblazer and it resonated deeply with audiences at this festival,” says Frances-Anne Solomon, who wrote, produced and directed the film. “It spoke to the heart of what PAFF is about, and connected the dots for many people who lived this history and were not aware of the pivotal role that many Caribbean professionals like Ulric Cross played in the Pan-African Liberation movements.”
PAFF is the largest Black film festival in the United States and the largest Black History Month cultural event in the nation. It ran from February 11th to February 23rd. A record-breaking 225 films were selected for screening, 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.
HERO is inspired by the extraordinary life and times of Trinidad and Tobago citizen, diplomat and judge Ulric Cross, the most decorated West Indian of World War II. He was a member of the highly decorated group of Caribbean pilots who flew combat missions for the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force (RAF) in World War II. After his service, Cross went on to play an active and important role in the Pan African Movement, which led to the Civil Rights movement in the United States, and the creation of the 28 modern Caribbean and 54 modern African nations.
Funded by Canada’s Telefilm and Trinidad’s Republic Bank, HERO boasts an all-star international cast that includes Trinidad and Tobago’s Nickolai Salcedo , in the lead role of Ulric Cross, alongside Canada’s Peter Williams ( Stargate SG1 ), UK stars Joseph Marcell ( Fresh Prince of Bel Air ), Fraser James ( Resident Evil ), Pippa Nixon ( John Carter ), and Ghanaian superstars John Dumelo, Adjetey Anang and Prince David Oseia. HERO’s Opening Night screening at PAFF, was supported by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts; Imagine Media; CaribbeanTales; and California Pictures.
A trailblazer in the film and television industry , Frances-Anne Solomon is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, producer, curator and entrepreneur. She is a 2019 Director member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. HERO is her third feature film and has received critical acclaim on its worldwide tour, that has included a theatrical run in the U.K. Following a successful career as a TV Drama Producer and Executive Producer with the BBC in England, Solomon launched the CaribbeanTales Media Group in Canada and Barbados that includes an international film festival and distribution company. Full bio: www.francesannesolomon.com
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CaribbeanTales (CTMG) is a group of media companies that producers, markets, exhibits and distributes Caribbean-themed films from around the world, including CaribbeanTales Inc. – a registered Charity in Canada and CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution. Activities include The CaribbeanTales International Film Festival (CTFF), now in its 15th year; the renowned CaribbeanTales Incubator Program (CTI) – a year-round development and production hub for Caribbean, Diaspora, and diverse Producers; CaribbeanTales-TV, a VOD streaming service; and CaribbeanTalesFlix, its production arm. More at www.caribbeantales.org
About California Pictures:
California Pictures was originally founded in 1944 by Howard Hughes and Academy Award winner Preston Sturges and reincorporated in 2008 by Steven Istock. The company is focused on creating great movies and television content with dynamic characters, strong and personally identifiable themes and powerful journeys for a worldwide audience. California Pictures is an international production and distribution company, exhibiting and selling independent films across the world. They produce and sell films at the Cannes, American, Berlin and Hong Kong film markets and represent a diverse group of filmmakers and projects from around the world including England, China, India, Jamaica, Mongolia, Canada, Denmark, Australia, South Africa, Scotland, Nigeria, Russia, Barbados, Columbia and Cambodia.
About Imagine Media
Imagine Media International Limited is an award winning, full-service, production company based in Trinidad and Tobago and South Africa. Founded by award-winning Producer-Director & Media Personality Lisa Wickham, the company provides content creation across all media platforms, event management, marketing & PR services, graphic design and training & consultancy. Imagine Media has developed and coordinated projects in Europe, North America, Africa and several Caribbean countries.