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Docu planned on the Paul Robeson Award at next Fespaco


The Paul Robeson Award Initiative (PRAI) has announced its intent to make a documentary about the behind-the-scenes activities of the 2005 Paul Robeson Award at the Pan African Film and Television Festival Ouagadougou (FESPACO), in Burkina Faso, West Africa.

FESPACO takes place in the Burkina Faso’s capital city, Ouagadougou, February
26-March 5, 2005. During next years FESPACO festivities, “The Best of the
Best” competition will be initiated and delivered by the American based PRAI
team. PRAI is a group of film and video enthusiasts, whose membership transverses the globe, AKA “the Diaspora.” Their mission is to find a viable way to assure the preservation and permanent offering of the Paul Robeson Award at future FESPACO events. The Paul Robeson award began in 1987, to pay tribute to the legacy of the world’s treasure the late great Paul Robeson. Paul Robeson was one of the most visible, influential and most admired artists of his day. His accomplishments as an actor, linguist, cultural scholar, international activist, author and sports legend brought him worldwide acclaim. Many consider his immense talents to be, "The Best of the Best.”

FESPACO 2005: THE BEST OF THE BEST The Documentary will feature the fifteen
competitors for the Paul Robeson Award (contestants to be announced December
2004). The intent is to follow their path to the audience tracks the trials and tribulations of wonders, “Who will be the winner?”

With West Africa as a backdrop, this film offers an introspective glance into
the dynamics of Africa, its Diaspora and the international filmmaking
community. Through the use of interviews and historical documentation, the film seeks to bring to light the rifts between people so alike and yet so different, as well as provide a means for discussion and consolidation. ”It is our desire to find the path to healing and reconnect Africans along the Middle Passage.
Perhaps it is through film that we will rediscover the ties that bind our past
and secure the adhesive for working together in the future.” Stated, Professor
C. Sade Turnipseed, Managing Director of PRAI.

FESPACO 2005: THE BEST OF THE BEST The Documentary will also include
interviews of past Paul Robeson award recipients, as well as interviews from FESPACO officials and Paul Robeson Award Initiative members. Past Paul Robeson Award recipients include: Raoul Peck’s Lumumba (Haiti, awarded 2001), Guy Deslauriers’ Líexil du Roi Behanzin (Martinique, awarded 1995), Raquel Gerber’s Ori (Brazil, awarded 1989), and John Akomfrah’s Handsworth Songs (UK, awarded 1987).

FESPACO and Paul Robeson Award Initiative members to be interviewed include:
Blaise Compaore, President of Burkina Faso, Baba Hama, the Director General of
FESPACO, Maya Angelou, & William Greaves Co-Chairs PRAI Board of Trustees,
Haile Gerima, filmmaker & founder of the Paul Robeson Award, Paul Robeson Jr.,
and others, including: Ex-patriot Geronimo ji Jaga Pratt, Ella Joyce, actor, DC Curry, comedian and many more. Actor, Danny Glover will narrate this
extraordinary documentary, which is to be directed by Kevin Arkadie, best known for his work as an executive producer and writer. Some of his credits include “NYPD Blue,” “NY Undercover,” “Chicago Hope,” “Soul Food,” and “The Shield.”
With a diverse and talented crew of directors, producers, writers,
cinematographers, and actors, the Paul Robeson Award Initiative committee is well equipped to document the first ever “Best of the Best” award set in the exciting urroundings of FESPACO. Look out for FESPACO 2005: THE BEST OF THE BEST The Documentary, which will surely deliver the best of the best in people, culture, film, overall artistic brilliance and magic of the African Diaspora!

The FESPACO: PAUL ROBESON AWARD INITIATIVE is physically and spiritually
supported by several wonderful volunteers, who have come together in the virtual world to form the fabulous “Diaspora” and fiscally sponsored by KHAFRE a Mississippi-based non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization.

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