Monday, October 20, 2008



Vancouver, B.C. October 20, 2008..Nanaimo native Ebony Johnson has combined her award-winning talent - and personal tragedies - to communicate with a passion for her African roots, and to produce the second annual Vancouver Pan-African Film and Arts Festival to be held October 24 to 26 in Vancouver. With cutting-edge films, a moving concert of African music, panel discussions, workshops and dance, Ms. Johnson plans to make this year’s Festival the best yet. Advance Tickets online at

“With the Province of British Columbia and both the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby declaring October 24 to 26 as “Kinship Day”, and the generous support of our sponsors, my goal of building bridges between cultures is closer than ever” said Ms. Johnson, who also speaks French and Japanese and hosts her own world beat music show on-line Afrobeat. “The purpose of the VPAFF is to promote Canada’s cultural diversity and to build community through the arts”.

Last year’s inaugural VPAFF (held October 26 & 27) was a great success - and an historic event. It was endorsed by all levels of government, including Her Excellency the Governor General of Canada, Michaelle Jean. Moreover, the event attracted international attention to Vancouver, and included government delegates from Africa and the U.S., as well as distinguished guests, Ambassador Andrew Young and entourage, renowned American filmmaker Charles Burnett, and Government of Namibia officials.

The 2008 VPAFF runs from Friday October 24 (United Nations Day) through Sunday October 26. The program includes:

FRIDAY OCTOBER 24: Hosted by Jamaican-born and Canadian Raised Denis Simpson – award-winning actor

5:30 pm – to 10:30 pm – Gallery Gachet – 88 East Cordova Street, Vancouver

Star-Studded Opening Night & Fundraising Festivities: An exciting evening of fun, food, music, dance and film. Hollywood star and human rights activist Danny Glover is expected to introduce his new film, Poor Boy’s Game. Other entertainment includes Vancouver based DJ Diallo who will heat up the dance floor with the best of traditional, modern and everything between from across the African continent, and an invigorating Zulu dance inviting lively audience participation through call and response, led by famous African dancer/choreographer Bheki Ndlovu. Raffle items include, wine, gift baskets full of African products, pizza cooking stone and pizza wheel, and beautiful Zimbabwean sculpture donated by Stone Age Art and a two nights’ stay at the Tropicana Suite Hotel Vancouver and more. 5:30 PM to 10 pm, Gallery Gachet, 88 East Cordova St. Tickets $35 on-line: (Tix includes VIP Reception entry and Opening film)

SATURDAY OCTOBER 25: Harbour Centre SFU Downtown, 515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

11 am to 7 pm – Fletcher Challenge Theatre

Films: The festival premieres the screening of Jason E. Sims The Obama Exeprience, a brilliant 3D-Short animation inspired by the ground breaking efforts of the Barack Obama campaign, Senator Obama Goes to Africa – Directed by Bob Hercules and produced by Keith Walker. Narrated by Barack Obama, the documentary, this film chronicles his return to his paternal family's roots on an emotional journey to Africa. It’s Time African Women Join Hands against Domestic Violence, Produced and Directed by Steven Hunt, and co-presented with the Law Courts Educational Society of BC. From Under the Bushy Trees, directed by Moira Simpson and Jan Padgett, this is a feature length documentary that explores how to deliver aid to Africa with justice and dignity. Bavubuka All Stars, by Canadian Aaron Elton, a documentary promoting Africa’s next generation young positive musicians, and Dan Balluff’s Children of Congo: From War to Witches a must see film, showing individuals and organizations that are implementing positive change for the children and people of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Tickets on Sale:

SUNDAY OCTOBER 26: Harbour Centre SFU Downtown, 515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

11 am to 7 pm – Fletcher Challenge Theatre

  • Music & Dance – All Aboard the VPAFF Express on Sunday at 11 am – 12:30 pm

Exciting workshop will include a solo performance by acclaimed South African dancer/choreographer Bheki Ndlovu as a warm-up to the simultaneous broadcast with South Africa. "In South Africa we have a lot of dances, especially now with some from other parts of Africa, and the music, interestingly, we still have music that inspires us to sing along, clap hands and dance traditional styles, which is the way we have celebrated life since the beginning of time”, said Bheki whose productions include Sarafina! Bafana and The Lion King. This 90-minute workshop of African song and dance goes from 11 am to 12:30 pm.

Simultaneous Broadcast with South Africa 11 am to 3 pm

  • The Reel PanAfriCAN SoundsCAPE Videos: A ground-breaking inter-continental experience linking Vancouver audience members in ‘creative conversation’ with African film subjects in Africa! Stunning, Canada-South Africa co-production combining interactive film, music, dance and dialogue with participating audiences in both Canada and South Africa to explore issues of migration, multiculturalism and the role of the artist in promoting cross-cultural understanding. These films were made by artists who emigrated from other parts of Africa and who experienced severe animosity as they attempted to make a new home.

Using Internet video technology, this event links Vancouver audience members directly with people in Cape Town, South Africa in a creative conversation. This two-hour ground breaking event will be led on each side by a vibrant MC to create an interactive expression of African unity, understanding and international cooperation. Tickets on Sale now:

  • Panel Discussion – 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm

“Say NO to Stigma”: A discussion pressing issues of immigration, xenophobia, multiculturalism promoting cross-cultural understanding of refugee rights, resilience and reconciliation with panel members that include Dr. Catherine Murray (SFU), Moussa Magassa (Uvic), Rudolf Richards (Community Elder), Heiko Decosas (SFU), Addy Kgomo (Umoja Compassion Society), Arthur Martins-Aginam (SFU)

  • 4:45 pm - Kinship Day Festival Closing Ceremony by Attorney General & Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism, Province of British Columbia

Closing Feature Film: God Grew Tired Of Us – 5:15 pm to 7:30 pm

The winner of both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival – God Grew Tired of Us, the story features The Lost Boys of Sudan. This powerful documentary tells the story of four boys ages 3 to 13 orphaned by a civil war.

Fleeing their villages, they formed a surrogate family, protecting and providing for each other, traveling together for 5 years, over thousands of miles, against all odds reaching a UN refugee camp in Kenya. Eventually they were selected to settle in the United States by a humanitarian aid organization.

Tickets for the Vancouver Pan-African Arts, Culture & Film and Festival are on sale now at

Sponsors include City Of Vancouver, Corus Entertainment TV Listings, Line One Computer Services, SFU Speaking of the World Series, International Development, Continuing Studies, Ethical Bean, the Law Courts Education Society of BC, CBC Radio and TV, Highlife World Records, Stone Age Art, Omni Television, Shaw Multicultural Television, Skytrain, Shea Butter Market, Coast Mountain Bus, The Beat 94.5 FM, Gallery Gachet, Jamaican Pizza Jerk, Tropicana Hotel and more. ($15)