In a year, celebrating the unprecedented number of black films hitting theaters nationwide, its only fitting that that Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) recognizes two rising stars for their outstanding breakout performances in film. In recognizing some fresh faces of Young Hollywood, the festival will honor actors Emayatzy Corinealdi and Tequan Richmond (T.J. Ashford, GENERAL HOSPITAL) with the Beah Richards and Canada Lee Rising Star Awards, respectively. The two will be feted at the annual Night of Tribute ceremony during the festival's run.
For the second year, the Night of Tribute will be part of the pre-show festivities for the awards ceremony of the African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) on Friday, January 31, 2014, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Taglyan Complex, located at 1201 Vine Street in Hollywood, Calif. PAFF’s “Rising Star” awards are named after actors Canada Lee and Oscar-nominee Beah Richards, who pioneered roles for African Americans in film, television and stage, and sparked civil rights activism in their work.
“Filmmakers tell great stories through the choices gifted actors and actresses make on screen by embracing a role and bringing a character to life. In addition to supporting the work of filmmakers, it’s important that the Pan African Film Festival recognizes and honors the new generation of young talent, honing their craft in the entertainment industry,” said Ayuko Babu, founder and executive director of the Pan African Film Festival.
Audiences and critics fell in love with Corinealdi from the critically-acclaimed film, Middle of Nowhere, directed by Ava DuVernay. For her stirring portrayal of Ruby, she landed the 2012 Gotham Award for Breakout Actor as well as nods from the Independent Spirit Awards and the NAACP Image Awards. Other film credits include In The Morning, The Nanny Express and Addicted, set for release in 2014 with Lionsgate. On the small screen, her credits include several lead roles in pilots, including BET’s “Gun Hill,” opposite Larenz Tate and “Katrina” as well as “Demons,” opposite Ron Eldard and “Romantically Challenged” with Alyssa Milano.
With killer good looks for daytime, Richmond played a killer in his breakout film role in the thriller, Blue Caprice, opposite Isaiah Washington. Directed by Alexandre Moors, Richmond gave a chilling performance, portraying one of the two Beltway snipers that terrorized the Washington, DC area. The film is nominated for a Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature. Richmond also portrayed a young Ray Charles Jr. (9-10 years) in the award-winning film, “Ray,” starring Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx.
Still, on television, Richmond is a familiar face as T.J. Ashford on ABC's GENERAL HOSPITAL, as well as Drew Rock on EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS, currently in syndication. He’s racked up many television credits, including COLD CASE, ER, CSI, MEMPHIS BEAT and PRIVATE PRACTICE. And he’s the star in the remake of cult classic, House Party Five: Tonight’s the Night, available on DVD.
The 22nd annual PAFF will be held on February 6-17, 2014 at the new Rave Cinemas Baldwin Hills 15 at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in Los Angeles. PAFF is the grant recipient of the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. The festival thanks the generous support of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza and RAVE Cinemas. For more information, visit www.PAFF.org.