Rwanda_may_2006_588_1In a few weeks my personal hero, mentor and friend, as well as the global spokesman for Operation HOPE, Ambassador Andrew Young, will be honored with a "Lifetime Achievement Award" by the Pan African Film Festival (February 9th, 2007), and the night prior, at the opening night gala for the film festival, they will screen his recently produced film "Rwanda Rising," which I am honored to say I had a "small" part in helping to bring to reality (smile).

A special kudos goes out to my new friend and director of Rwanda Rising, CB Hackworth.

Rwanda_may_2006_566 LOS ANGELES – The world premiere of the documentary RWANDA RISING
has been selected to open the 15th annual Pan African Film and Arts Festival.
The star-studded event will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 8th at the
Directors Guild of America with producer Ambassador Andrew Young in
attendance. Acclaimed filmmaker and actor Forest Whitaker, PAFF’s 2007
Celebrity Host, will emcee the evening. PAFF’s annual gala after party will follow
the screening and be held at the Directors Guild of America, which is located at
7920 Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. Tickets are $150. For sales and more
information, please call (323) 295-1706 or visit

“15 years into the Pan African Film and Arts Festival and we continue to
showcase the important stories of our brothers and sisters on the Continent,”
said festival director Ayuko Babu. “Having Rwanda Rising open this year’s
festival is keeping in that tradition while making sure that we stay connected to
our roots in Africa.”

sIn just 100 days, nearly a million people were killed by neighbors who
somehow became strangers – otherwise decent people who, even now, well
over a decade later, still can’t believe they could be part of such a thing. The
genocide that took place in Rwanda in 1994 defies imagination, but "how and
why" are questions without answers, questions of the past. A far greater
mystery is unfolding in the here and now.

Somehow, the people of Rwanda have learned to forgive the unforgivable.
By all appearances, they not only are coexisting, but actually living and
working together to rebuild their country as a model of economic prosperity
for the rest of Africa.

In RWANDA RISING, former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young, a Civil
Rights leader and top aide to the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., set out to
document the amazing transformation taking place in Rwanda today. The
country’s remarkable story of reconciliation despite enormous odds, Ambassador
Young believes, provides hope for other seemingly hopeless situations around
the world.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who is friends with Young and appears in
the film, echoes that sentiment. "I wish that we could have some of that spirit
in the Middle East," Clinton says. "I wish we could have some of that spirit in
other places where there are conflicts that people just can’t let go of."

Other key interviews include Rwandan President Paul Kagame, composer and
producer Quincy Jones, and World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz.

RWANDA RISING is produced and written by Andrew Young and CB Hackworth.
The film is directed by CB Hackworth and the executive producer is Stephanie

The 15th Annual Pan African Film and Arts Festival (PAFF), will take place
Thursday, February 8 through Monday, February 19 at the Magic Johnson AMC
Theatres and the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in Los Angeles, California.
Highlights of the 2007 festival include the star-studded red carpet Opening Night
Gala to be held in Hollywood at the Director’s Guild of America on February 8
hosted by acclaimed actor and filmmaker Forest Whitaker. Known for
showcasing new films first, past festival features have included box office and
award-winning hits: Ray, Lackawanna Blues, Love Jones, Redemption, Love &
Basketball, Crazy As Hell, Kingdom Come, The Brothers, Gridlock’d, and last
year’s Academy Award® winner for Best Foreign Film, Tsotsi.

Each year the PAFF presents over one hundred (100) quality films from the
United States, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, the South Pacific
and Canada, all showcasing the diversity and complexity of people of African

PAFF will also present one of America’s largest fine art shows featuring
prominent and emerging Black artists and fine craftspeople. This year’s featured
artist is the world acclaimed Charles Bibbs. Other events include the PAFF
StudentFest, Children’s Festival, and Spokenword Festival.

The PAFF attracts an audience of over 40,000 people to the films and over
150,000 attendees to the arts show. The PAFF is recognized throughout the
world as America’s premiere Black film festival. For more information and to
purchase tickets, please visit or call (323) 295-1706.

The Pan African Film and Arts Festival was founded in 1992 as a non-profit
corporation dedicated to the promotion of cultural and racial tolerance and
understanding through the exhibition of film, art and creative expression. It is the
PAFF’s goal to present and showcase a broad spectrum of Black creative works,
particularly those that reinforce positive images and help to destroy negative
stereotypes. The PAFF believes film and art can lead to better understanding
and foster communication between peoples of diverse cultures, races, and
lifestyles, while at the same time, serve as a vehicle to initiate dialogue on the
important issues of our times.

The 2007 PAFF is sponsored in part by: AMC Theatres, Baldwin Hills Crenshaw
Plaza, Union Bank of California, Target, South African Airways, Our Weekly
Newspaper, The Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the Los Angeles
Department of Cultural Affairs, and Courvoisier.

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