‘Africa and I’ Wins Best First Feature Documentary At PAFF

Africa and I’ winsBest First Feature Documentary at the 30th Anniversary Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) in Los Angeles, an official qualifying film festival for The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

Africa and I’, adventurer Othmane Zolati’s feature documentary about his trip from Morocco to South Africa by bicycle, skateboard and on foot, through 24 countries over 30 000km, is making waves internationally.

Co-directed by Zolati and Chris Green (Chasing the Sun) and produced by Both Worlds Pictures (Puppet Nation ZA, Recipes for Love and Murder), the film was also selected for the Portland Film Festival 2021, the Africa World Documentary Film Festival 2022 and the American Documentary and Animation Film Festival (Amdocs) 2022.

Established in 1992 by Hollywood veterans Danny Glover (The Color Purple, Lethal Weapon), the late Ja’Net DuBois (Good Times), and Ayuko Babu (Executive Director), PAFF is world-renowned for showcasing an extensive array of Black creative film works from across the globe, highlighting those that reinforce positive images and help to dismantle harmful beliefs and stereotypes.

Africa and I is the enchanting story of Othmane’s life when he left everything behind him and spent four years walking, cycling and skateboarding his way through Africa, from Morocco to Cape Town. On his journey, he saw that the continent he was warned about before he left home, the dark continent that the media shows us all, full of crime, disease and despair, was not the real story after all. Othmane found a continent that was vivid, varied and alive, full of beauty and surprises.

Othmane says, “After 7 years of hard work, my African dream became reality. A truly glorious moment for me and my entire team. This accomplishment will be a lifelong motivation enabling me to fulfill my future achievements. This is my very first award in the film industry, for which I, personally, am so grateful. Being here today, and after all that I have been through, is quite emotional for me. Reminiscing on how I started from scratch, as a 20 year old boy from El Jadida, Morocco with a mere $80 in his pocket hoping to have his dream come true, 7 years later, Sitting here today, with an award under my belt, is a motivation to keep me to continue and never, ever give up”.

Producer Thierry Cassuto says “From the first day Othmane showed me some of the 200 hundreds hours of beautiful footage he had filmed during his journey, making Africa & I has been an intense labour of love for the entire Both Worlds team and co-director Chris Green, who helped Othmane shape and tell his amazing story. We are grateful to the jury of the Pan African Film and Arts Festival for recognizing this first film by a young director who will, I am sure, take us through many more amazing adventures in the future”.

“This year’s film roster reflects the times we are in,” said PAFF General Manager Asantewe Olatunji. “Many focus on social justice issues such as gender equality, police and community relations, and the changing lifestyle norms. Of course, several of the PAFF 2022 films focus on our well-known and sometimes obscure sheroes and heroes whose stories told by their own people give a new perspective of history and view of our world.”

Worldwide sales of Africa & I are handled worldwide by Big Media (US) and Paradoxal (France).

Watch Africa and I on Showmax:



Since 1992, The Pan African Film and Arts Festival (PAFF) has become the international beacon for the African diaspora film and arts communities.

As the critically acclaimed biggest Black film and arts festival and Black History Month activation in the United States, PAFF attracts filmmakers, artists, and unique craftspeople from over 40 countries and 6 continents to Los Angeles, California, annually, to showcase their pivotal work and talent. Thus, PAFF has become the quintessential global celebration of Pan African cultures.

Annually, PAFF continues to showcase over 190 new high-quality Black films from the U.S., Africa, the Caribbean, South America, Europe, the South Pacific, Canada, and increasingly, Asia.

PAFF hosts some of the most vibrant red carpets filled with Hollywood A-listers and the who’s who in the art world. It presents inspiring and informative panels and workshops –– featuring top industry professionals — and showcases rare cinematic gems followed by filmmaker Q & As. PAFF is more than entertainment, it is an Oscar-qualifying festival for animation and live-action films.


Created in 1998, Both Worlds, with offices in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Paris, has produced programming for most South African TV channels, winning in the process 29 South African Film and TV Awards and 2 Int’l Emmy nominations. Best known for its popular weekly satirical news show, Puppet Nation, where puppets take the mickey out of newsmakers and celebrities, Both Worlds also produced the TV comedy panel shows Point of Order and Parlement Parlement, as well as CCN on Viacom’s Comedy Central Africa. The company recently launched a high-end scripted TV series department headed by award-winning playwright and screenwriter Karen Jeynes. Recipes for Love and Murder, a 10 part drama series in coproduction with Mnet, AMC Acorn (US) and Global Screen (Ger) and collaboration with Pirate (UK) and Paradoxal (France), recently hit South African screens and will stream on Acorn TV (AMC+) across the world in September 2022.

By Andrew Germishuys

Founder of SAMDB, Andrew has worked full time in the film industry since the early 2000's. He has trained as an actor, completing his LAMDA Gold Medal, and attending many courses in Cape Town acting studios, with masterclasses with some of the international industries top directors, producers and filmmakers. Working as an actor and armourer in the film and television industry have given Andrew a great balance of skills across the board when it comes to the entertainment industry. Catch him on Twitter: twitter.com/andrewgerm_za Instagram: instagram.com/andrewgerm_za IMDb: www.imdb.com/name/nm5390453/

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