Brandon and Kaitlin Bowens
The 21st annual Pan African Film and Arts Festival opens Thursday, Feb. 7, at the Rave Cinemas Baldwin Hills 15 in Los Angeles, and a week from today, Gary native Brandon Bowens will be watching his daughter Kaitlin Bowens, 10, and himself on the big screen.
The father and daughter duo are starring in “Pathways of Life,” one of the featured films at the festival.
“Kaitlin wants to be an actress and I took her to an audition for the film,” Brandon said.
“Pathways of Life” was shot from March to May 2012 in Chicago. Written and directed by Donna Washington, “Pathways” is about a sheltered African student attending an American university who is forced to confront her beliefs about African-American society when a class project causes her to question them.
Watch the trailer at https://vimeo.com/52974697.
Brandon, who is also the founder of the Real Recognize Real record label here, is also known to many as “Billboard Bee.” While Kaitlin got a part in the movie, he was asked to do a reading and got a role as well.
Believing in the power of opportunity, Brandon offered to help with the film’s soundtrack.
“Deanna Lowe of Gary is one of my artists on the label. She is singing an original song for the soundtrack and also has a part in the movie,” he said. “It’s a good feeling to get the music and the record label noticed on a broader level.”
Brandon has continued the opportunity by appearing in episodes of network television shows filmed in Chicago. He was a security guard in an episode of the short-lived Fox series “The Mob Doctor.”
“I ended up with a recurring role in the final episodes,” he said.
He’s also been in episodes of NBC’s drama “Chicago Fire” and will be in the eighth episode of TV One’s “Find Our Missing” when the second season premieres soon.
DancExcel’s popular production, “The Spirit of the Baobab Tree” returns to the West Side Theatre, 9th Avenue and Gerry Street, with performances at 9 a.m. Feb. 28, and at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. March 1.
This amazing production was written, directed and produced by DancExcel’s Sherice Grant and Dionne Champion. It is the story of 9-year-old Jelani, who was taken from his mother and involuntarily placed in a foster home.
He turns to drawing to escape the cruel realities of his daily life. When the drawings reveal a story, a journey of past and present intertwines.
Tickets are $10 and available at DancExcel, 2345 Grant St. or call 944-8066.
There is also a book co-written by Grant and Champion with illustration by Champion’s brother, Daryl Champion.