The Kravis Center Honors James Drayton at the 16th Annual African American Film Festival


Three award-winning films, a dynamic host and the honor of a local legend will be part of the 16th Annual African American Film Festival (AAFF) in this year’s ArtSmart Continuing Arts Education Series at the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts .

Hosted by William “Bill” Nix, the theme for this year’s event is “A Tribute to Education: Stories of Triumph” and honors AAFF Founder James Drayton, and takes place on the evenings of the 1st , 8 and 15 February.

A strong advocate for equal rights and equality, the late James Drayton is a former West Palm Beach City Commissioner, founder of the annual African American Film Festival, African American Heritage Bookstore in West Palm Beach and of the Together We Stand Democratic Club, furthering his goal of passing on the knowledge of his years of experience to future generations.

The event program includes:

February 1 at 7 p.m.


Winner of two NAACP Image Awards, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Motion Picture, and Outstanding Motion Picture, LEAN ON ME stars Morgan Freeman as real-life New Jersey high school principal Joe Clark. Tasked with reforming the school by his old friend and school superintendent, Dr. Frank Napier (Robert Guillaume), Clark tackles gangs, drugs, low test scores and a host of other issues. that plague the school.

February 8 at 7 p.m.


When 11-year-old Akeelah (Keke Palmer) discovers she has a gift for spelling, she sets her sights on competing in the National Spelling Bee. Despite the objections of her mother (Angela Bassett) and many other obstacles, Akeelah is determined to achieve her goal. With the help of her trainer, Dr. Larabee (Laurence Fishburne), classmates, and members of her community, Akeelah goes to the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

February 15 at 7 p.m.


Based on a true story, THE GREAT DEBATERS stars Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker and Nate Parker. Set in the 1930s, this film chronicles the struggles of an all-black college debate team to achieve equality against their white counterparts at a time when Jim Crow laws were in effect and African Americans feared for their lives. .

Each film will be preceded by a lively and informative introduction from host William “Bill” Nix. Mr. Nix is ​​president of Nix Communication Group, Inc., former vice president of marketing and government affairs, and ex-officio director of the Palm Beach Film and Television Commission.

How to buy tickets for these shows:
Tickets are $12 per show or $30 for the series and can be purchased online at the Kravis Center website. or by phone at 561.832.7469 or 800.572.8471. Student/educator discount available for all screenings.

The Kravis Center remains committed to the health and safety of our performers, staff, audience, volunteers, and guests. Like many other performing arts centers across the country, we have implemented new health and safety protocols to ensure the comfort and enjoyment of all who visit the Center. To learn more about our current health and safety protocols, visit

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