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PAFF 2013 Preview – Oakland-Set Coming Of Age Drama ‘Against The Grain’

PAFF 2013 Preview - Oakland-Set Coming Of Age Drama 'Against The Grain'

Pre-festival coverage of the 2013 Pan African Film Festival in LA, which takes place next month, continues with this feature-length drama from writer/director Elias Mael, titled Against The Grain.

Synopsis reads:

Isaiah Johnson, an inner-city kid from Oakland, has an opportunity to attend an elite university. In his first year of college, he struggles to maintain his grades, attempts to remain loyal to his troubled childhood friends and valiantly tries to capture the heart of his dream girl. But when he arrives at a crossroad, he is forced to choose between his past and his future.

A UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television graduate, Elias Mael says he was inspired by the same drive, determination and initiative-taking that pushed Robert Rodriguez and Kevin Smith to direct their own feature-length debuts some 20 or so years ago.

And with a skeleton crew, shooting the film over 3 weeks in late 2010 and early 2011.

The film is exec-produced by Mayon Denton, and prouced Marcello Robinson.

PAFF 2013 is set to take place at the new Rave Cinemas Baldwin Hills 15 at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in Los Angeles, and will kick off festivities with a star-studded Opening Night Gala on Thursday, February 7, 2013 at the Rave Cinemas Baldwin Hills 15 theatre.

Watch the trailer below:

Against the Grain Trailer from Elias Mael on Vimeo.

This Article is related to: Festivals



It's great to see my older cousin succeed in his filming. Great first movie.


I got to watch the film at the black hollywood film festival back in october of 2012 and i enjoyed it very much. I loved the uplifting go for your dreams message. The film overall was very powerful, inspiring & touching.


One of the best films I saw in 2012, and I see a lot of films. It has everything: romance, tear jerking drama, comedy, and HEART. It felt as if the filmmaker took his heart and implanted it in the film.

From a storytelling perspective, it's well done! But I do wonder how the film would've fared if the film had recognizable names, although the film's leads carry the movie very well, and are refreshing to look at.


Not your typical "urban" movie. It's witty, makes no excuses, and most importantly it keeps you glued to your seat. You finding yourself rooting for the main protagonist. I can't wait to see more from the up-coming cast and writer/director Elias Mael, who apparently made this film at the age of 22 after graduating from UCLA film school.


I was able to catch this movie at the Hollywood Black Film Festival. Absolutely amazing! The blend of drama and comedic reliefs are well done. The movie grips you from the start until the very end – no dull moment whatsoever. The cast gives a great performance. The direction is brilliant. The story is powerful and uplifting. I hope the film continues it's strong film festival run, and eventually get released because the public needs to see it.

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