The American Black Film Festival or as many people refer to it ABFF has been successful for 18 years now, but this year the festival founder, Jeff Friday surprised many by deciding to have the festival in the Big Apple. Over the years, the years, the event has been held in cities like Acapulco, Los Angeles and Miami, but now the time has come for New York City to host.
Even though the city and festival has changed, one thing that has not changed that it is going to be a great event. There will be interesting movies, informative panels and many other events happening during the 4 days for festival goers and guests. In fact, this year will be as exciting as all of the other years.
On Sunday June 22 at 7 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. the world premiere of Spike Lee’s most recent work, Da’ Sweet Blood of Jesus, a feature film that centers on humans who are addicted to blood, will serve as the second Gala Screening and takes the most exclusive slot as the closing night film.
The roster of ABFF films include Gala Screenings (opening and closing nights) and Spotlight Screenings, along with official selections for the Narrative Feature and Documentary sections, as well as the HBO® Short Film Competition, finalists for which will be announced June 9.
This year’s ABFF Spotlight Screenings include the world premiere of UP’s original feature film, Comeback Dad, written by Kimberly Walker (the 2013 UP Faith & Family Screenplay Competition “Honorable Mention” winner), a heartfelt father-daughter reunion piece starring Charles S. Dutton, Tatyana Ali and Loretta Devine, “Black Dynamite,” the animated series courtesy of Adult Swim, chronicles the exploits of the central character, Black Dynamite, and his crew and Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee, presented by Macy’s and Daughters of Eve Productions are also part of the lineup. LEWRD features the legacy of the iconic and often poetic relationship between Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee told through the eyes of their grandson. Rounding out the Spotlight Screenings is Moguldom Studios’ slick documentary, A Genius Leaves the Hood: The Unauthorized Story of Jay Z, which archives the story of one of Hip Hop’s most successful artists and his career achievements as a result of refined business acumen and American Family Insurance’s Through A Black Lens, directed by this year’s Celebrity Ambassador, Morris Chestnut. Through A Black Lens is an online video contest that invites entrants to share their vision of the American Dream. The winning project is produced by American Family Insurance, and will premiere at ABFF.
The ABFF is a four-day event dedicated to showcasing quality films by and about people of African descent. Committed to the belief that Black content creators and artists deserve the same opportunities as their mainstream counterparts, Jeff Friday conceived the festival in 1997 as a vehicle to promote diversity in the film and television industry. Today it is widely recognized as an important pipeline bringing new Black talent to prominence both in front of and behind the camera, and is regarded as one of the leading film festivals in the world.
The American Black Film Festival is presented by Film Life, Inc., a multifaceted entertainment company headquartered in New York City. Sponsors to date include: HBO(r) (Founding and Premier), Cadillac (Premier), Black Enterprise (Premier Media), American Airlines, Colgate Optic White, Time Warner Foundation (Signature Sponsors), UP, BET Networks, Comcast/NBCUniversal, Stella Artois (Official Sponsors), and Adult Swim, American Family Insurance, Aspire, CNN Films, GentleTreatment, Grab Media, Moguldom Entertainment, Nielsen (Supporting Sponsors). Other Media Partners include EBONY, Astute Magazine, Filmmaker Magazine, Upscale Magazine, WBLS and Uptown Magazine.
Industry and Promotional Partners include 21st Century Fox, Barefoot Wine& Bubbly, Entertainment Power Players (EPP), IFP, Macy’s, Metropolitan College of NY, Motown The Musical, Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), MoMA, National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP), New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT), NYC & Company, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Producers Guild of America (PGA), SAGIndie, Walt Disney, Walter Kaitz Foundation, Writer’s Guild of America East (WGAE), and Woman In Film Los Angeles.
The festival is definitely going to be one festival goers are going to be talking about for a while. For more information on the festival, visit their website. Also, follow them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTubeand Instagram. If all goees as well as it looks, they might just be back in NYC, next year.