6th Annual HBO Short Film Award Open to Aspiring Black Filmmakers

Five finalists to be selected to attend the 7th Annual American Black Film Festival in South Beach, June 18-22, for final round of competition and $20,000 grand prize

New York, N.Y. February 13, 2003 – Home Box Office will once again showcase the works of aspiring black filmmakers with the presentation of its 6th annual HBO Short Film Award at the 7th annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF) in South Beach, FL, June 18-22, 2003. The ABFF is presented by Film Life, Inc. and sponsored by HBO.

“Since the beginning, the response to the HBO Short Film Award and the ABFF have been tremendous,” said Olivia Smashum, senior vice president, subscriber marketing and business development at HBO.” This response has reinforced all our efforts on behalf of new filmmakers and has created an atmosphere of enthusiasm that is seen both in the film industry and the general public.”

Seeking to encourage and recognize the works of up-and-coming talent, the HBO Short Film Award is now accepting submissions. The competition is open to filmmakers of African descent who have directed or written and produced a short fictional film of 30 minutes or less. It is open to U.S. and international entries and films must be in English or contain English subtitles and produced after January 1, 2002. Film entries must arrive at the ABFF offices postmarked by the deadline date of April 5, 2003.

Short films previously selected as winners at other film festivals or previously submitted to the HBO Short Film competition under a current or former title are not eligible. Films must also not have had previous cable broadcast screenings.

Submissions will be accepted on 1/2″ VHS cassettes and must be accompanied by an official HBO/ABFF entry form and $25.00 submission fee. Entry forms are available by calling the ABFF at 212-966-2411 ext. 400 or by downloading the form from www.abff.com.

A panel of industry professionals will select five films to be screened at the ABFF in South Beach for the final round of competition. One grand prize winner will be awarded $20,000 by HBO during the festival’s closing ceremonies on Saturday, June 21.

Last year, HBO presented the grand prize to writer/executive producer Ben Watkins for his film “Quest to Ref,” the story of an aspiring basketball ref who tries to bring fairness to an inner-city court game. The four runners-up were Dandara, co-writer/director of “A Funeral at the Samba School”; Desha Dauchan, writer/director of “Whispers”; Jerrold Howard, writer/director/animator of “See the Truth”; and Sechaba Morojele, writer/director of “Ubuntu’s Wounds.”

Home Box Office is the premium television programming division of Time Warner Entertainment Company, L.P., providing two 24-hour premium television services, HBO and Cinemax. Together, both networks reach approximately 39 million subscribers in the United States via cable and satellite delivery. Home Box Office’s international joint ventures bring HBO branded services to more than 50 countries around the globe.

The American Black Film Festival is a five-day retreat and international film market created to provide independent black filmmakers with a forum in which to expose their films to film buyers and the general public. Through competitive film showcases, designed to recognize merit in both feature-length and short filmmaking, the next generation of directors, writers, producers and actors are annually unveiled. Film Life, Inc., a New York City-based film marketing and distribution company led by founder and CEO Jeff Friday, produces the ABFF.