American Black Film Festival culminates with the Awards Presentation and world premiere of HBO’s The Blacklist on Sunday, August 10, at the WGA Theater in Los Angeles.

The Abduction of Jesse Bookman Wins for Best Actor and ABFF Best Film

Los Angeles, CA – August 11, 2008 – Film Life wrapped up its 12th American Black Film Festival (ABFF) at the ABFF Awards Presentation that was held Sunday, August 10, 2008, at the WGA Theater in Los Angeles, CA. The festival hosted a week of independent film screenings, workshops, symposiums and exclusive networking events. Among Hollywood’s celebrity movers and shakers in attendance were: Halle Berry, Evan Ross, Lauren London, Tatiana Ali, Columbus Short, Anthony Mackie, Holly Robinson Peete, Nate Parker, Angela Bassett, Lela Rochon, Loretta Devine, Mos Def, Rockmond Dunbar, Michael Ealy, John Singleton, Sanaa Lathan, Malik Yoba, Tina Andrews, Salli Richardson and Dennis Haysbert.

The show was hosted by Niecy Nash of Comedy Central’s “Reno 911” and the Style Network’s home makeover series “Clean House,” who kept the audience energized with her quirky and off-beat brand of comedy. Actors Richard T. Jones (Why Did I Get Married? “Judging Amy”) and Denise Boutte (Why Did I Get Married?) were also in attendance to present awards.

“The American Black Film Festival’s Awards continue to celebrate and honor independent films and filmmakers, as well as help fulfill our vision to provide new opportunities for emerging talent and introduce their work to a broad audience,” said Jeff Friday, ABFF Founder and President, and CEO, Film Life, Inc.

With the support of major U.S. corporations, the festival awards cash and other prizes. The 2008 award winners are as follows:

HBO® Short Film Award, presented by HBO
Premature, directed by Rashaad Ernesto Green. The cash award of $20,000 was presented by Dennis Williams, Manager of Multicultural Marketing, HBO.

Heineken Red Star Award
LA Proper, directed by Barry Canty. The award was presented by Melanie Sharee, ABFF Festival Director. The winner received a full-page profile in Variety magazine, will be featured in a segment on the Independent Film Channel and celebrated at an industry event in Los Angeles at the close of the year.

Allstate® Beyond February “Be Reel” Film Contest Winner, presented by Allstate
The Lucky Suit, written and directed by Roy Clovis. The cash award of $5,000 was presented by Dennis Haysbert, Grand Jury President, and Kimberly Turner, Manager of Integrated Marketing Communications, Multicultural Marketing, Allstate.

Grand Jury Prize for Best Film
The Abduction of Jesse Bookman, directed by Ezra A. Gould. The award, $5,000 worth of film stock from Kodak, was presented by Jeff Friday, Founder of the ABFF.

Grand Jury Prize for Best Actor
Mel Jackson. Presented by actors Richard T. Jones and Denise Boutté.

Target® Filmmaker Award — for Inspiration to Dream in Color
Pip & Zastrow: An American Friendship, directed by Victoria Bruce and Karin Hayes. The cash award of $10,000 was presented by Greg Cunningham, Group Marketing Manager, Target.

The Best Documentary, presented by BET J
Slaying Goliath, directed by Michele Stephenson and Joe Brewster. The cash award of $10,000 was presented by Sean Johnson, Executive Producer of BET J.

“We are pleased with our second year participation,” stated Kimberly Turner of Allstate. “We congratulate the ABFF winners and are excited to be part of a program that promotes and strengthens the immense creativity of the Black filmmaking community.”

Sponsors of the ABFF: Presenting Sponsor Allstate®; Founding Sponsor HBO®; Premier Sponsors luxury automaker Lincoln, Target and BET J; Blockbuster, Heineken (Official Sponsors); Nielsen Media Research, One Village Entertainment, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Codeblack Entertainment, Nickelodeon, Fox Entertainment Group and Grey Goose® Vodka (Supporting Sponsors); SAG Indie, Writers Guild of America West, Kodak, Greater Philadelphia Film Office, Illinois Film Office and FoxxKing Entertainment (Industry Sponsors); Black Enterprise, Uptown, Upscale, Black Noir, Heart&Soul, Precious Times, Automotive Rhythms, Toy Box, Monarch, Hope Today Magazine, NV, Save the Date, KJLH-FM and EUR Web (Media Sponsors).

The ABFF is a property of Film Life, Inc., a New York-based film marketing and distribution company. Its mission is to spearhead the global distribution of quality Black films and be the leading American brand producing Black movies, television, events and digital content. Film Life’s key properties include the American Black Film Festival (abff.com); the Black Movie Awards (blackmovieawards.com); and the ABFF DVD Series (thefilmlife.com), a partnership with Warner Home Video.

Photos available on request.

Yvette N. Harris
ABFF Publicity