American Black Film Festival Announces 2006 Jury Members

Grand Jury Members Include Magic Johnson and S. Epatha Merkerson

New York, New York, June, 16, 2006 – The Film Life & HBO American Black Film Festival (ABFF) today announced the members of its 2006 Grand Jury and Documentary Jury. Celebrating its 10-year anniversary, the ABFF will be held from Wednesday, July 19 through Sunday, July 23, 2006, in South Beach, Miami, Florida.

The 2006 ABFF Grand Jury is comprised of Magic Johnson, CEO Magic Johnson Enterprises, who will serve as foreman; S. Epatha Merkerson, actress (HBO Films’ Lackawanna Blues, NBC’s”Law and Order”); Anthony Mackie, actor (Freedomland);Aaron Greer, Independent Filmmaker and Professor at the University of Alabama School of Communications; Bill Tompkins, director and vice president, Worldwide Print & Distribution, Kodak; and Rene Rodriguez, movie critic, The Miami Herald.

Members of the 2006 ABFF Documentary Jury are Alison Palmer-Bourke, director of Original Programming, the Independent Film Channel; Jackie Glover, director, Documentary Films, (HBO); Katherine Humphries, vice president, creative director, E-Morris Communications; Shola Lynch (Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed), filmmaker; and Elise Neal, actress (Hustle & Flow, UPN’s “All of Us”).

The winner of ABFF’s Grand Jury Prize for Best Picture, presented by Kodak, will be awarded film stock valued at $20,000. Official selections are nominated for this Grand Jury Prize from the American Features and International Features sections.

The winner chosen by the Documentary Jury will receive the Voices of Color Best Documentary Award, which is presented by Wal-Mart and provides a $20,000 cash award to the winning producer and/or director. All official selections in the Documentaries section compete for this award.

“These awards are an invaluable method through which the industry gives its nod to distinguished, talented independent filmmakers,” said Jeff Friday, co-founder of the ABFF. “I am sincerely grateful to the group of artists, industry executives and journalists who have joined our prestigious jury this year; ultimately they are helping emerging filmmakers gain the recognition that will help catapult them to the next career level.”

During the past 10 years, the ABFF has made its mark on Hollywood and the entertainment industry, becoming an international marketplace unsurpassed in its facilitation of networking and business development opportunities for Black filmmakers. This year, ABFF’s program will showcase more than 40 films, many of them world premieres, as well as present a diverse array of film and technology panels, symposiums and workshops featuring industry executives. Annually, the festival attracts more than 2,500 attendees.

HBO is the festival’s founding and title sponsor. Wal-Mart Voices of Color is the ABFF’s presenting sponsor. Platinum level sponsors are AXE Bodyspray, Boost Mobile, Kodak, Lincoln and Time Warner.

Other corporate supporters include American Airlines, Black Enterprise, blockbuster, Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) and VURV, Inc. (gold sponsors); CodeBlack Entertainment, The Daily Blossom Events, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Legacy Creative Group, Miami-Dade County Tourist Development Council (TDC), Nickelodeon, Nielsen Media Research and Starbucks Coffee Company (silver sponsors). Media sponsors include AOL Black Voices, Black Noir, DVRepublic.com, EUR Web, 98.7 Kiss FM, KJLH, Landmine Design, Socialstep.com, S.W.A.T.S, Upscale magazine, Uptown magazine and V103, WPGC.

Home Box Office, Inc., is the premium television programming subsidiary of Time Warner Inc., providing two 24-hour premium television services, HBO and Cinemax. Together, both networks reach approximately 40 million subscribers in the United States via cable and satellite delivery.

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 and related entertainment content.

Festival information, including eligibility requirements, registration and the 2006 schedule of events, is available online at www.abff.com, via phone 212.966.2411, ext. 400, or by e-mail at [email protected].


Chelsye. J. Burrows, ABFF Publicity
CJB Public Relations
212.966.2411, ext. 417, or 917.653.9440
[email protected]