American Black Film Festival Announces Dates and Calls for Submissions

ABFF to Celebrate Its 10th Year in Miami, Fla., July 19-23, 2006
Deadline for Feature, Short & Documentary Film Entries is April 7

New York, NY, (February 7, 2006) – Film Life and HBO today announced the 2006 dates of the American Black Film Festival (ABFF). The ABFF will be held Wednesday, July 19, through Sunday, July 23, in the South Beach district of Miami, Florida, where the festival will celebrate its tenth anniversary with the support of HBO, the ABFF’s founding and title sponsor, and Wal-Mart Voices of Color,TM its presenting sponsor.

“Although our industry has changed dramatically in the last ten years, particularly in the areas of digital production and distribution, opportunities for persons of color remain limited,” said Jeff Friday, founder, ABFF. “I salute our lead sponsors, HBO and Wal-Mart, for their unwavering support of the ABFF. It is because of these two companies and our other prestigious corporate partners that we have been able to showcase cinema that reflects the talent and true vision of Black artists, while building the commercial market for independent Black films.”

The 2006 ABFF program includes independent film screenings, network and studio premieres, panels, workshops and seminars led by accomplished industry professionals. Other highlights include live entertainment, exclusive networking events and the ABFF Awards presentation.

“As founding and title sponsor, HBO’s partnership with the ABFF has helped create a celebrated and influential forum where new talent can showcase their works in a professional and competitive-friendly environment,” said Olivia Smashum, executive vice president, affiliate marketing, HBO. “We salute the ABFF on the eve of their 10th anniversary, a landmark achievement within the Black filmmaking community and one which we’re very proud to be a part of.”

The ABFF has four film sections: Narrative Feature Films (competitive), World Cinema (noncompetitive), the HBO Short Film Competition and Documentaries (competitive). A total of $80,000 worth of prizes will be awarded to films in the competitive sections. Awards include the HBO Short Film Award ($20,000 cash prize), Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature Film, sponsored by Blockbuster ($20,000 cash prize), Grand Jury Prize for Best Picture, sponsored by Kodak (prize: film stock valued at $20,000), and the Wal-Mart Voices of Color Best Documentary Award ($20,000 cash prize). Winners will be announced at the ABFF Awards Brunch held on the closing day of the festival.

Films submitted for consideration for the 2006 ABFF must be delivered to the New York City office postmarked by the entry deadline: Friday, April 7, 2006. Submission forms and eligibility requirements are available online at www.abff.com.

The American Black Film Festival, formerly known as the Acapulco Black Film Festival, was founded in 1997 by Jeff Friday, president & CEO, Film Life, Inc. ABFF is a five-day retreat and international film market dedicated to strengthening the independent film community. It was born out of a belief in the need to stimulate independent Black film development and promote cultural diversity within the film industry. With limited access to images and opportunities for Black filmmakers in Hollywood, the ABFF created a platform to showcase the cinematic work of independent artists of vision and emerging talent.

Since its inception, the ABFF has explored, rewarded and redefined artistic excellence in international Black cinema. It has grown to be recognized as the premier Black film festival in the United States. Its film slate is primarily composed of world premieres positioning it as the #1 film market for Black and urban content. In addition to its film showcases, the ABFF is committed to nurturing artists in a variety of disciplines and offers educational workshops and seminars for actors, filmmakers and writers throughout the week. The event annually attracts 2,500 attendees.

Members of the ABFF Advisory Board, chaired by Robert Townsend, include Debbie Allen, Bill Duke, Eriq La Salle, Suzanne de Passe, John Singleton and Melvin Van Peebles.

Other festival sponsors include: AXE, Lincoln, Time Warner (Platinum), Black Enterprise, Kodak and Vurv, Inc. (Gold), Nielsen Media Research (Silver). Media sponsors include: EURweb, Upscale, Uptown magazine and Socialstep.com.

Wal-Mart, in partnership with Time Warner’s Global Marketing group, has created the Voices of ColorTM Film Series designed to support African American filmmaking and highlight the range and depth of the African American experience. It is a unique program that aims to give “voice” to a more positive depiction of African American images via a wide range of quality programming for the whole family.

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 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 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: [email protected]


Chelsye J. Burrows