Film Life and HBO American Black Film Festival Garners Major Sponsorship Support in 10th Year

HBO® Is Founding & Title Sponsor, Wal-Mart Is Presenting Sponsor, Time Warner, AXE Body Spray, Lincoln, Kodak and Boost Mobile Also Key Supporters

New York, NY, (May 9, 2006) – Recognized as the premier international marketplace for Black and urban-inspired cinema, Film Life, Inc., today announced an impressive list of corporate sponsors for the 2006 Film Life & HBO American Black Film Festival (ABFF), including HBO, the festival’s founding and title sponsor, Wal-Mart Voices of Color, AXE Body Spray, Boost Mobile, Eastman Kodak, Lincoln and Time Warner. Celebrating its 10-year anniversary, the ABFF will be held from Wednesday, July 19, 2006, through Sunday, July 23, 2006, in South Beach, Miami, Florida.

HBO has supported the ABFF for the past nine years and hosts one of the festival’s staple events, the HBO Short Film Award Competition. Wal-Mart Voices of Color returns for the second year as the presenting sponsor. The platinum level sponsors have increased from two companies to five for the 2006 ABFF. AXE Body Spray, also in its second year of support, and Lincoln, a supporter for the past seven years, have both recommitted to the festival with new contests – AXE Black Filmmaker Series and Lincoln Luxury Contest, respectively. Joining the incumbent platinum level sponsors is Boost Mobile, Eastman Kodak and Time Warner.

“We are both grateful for and proud of the commitment of our corporate sponsors,” said Jeff Friday, Film Life’s CEO and ABFF founder. “These companies share our mission of showcasing contemporary Black cinema. As we enter our 10th year, we acknowledge the long-standing support of HBO as well as all our other corporate sponsors who lend their support and understand the significance and importance of the ABFF.”

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. The festival boasts film industry events that attract an upscale group of African American consumers. This year, the 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.

Much of the ABFF’s programming is supported by its sponsors. For eight years HBO has presented the HBO Short Film Award which gives away a $20,000 grand prize award to one winning filmmaker, and $5,000 each to four runners-up. Wal-Mart’s “Voices of Color Documentary Award” returns for its second year with a prize of $20,000. The Blockbuster Audience Award is awarded to the most popular film of the festival. The prize is $20,000.

The newly launched AXE Black Filmmaker Series is a screenwriting and film contest, granting three aspiring filmmakers the opportunity to turn their scripts about the black dating game into a film and receive a cash award of $5,000 and up to a $35,000 production budget. Lincoln presents its first “Define Lincoln Luxury” Commercial Contest, which requires the production of a digital 30-60-second commercial with a Grand Prize win of either a 2 year lease on a 2006 Lincoln Zephyr, Lincoln’s first entry-level luxury sedan, or a cash award. Kodak will present the Grand Jury Prize for the Best Picture and award $20,000 in film stock as the prize. Boost Mobile will present the Grand Jury Prize for Best Performance by an Actor.

Time Warner and Entertainment Weekly will host the festival’s highly anticipated event, “A Conversation With…,” an intimate and candid interview with a famed celebrity guest.

“Each year the ABFF is fortunate to have sponsors that bring fresh, creative elements to the festival program. For the 10-year anniversary, both continuing and new sponsors are offering new opportunities for the independent film community,” states Amelia Winfree, senior director, sponsorship & event sales, Film Life, Inc.

The additional list of ABFF corporate supporters who utilize cinema as a way of reaching their consumers continues with American Airlines, Black Enterprise, Blockbuster, Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) and VURV, Inc. (gold sponsors); CodeBlack Entertainment, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Nickelodeon, Nielsen Media Research and Starbucks Coffee Company (silver sponsors). Media sponsors include AOL Black Voices, DVRepublic.com, EUR Web, Landmine Design, Upscale magazine, Uptown magazine and Socialstep.com.

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. 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 at [email protected].


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