Film Life Announces 2004 Dates for Eighth Annual American Black Film Festival

ABFF Returns to South Beach, Miami, July 14-18 to Showcase the Best in Independent Black Cinema

Film Submissions Now Being Accepted

New York, NY, February, 2004 – Film Life, Inc. today announced the dates and call for entries for Film Life’s Eighth Annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF). The ABFF will be held Wednesday, July 14 through Sunday, July 18 throughout South Beach, Miami, Florida. Submissions are now being accepted in all categories for screening consideration. The ABFF is presented by Time Warner Inc.

Under the direction of Film Life’s CEO and ABFF cofounder Jeff Friday, the 2004 ABFF program will showcase a diverse selection of Black films inclusive of features, shorts, documentaries as well as studio/network releases. The ABFF is committed to nurturing filmmakers in a variety of disciplines and offers panel discussions, industry workshops and seminars in addition to its film showcases.

The festival has four film sections: the Main section (Feature Films/Competitive), World Showcase (Feature Films/Noncompetitive), HBO Short Film Award competition and the Documentary Section (Noncompetitive). Awards are presented to films in all competitive sections. The awards include, the HBO Short Film Award ($20,000 cash prize); the Blockbuster Award for Best Feature Film ($20,000 cash prize), the Filmmaker Trophy (a peer award); the Best Performance by an Actor Award and the Best Performance by an Actress Award.

The deadline for entries for all film sections is Friday, April 15. For complete submission information, please visit www.abff.com.

“Last year’s festival demonstrated the unparalleled status of ABFF as an international film market and a leading film festival for filmmakers of color,” said Friday. “We’d like to acknowledge our corporate partners, especially Time Warner, HBO and Lincoln Mercury. It is through their continued support that we are able to give Black filmmakers across the world an alternative voice.”

“Time Warner is pleased to lend its support again this year and build upon its strong, productive and diverse partnership with the ABFF,” said Gerri Warren Merrick, vice president, corporate community relations, Time Warner. “We are committed to seeking opportunities to celebrate the creative genius of Black Filmmakers.”

“HBO has been a sponsor of the ABFF since its infancy and it’s proven to be a very successful partnership,” said Olivia Smashum, executive vice president, affiliate marketing, HBO. “We’re proud of how the festival has grown and are pleased to continue our long-standing and enthusiastic support because we too share the same vision – that of mining new talent.”

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. The festival 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. 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. This year marks the festival’s third year in South Beach. It attracts 2,500 attendees and is recognized as the premiere Black film festival.

Sponsors of this year’s ABFF include: Time Warner (Presenting), HBO (Founding) and Lincoln Mercury (Platinum). Gold sponsors include: Blockbuster, Upscale and Fox Searchlight Pictures; the Silver sponsor is American Airlines. The festival’s media partner is Black Enterprise.

The ABFF is a property of Film Life, Inc., a New York based film marketing and distribution company. Its mission is to spearhead the commercial development of independent Black films.

Time Warner Inc. is the world’s leading media and entertainment company whose businesses include filmed entertainment, interactive services, television networks, cable systems and publishing.

For information on eligibility requirements, registration and schedule of events for the ABFF, visit www.abff.com.