The 13th Annual American Black Film Festival Culminates with Awards Presentation, a Private Community Reception and Screening of Pastor Brown

The Roe Effect Wins the HBO® Short Film Award, Len Bias Wins Best Documentary and Mississippi Damned Wins Best Feature

Miami, FL – June 30, 2009 – Film Film Life’s 13th annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF) announced the winners of their Independent Film Awards at the Colony Theatre on June 27, 2009. The ABFF is the premier international marketplace for films that showcase the best new work by and about people of African descent. The ABFF Audience Award winner, Blue, was determined by mobile voting as part of the festival’s digital media marketing initiatives.

HBO® is the festival’s Founding and Premier sponsor. In addition, this year marked the launch of the American Black Film Festival’s community initiative and partnership with the City of Miami Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA).

The ABFF Independent Film Awards continues to celebrate the best independent films produced and directed outside of Hollywood. “We are committed to providing new opportunities each year for emerging talent and bringing the best work of these gifted filmmakers to a broad audience,” said Jeff Friday, CEO of Film Life and founder of the American Black Film Festival. “The talent this year was impressive and I believe that the lineup of films and programming is the best we’ve had in 13 years,” added Melanie Sharee, ABFF programming director.

The award winners are as follows:

HBO® Short Film Award, sponsored by HBO® – Prize $20,000
The Roe Effect directed by Kiel Adrian Scott

ABFF Audience Award
Blue directed by Ryan Miningham

Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature, sponsored by BET Networks – Prize $5,000
Mississippi Damned directed by Tina Mabry

Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary
Len Bias directed by Kirk Frasier

Allstate Beyond February “Be Reel” Film Contest Winner, sponsored by Allstate – Prize $5,000
The Broken Sole directed by Travis Dent

Grand Jury Prize for Best Actor
Tessa Thompson in Mississippi Damned

Star Project Winner Actor – Khalilah Joi Dubose – sponsored by Vibe magazine
Star Project Winner Actor – Bechir Sylvain – sponsored by Vibe magazine

The partnership of the ABFF with the City of Miami Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and the City of Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones provided the community with the opportunity to have access to some of the movers and shakers in the film industry. A youth filmmaker workshop with Vivica Fox, Wendell Pierce, Steven Barnes, Ronald Lang and Kevin Sharpley was held at the Lyric Theater in Overtown. A pastor’s appreciation reception and private screening of the ABFF’s Centerpiece film, Pastor Brown, closed out the 13 annual American Black Film Festival. Trolleys were provided for festival patrons to “Shop, Dine and Explore” some of the City of Miami’s cultural destinations, including Miami Bayside, the Olympic Theater at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, Jackson Soul Food, Miami Riverwalk and the historic Ice Palace Film Studios. Shop, Dine and Explore is a new marketing campaign to promote the City of Miami’s Community Redevelopment Agency’s Southeast Overtown, Park West and Omni Redevelopment Districts.

HBO® is the ABFF’s Founding and Premier Sponsor. Other corporate supporters include: Premier Sponsor BET Networks; Official Sponsors: Allstate, City of Miami Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB); Supporting Sponsors: Nielsen Media Research, Nickelodeon, HSBC Bank USA, ESPN, TNT, Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority (VCA), and Parish-Nation; Industry and Marketing Partners: One Village Entertainment, Stella Artois, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Soblu Inc., Codeblack Entertainment, Tyler Perry Studios, SAGIndie, Writer’s Guild of America West, New York Women in Film & Television, Final Draft, FilMiami: Miami-Dade Office of Film & Entertainment, The Governor’s Office of Film & Entertainment, the Broward Alliance, the City of Miami Mayor’s Office of Film & Cultural Affairs, Film in Florida, GMCVB Miami Boutique Hotels, Film Florida; Vegas Style Entertainment and Vitaminwater; Media Partners: Essence, Vibe, Black Enterprise, Uptown, Upscale, Heart & Soul, Automotive Rhythms, Monarch, Black Noir, Precious Times and EUR Web.

Founded in 1997, the American Black Film Festival (www.abff.com) is an industry retreat and competitive marketplace for films by and about people of color. The festival’s mission is to facilitate distribution opportunities for quality films and introduce the top echelon of emerging artists to the industry at large. Since its inception, the ABFF has premiered over 600 films, positioning it as the leading film festival for Black and urban content. The ABFF is a property of Film Life, Inc., a New York-based event marketing, production and distribution company founded in 2002 by Jeff Friday (CEO).

For additional information please contact Yvette N. Harris phone 786.897.8854 or by e-mail: [email protected]. Follow ABFF on twitter.com/abff and abff/facebook.com. Additional photos from the 2009 festival can be found at www.abff.com.