LEE DANIELS WAS PRESENTED WITH THE CAREER ACHEIVEMENT AWARD AND PRIZES WERE HANDED OUT FOR FILMS IN COMPETITION. HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDED THE HBO® SHORT FILM COMPETITION WINNER, “STAG & DOE,” IDRIS ELBA’S “LEGACY” WINNING BEST FILM AND GOLDEN BROOKS NAMED BEST ACTRESS FOR HER PERFORMANCE IN “THE INHERITANCE.”
RECOGNITION FOR ARTISTIC ACHIEVEMENT ALSO WENT TO CHRISETTE MICHELE WHO GRACED THE EVENT TO ACCEPT THE GREY GOOSE RISING ICON AWARD.
New York, NY (June 28, 2010) – The 14th Annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF), which took place in Miami, June 23-26, was an energetic and inspiring experience for approximately 3,500 festivalgoers. Wrapping up the star-studded four-day festival which was well attended by multi-talented aspiring actors and filmmakers, who received acclamation at the closing night ceremony, ABFF Honors. Hosted by Producer/Director Robert Townsend at the New World Symphony Lincoln Theater, the evening ended on a high with the recognition of Oscar nominated Producer/Director Lee Daniels receiving the “Career Achievement Award” for his success and great talent. In accepting his award, Daniels thanked his mother, who was seated front row with other family members, “for allowing me to be me” in celebration of this well-deserved honor.
“The close of ABFF is always full of mixed emotions,” stated ABFF Founder Jeff Friday. “As we’re happy that another successful year is behind us, we’re also looking forward to what’s ahead. I would like to thank our Ambassador Idris Elba, our supportive alumni filmmakers Will Packer and Rob Hardy of Rainforest Films, and Sony/Screen Gems Studios for bringing us our opening and centerpiece films. My sincerest appreciation to my staff and to all who have contributed to make this year a stellar event.”
This event would not be a success without our fantastic sponsor family led by founding and premier sponsor HBO?. For the first time in ABFF history, the slate of films presented were the most diverse and inspiring with categories ranging from horror to drama. The goal of the ABFF is to be a platform for independent showcases for people of African descent and to strengthen the Black filmmaking community through resource sharing, education, artistic collaboration and career development.
The complete list of ABFF Honors awards is as follows:
- HBO® Short Film Competition – Stag & Doe, presented by Olivia Smashum, Executive VP of Affiliate Marketing, HBO® and Actress Tamara Tunie. Prize of $20,000 sponsored by HBO®.
- Grand Jury Prize for Best Actor (male/female) – Golden Brooks for her role as Karen in The Inheritance, award presented by Actress Jazsmin Lewis and Mark Pitts, Vice President and General Manager of Coffee and Tea for Coca-Cola. Prize of $5,000 sponsored by Gold Peak Tea.
- Grand Jury Prize for Best Film – Legacy directed by Thomas Ikimi, award presented by Actress Rochelle Aytes and Jason Williams, Regional Managing Director of Wealth Management for Wachovia, a Wells Fargo Company. Prize of $5,000 sponsored by Wachovia, a Wells Fargo Company.
- 2010 ABFF Star Project Winners – Emayatzy Corinealdi and Stephen Hill presented by Writer/Producer/Director Gina Prince Bythewood.
- American Airlines presented Grand Jury Prize and Star Project Winners with complimentary round-trip airline tickets.
- Rising Icon Award – Singer-Songwriter Chrisette Michele presented by Julious Grant, Senior Vice President, Bacardi USA.
- Career Achievement Award – Oscar Nominated Producer/Director Lee Daniels presented by Writer/Producer/Director Robert Townsend.
The festival opened with the premiere of Takers, courtesy of Screen Gems and a festive after-party at the Miami nightclub Klutch, sponsored by BET Networks. As the week progressed, festivalgoers experienced a range of film screenings and master classes led by acclaimed filmmakers Spike Lee, Cliff Charles and screenwriter Steve Duncan. CNN presented a symposium with Soledad O’Brien – an inside-look at the new In America documentary unit and sneak peak of the Black in America documentary, Churched; HBO® presented a two part “Talk Series,” kicking off with a candid discussion among artists from popular HBO Shows followed by a conversation between Soledad and Spike Lee “Katrina – 5 years after the Storm.” Other symposiums by leading media companies included Nickelodeon, MTV Networks, Black Enterprise and The Nielsen Media Company.
In between classes and screenings, festivalgoers visited the Stella Artois Cutting Room Mixers for serious industry networking. Come mid-week, centerpiece screening of Stomp the Yard: Homecoming, courtesy of Stage 6 Films, RCR Partners and Rainforest Films, proved to be a big hit selling out and causing festival producers to add a second screening.
Festival attendees know the ABFF parties are always a hit. But this year’s 10th Anniversary celebration of Film Life proved to be extra special when Idris Elba turned in his acting hat to join DJ D-Nice in keeping the partygoers electrified into the wee hours of the morning at trendy Miami nightclub LIV.
The most unique addition to the festival was ABFF’s new “Pro-Hollywood Initiative” (PHI) which brings together an impressive group of athletes with an equally impressive group of filmmakers to stimulate athletes’ interest in the movie business, connecting them with talented filmmakers, educating them about the workings of the industry and promoting their involvement in the production of quality independent films.
The PHI roundtable was hosted by founder Jeff Friday and attended by filmmakers Spike Lee, John Singleton, Robert Townsend, Steve Duncan; athletes Ikechuku Ndukwe, Isaac Keys, Hannibal Navies and Terrell Suggs with exclusive coverage by Sam Alipour (EPSN.com). Terrell Suggs was given the opportunity to screen his debut film Sisters for this elite group. Suggs states, “…the ABFF enabled me to connect with an aspiring writer and produce my first film.” Due to PHI’s success, Jeff Friday plans to expand this initiative beyond the festival and launch a filmmaking boot camp targeted to professional athletes in 2011.
Established in 1997, the core mission of the ABFF is to promote cultural diversity within the motion picture industry by strengthening the Black filmmaking community through resource sharing, education, artistic collaboration and career development. Through its film showcases and special contests, it annually introduces the top echelon of emerging artists to the film and television industry. The ABFF is a property of Film Life, Inc., a New York-based event marketing, production and distribution company founded in 2000 by Jeff Friday (CEO).
HBO® is the festival’s Founding and Premier Sponsor. Other sponsors on board this year include: Grey Goose and Wachovia, a Wells Fargo Company (Premier Sponsors); American Airlines and BET Networks (Official Sponsors); CNN, Codeblack Entertainment, Gold Peak Tea, Nickelodeon, The Nielsen Company, and Stella Artois (Supporting Sponsors); City of Miami Community Redevelopment Agency, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority (Host Sponsors); Fox Searchlight Pictures, Halle Berry Pure Orchid, MTV Networks, SAGIndie and the Writers Guild of America, West (Industry Partners). Media Sponsors: AOL Black Voices, Black Enterprise (Official Level); Automotive Rhythms, Heart & Soul, MIA, Monarch, Precious Times, Upscale and Uptown magazines (Supporting Level).
Red carpet video and coverage can be found on AOL Black Voices www.aolblackvoices.com
For media inquiries, call Lisa Sorensen (LSPR) at (646) 330-5458 or via email at [email protected]. General registration information can be obtained by visiting www.abff.com, calling 646-375-2144, ext 1, or contacting the festival via email at [email protected].