World Premiere of Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain to Close 17th Annual American Black Film Festival as Part of Festival’s Overall Official Line-up

“The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete,” Co-Executive Produced by GRAMMY® Award-Winner Alicia Keys, to Open the Festival and Ryan Coogler’s Award-Winning “Fruitvale Station” to Serve as the Festival’s Alumni Spotlight Screening

NEW YORK, NY, June 4, 2013 – Today Film Life’s 17th Annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF), announced its official slate of films, including Opening and Closing Night screenings, Gala screenings along with selections for the Narrative Features Competition, HBO® Short Film Competition and CNN Films Documentary Competition. The Festival will be held in Miami Beach, FL, June 19-23, 2013.

The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete, from Codeblack Films, a LIONSGATE® company, opens the festival, featuring a stellar cast including Skylan Brooks, Ethan Dizon, Jordin Sparks (Sparkle), Jeffrey Wright (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close) and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Thor: The Dark World) with Anthony Mackie (Pain & Gain, The Hurt Locker) and Academy Award®-winner Jennifer Hudson (“Smash,” Sex and the City 2, Dreamgirls). The film, directed by George Tillman, Jr. (Notorious, Soul Food), was co-executive produced by GRAMMY® Award-winning singer Alicia Keys. This unique and affecting film is a coming of age story about two boys trying to survive the summer in their Brooklyn housing projects without parental supervision.

Closing the festival on June 22 is the feature film Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain starring actor and comedian Kevin Hart (Think Like A Man, BET’s “Real Husbands of Hollywood”). Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, filmed at Madison Square Garden, captures one of the fast-talking, high-energy performances on Hart’s comedy tour of the same name. The 2012 international, multi-city comedy concert tour generated over $32.7 million in ticket sales and surpassed the then #1 urban comedy tour of all time, The Kings of Comedy. Summit Entertainment, a LIONSGATE® Company, will release the feature film nationwide on July 3, 2013.

Also announced is Ryan Coogler’s award-winning Fruitvale Station, from The Weinstein Company, as the Festival’s Alumni Spotlight Screening, along with UP’s (formerly known as gmc TV) world premiere of In the Meantime written by the 2012 UP’s screenplay competition winner Nzinga Kadalie Kemp and the world premiere of Playin’ For Love, produced and directed by Robert Townsend (In the Hive), as Gala Screenings.

In 2011, Ryan Coogler was the winner of the prestigious HBO® Short Film Competition at ABFF for his film, Fig. He is commanding attention again with his directorial debut, Fruitvale Station, an independent drama set in the San Francisco Bay area about the final day of 22-year-old Oscar Grant, who was infamously shot to death by a BART transit police officer in the early hours of New Year’s Day, 2008. The film was produced by Significant Productions, Academy Award-winner Forest Whitaker’s production company, and has proven to be a breakthrough role for Michael B. Jordan (Red Tails), who is best known for his acclaimed turn on HBO’s “The Wire,” and Academy-Award winner Octavia Spencer (The Help) rounds out the cast as Grant’s mother. The film will be released theatrically July 2013.

UP’s In the Meantime, stars Kali Hawk as Jazmin “Jazz” Welles as a bride-to-be who gives her fiancé “creative” freedom before their wedding day, but ends up finding faith and the meaning of true love in the meantime. Taking a non-traditional approach to their nuptials, they have agreed to take nine months off to discover themselves and if it is indeed true love, they will show up on the wedding day, no questions asked. The cast includes an ensemble of multi-talented actors including Darrin Dewitt Henson (The Express, “Soul Food”) as “Blac,” Terri J. Vaughn (Friday, Daddy’s Little Girls, “Sugar Mommas”) and neo-soul recording artist Musiq Soulchild in his film debut. Roger Bobb (Raising Izzie, For Colored Girls) directed and produced the film and it will premiere on UP in July 2013.

Playin’ For Love is a romantic comedy that centers on the head coach of a high school basketball team and a single mother who are ultimately responsible for a reversal of fortune for the team’s future. Shot in Miami, Florida, Playin’ For Love is unique in that local talent was utilized and the project was financed in part by grants from the Southeast Overtown/Park West and Omni Redevelopment District Community Redevelopment Agencies, and the generous support of the City of Miami.

With over fifteen world premieres, the ABFF is renowned for showcasing preeminent cinematic content and this year’s slate of films will prove no exception. The Festival will screen artful and diversified feature films, shorts and documentaries with broad thematic elements. Things Never Said, starring ABFF’s Celebrity Ambassador, Omari Hardwick (Sparkle, For Colored Girls) seeks to determine how the spoken word defines self-worth and the resilience and depth of relationships among women provides salvation in The Magic City.

Jeff Friday, ABFF Founder and CEO of Film Life, Inc. states, “We are excited to be at seventeen years and counting. This year we have a diverse selection of films, some returning alumni and new webisode creators. With that said, it is especially rewarding to watch alumni take their next steps into the mainstream marketplace.” He adds, “We are steadfast in our commitment to support aspiring filmmakers, leading them to opportunities that will hopefully help them to build rewarding careers.”

Below is the full 2013 film lineup by section:


Feature-length films in this section compete for the ABFF’s Grand Jury prizes for Best Screenplay, Best Actor presented by Marriot International, Best Director and Best Film, presented by Cadillac.

The Magic City, World Premiere
Written, produced and directed by R. Malcolm Jones
Cast: Jennifer Lewis, Keith David, Jamie Hector and introducing Latrice Jackson, LaShay Jackson and Amiya Thomas

Sable Fable, World Premiere
Written, produced and directed by Stephen Lloyd Jackson
Cast: James Williams, Nicole Hartley, Sheila Nortley, Jasmine Munting, Daniel Bailey, Alex Marx, Stephen Lloyd Jackson and Lily Joseph

The Suspect, World Premiere
Written and directed by Stuart Connelly, Produced by Mary Jo Barthmaier
Cast: Mekhi Phifer, William Sadler, Sterling K. Brown, James McCaffrey and Rebecca Creskoff

Things Never Said
Written, produced and directed by Charles Murray
Cast: Omari Hardwick, Shanola Hampton and Elimu Nelson


Nonfiction films in this section compete for the Best Documentary Award, presented by CNN Films.

Films selected for the 2013 Documentary Competition is as follows:

Children of the Wind
Directed by Daphne Schmon, Produced by Robert McCormick
Narrated by Gbenga Akinnagbe

Produced and directed by Christine Turner

The Sunflower County Freedom Project, World Premiere
Produced and directed by Carmen L. Scott


Five emerging filmmakers compete for the HBO Short Film Award.

The Adventures of Edison Jean, World Premiere
Written and directed by Edson Jean

Black Girl in Paris, World Premiere
Written and directed by Kiandra Parks

A Different Tree, World Premiere
Directed by Steven Caple Jr.

Stone Cars, World Premiere
Written and directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green

Sweet Honey Child, World Premiere
Co-written and directed by Talibah Newman


A non-competitive showcase of feature-length films.

Full Circle, World Premiere
Written, produced and directed by Solvan Naim
Cast: Rob Morgan, Solvan Naim, Eden Marryshow, Celestine Rae, Kelvin Hale and Devale Ellis

Home, World Premiere
Written and directed by Jono Oliver, Produced by Jono Oliver, Daniela Barbosa and Ged Dickersin
Cast: Gbenga Akinnagbe, Joe Morton, Fawny Cypress and Victor Williams

Home Again
Written by Jennifer Holness and David Sudz Sutherland, Directed by Sudz Sutherland, Produced by Jennifer Holness, Don Carmody and Anita Lee
Cast: Tatyana Ali, Lyriq Bent, Stephan James, Fefe Dobson, Richard Chevolleau, Paul Campbell and CCH Pounder

Monica, World Premiere
Written and directed by Gregory Carter Produced by Datari Turner
Cast: Omari Hardwick, Ali Cobrin, Mariel Hemingway, James Remar, Lynn Whitfield, Robert Hoffman, Datari Turner, Briana Evigan and Obba Babatunde

Written and directed by Shaka King, Produced by Michael Matthews, Jim Wareck, Gbenga Akinnagbe and Shaka King
Cast: Amari Cheatom, Trae Harris, Tone Tank, Colman Domingo and Hassan Johnson


A showcase of short form content created for distribution on the Internet and other digital platforms. Three finalists compete for the ABFF Webisode Award.

The Couple: The Moo Moo
Written by Jeanine Daniels, Directed by Dennis Dortch

Written by Dennis Dortch and Numa Perrier, Directed by Dennis Dortch

Unwritten Rules
Written by Kim Williams, Directed by Natasha “Tash” Gray


Free public screenings presented by the City of Miami SEOPW CRA

Playin’ for Love, World Premiere
Written and directed by Robert Townsend

“Films Over Miami” Community Showcase: Highlighting Miami’s Emerging Filmmakers
Films to be announced

Movie Tickets: Ticket prices are $12.00. Walk-up tickets will be on sale day of show only at the at the Colony Theatre & Miami Beach Cinematheque box offices. The box office wait line forms 45 minutes prior to show time. There are no advance sales.

Festival Event Tickets/Passes: Individual event tickets go on sale June 5-15 in limited quantity on ticketweb.com. Festival passes will be available on-site starting Wednesday, June 19, 2013, at the Ritz-Carlton, South Beach. For more information visit www.ABFF.com or call 646-375-2144.

HBO® (Founding and Premier Sponsor); Cadillac (Premier Sponsor); American Airlines, UP (formerly gmc TV), CNN Films, Codeblack Films a Lionsgate company, Comcast/NBCUniversal, Nickelodeon and Marriott International (Official Sponsors); American Family Insurance, BET, Grab Media, Nielsen and Stella Artois (Supporting Sponsors); Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB), Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency, Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority (MBVCA), Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce and Miami-Dade County Tourist Development Council (TDC) (Host Sponsors); Dr. Miracle’s, Macy’s and Rosa Regale (Promotional Partners); Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), New York Film In Film and Television, One Village Entertainment, SAGIndie, Writers Guild of America West (Industry Partners)

Media Sponsors: Black Enterprise and Uptown (Official Media); GIANTlife.com, Precious Times and Upscale (Supporting Media)

About The American Black Film Festival (ABFF):
The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) is a five-day retreat and international film market dedicated to strengthening the Black filmmaking community. Established in 1997, the core mission of the ABFF is to promote cultural diversity within the motion picture industry. Through its film showcases and special contests, it annually introduces the top echelon of emerging artists to the film and television industry.

About Film Life, Inc.:
The ABFF is a property of Film Life, Inc., a multi-faceted entertainment company headquartered in New York City. The company was founded in 2001 by Jeff Friday, a veteran of the consumer product marketing and advertising industries. While best known for creating the American Black Film Festival (ABFF), Film Life’s operations center on developing/licensing innovative content across all forms of media and providing strategic advisory services to a wide range of companies in the entertainment, media and consumer product industries.

About Summit Entertainment:
Summit Entertainment, a LIONSGATE® company, is a worldwide theatrical motion picture development, financing, production and distribution studio. The company handles all aspects of marketing and distribution for both its own internally developed motion pictures as well as acquired pictures. Summit also represents international sales for both its own slate and third party product.

For full details on this year’s festival, please visit www.ABFF.com

Follow us on social media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/abff

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/American-Black-Film-Festival/47321635722

Instagram: www.Instagram.com/AmericanBlackFilmFestival

YouTube.com: http://www.youtube.com/user/ABFFTV


Michelle Huff
[email protected]

Kelley Jackson
[email protected]