Film Life’s 12th Annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF) announced this week that the popular festival will return to Los Angeles August 7-10, 2008. Festival founder and CEO of Film Life, Inc., Jeff Friday said, “We are very excited about once again being in Los Angeles and providing the opportunity to link the independent Black film community with Hollywood.”
“The theme of this year’s festival is Exploring Black Sexuality in Cinema. We plan to present an exciting panel as well as screen several films with sexuality at their core,” said Reggie Scott, executive director of the ABFF. “Additionally, we intend to work closely with the studios to create a potent marketplace for buyers and producers of independent Black cinema,” Scott added.
Festival activities will be centered in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Allstate has signed on as the 2008 presenting sponsor. HBO, the festival’s founding sponsor, returns along with BETJ and Lincoln as premiere sponsors. Film submissions for consideration for the 2008 ABFF are being accepted from now through June 3, 2008. Submission forms, deadlines and eligibility criteria are available online at www.abff.com.
“We are excited about moving up to the presenting sponsor level and taking the film screenings to several local communities,” said Raleigh Floyd, communications manager for Allstate. “As part of our “Beyond February” initiative, the 2008 Allstate Be Reel Film Contest is an acknowledgement of the important role the arts play in strengthening communities, and another way Allstate demonstrates its commitment to the African-American community year-round,” he added.
The mission of the festival, which was founded in 1997, is to strengthen the Black filmmaking community through resource sharing, education, artistic collaboration and career development. Since its inception, over 400 independent films have been screened and, seventy per cent having gone on to secure theatrical or DVD distribution. Festival alumni include director Sylvain White (Stomp the Yard) and producers Rob Hardy and Will Packer (This Christmas and Stomp the Yard), producer Roger M. Bobb (Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married and Daddy’s Little Girls) and writer/director Frank E. Flowers (Haven). The ABFF was born out of the need to generate distribution opportunities for independent Black films and promote cultural diversity within the motion picture industry. It is widely considered the premier Black film market. Festival attendance is expected to exceed 5,000 people.
In addition to its cinematic showcases, the ABFF nurtures artists in a variety of disciplines, offering workshops, symposiums, exclusive parties, high-level networking and signature events including: panel discussions, ABFF Honors, the HBO Short Film Competition and “A Conversation with” For the past eleven years, HBO has collaborated with the ABFF to bring the best emerging Black filmmakers to the forefront.