Jeff Friday

*Congratulations to Jeff Friday, founder/CEO of Film Life Incorporated on the celebratory success of this years 15th Annual American Black Film Festival which took place in Miami, Florida July 6th thru July 9th.

With the Ritz-Carlton serving as the host hotel and film screenings being shown at various venues close by, South Beach sizzled with a bevy of celebrities who came into town to make this year’s ABFF triumphant. Just as equally important though were the festival attendees who have kept this festival going strong year after year with their fervor for the film industry and all that it entails.

Through the ABFF, up and coming script and screenwriters, producers, directors, and actors make up the majority of festival goers who have the unique opportunity to submit short films, narrative features, documentaries, etc. to be viewed by film industry veterans as well as black cinema lovers in general. The array of film submissions presented for competition gives film aficionados the opportunity to choose from comedy to drama to riveting documentaries. The ABFF provides a positive platform where young African American film enthusiast can come together to showcase their artistry and learn about the film industry as a whole, honing in on their skills and bringing their dreams of filmmaking to fruition.

Veteran actors/directors Robert Townsend and Bill Duke continued their individual traditions with Townsend presenting a Master Class: “The Ultimate Pitch,” while Bill Duke headed his 3 day “Bill Duke’s Actors Boot Camp.” Director John Singleton was on hand for an abbreviated screening and Q and A session of the classic “Boyz N The Hood,” which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

From a loaded schedule of seminars, classes, and film screenings to the ABFF Honors award show hosted by Anthony Anderson honoring this year’s recipient, Keenan Ivory Wayans, the ABFF marked its territory yet again as one of the leading black film festivals to date.

In my opinion, the ABFF is the culmination of many hard working individuals who want to provide a networking event ‘black Hollywood’ style to unveil truly talented young African American men and women whose skill set and/or film work may otherwise be deemed not experienced enough, not socially acceptable enough, or even not financially prosperous enough for mainstream.  The ABFF is constantly providing that rare opportunity to find a hidden gem which may otherwise be overlooked.  We look forward to the future ABFF’s and all that they will bring!!

The ABFF is not all about haughty forums and stuffy parties though.  Marking 15 years for this festival, the ABFF had plenty of celebrity studded (Mekhi Phifer, Mari Marrow, Melyssa Ford, Sean Blakemore, just to name a few) parties from daytime mixers to ultralounge areas to Melanie Fiona performing at LIV for the ABFF15th Anniversay Party.

Check out some of the celebs in attendance via EUR’s Madge Evans trusty camera:

Melyssa Ford

Mari Marrow

Sean Blakemore

John Singleton

Bill Duke and two ABFF atendees