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Russ Parr and Chris Dodd

*Former US senator, Chris Dodd (now Chairman of the MPAA), joined Jeff Friday (CEO of Film Life, Inc and Founder of the American Black Film Festival) for a special VIP screening of Russ Parr‘s “The Undershepherd.”

The special event, which took place on Tuesday, November 27 at the Motion Picture Association of America in Washington DC, included a reception and screening followed by a Q&A with filmmaker and syndicated radio host Russ Parr.

In a Q&A session after the screening, Parr discussed the challenges of being a filmmaker.

“you all have to support dramatic themed movies like ‘The Undershepherd’ to counter the widely regarded belief that African Americans will only support a black director and producer if they produce movies that are urban comedies,” the filmmaker told the audience.

He also spoke about the need for greater distribution opportunities for filmmakers like himself.

Parr wrote, produced and directed the film which won the 2012 American Black Film Festival Gran d Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature and Best Director. Parr is the host of the nationally syndicated Russ Parr Morning Show heard weekdays by more than 3.2 million listeners in 25 major markets.

Jeff Friday, Founder of the American Black Film Festival, also spoke about the importance of fostering these relationships in support of independent filmmaking. Over the last 16 years, the ABFF has been the premiere festival for the advancement of African Americans and other minorities in film and television.

In other news, the 2013 ABFF confab is scheduled for June 19-23 in Miami (South Beach). Passes on sale now www.abff.com

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Russ Parr, Jeff Friday & Chris Dodd

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John Gibson, Chris Dodd, Russ Parr & Jeff Friday

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Jeff Friday and Russ Parr

Photo credit: Ralph Alswang

Watch the trailer for “The Undershepherd”: