American Black Film Festival Returns to the Beach

HBO® is the Festival’s Founding and Premier Sponsor

New York, NY (March 2, 2009) – Film Life’s the American Black Film Festival (ABFF), the premier destination event celebrating and awarding independent films by and about people of color, will be held June 24th-27th, 2009 on South Beach in Miami. Home Box Office, Inc. (HBO) is the festival’s Founding and Premier Sponsor.

Founded in 1997, 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 by strengthening the Black filmmaking community through resource sharing, education, artistic collaboration and career development.

“We began 13 years ago as an annual film retreat to showcase and celebrate the best and brightest filmmakers of African descent. We are returning to that model this year in Miami and will restore the tropical intimacy the ABFF has always been known for,” said Jeff Friday, CEO of Film Life, Inc. and Founder of ABFF.

Supported in part by the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB), Miami was host to the ABFF for five years. “It was one of our most successful and well attended events,” said GMCVB President and CEO William D. Talbert III, CDME. “We are delighted ABFF is returning to Miami, and look forward to a continuation of our partnership with Film Life, as well as the film and entertainment community at large,” Talbert added.

This year’s event will open with a star studded Hollywood premiere and close with the ABFF Independent Film Awards “Our mission is to cultivate the careers of the most talented emerging filmmakers and facilitate the distribution of their commercially viable work,” said Melanie Sharee, Festival Director. “We have revised our programming goals and selection criteria to reflect our focus on quality over quantity,” Sharee added.

Corporate support for the 13th annual festival includes Founding & Premier Sponsor: Home Box Office, Inc., Official Sponsor: Allstate, Supporting Sponsors: Nielsen Media Research and Nickelodeon, Industry Partners: Writer’s Guild of America West, Film Florida, One Village Entertainment, Miami-Dade County Film & Entertainment Office, Media Partners: Essence, Vibe, Black Enterprise, Uptown, Upscale, Heart & Soul, Precious Times, Automotive Rhythms, Monarch and Black Noir.

“HBO recognized the important niche the ABFF filled 13 years ago and we have been proud supporters and partners with Film Life since then,” said Olivia Smashum, Executive Vice President, Affiliate Marketing, HBO. “Miami is the perfect backdrop for this festival, and we are very pleased that it is returning to this great city.”

Festival and registration information is available online at, via phone 646-375-2144 ext 1 or by e-mail:

Founded in 1997, the American Black Film Festival is an industry retreat and competitive marketplace for films by and about people of color. The festival’s mission is to facilitate distribution opportunities for quality films and introduce the top echelon of emerging artists to the industry at large. Since its inception, the ABFF has premiered over 500 films, positioning it as the leading film festival for Black and urban content. The ABFF is a property of Film Life, Inc., a New York-based event marketing, production and distribution company founded in 2002 by Jeff Friday (CEO).

Ghana O. Wilson
646-375-2144 ext 5