AXE Black Filmmaker’s Series Finalists’ Films to Premiere at American Black Film Festival

Acclaimed director, F. Gary Gray, helps select three finalists to each receive up to $35,000 to produce their films

Chicago, (May 31, 2006) – AXE, the makers of men’s grooming products, is offering aspiring black filmmakers a seat in the director’s chair with the AXE Black Filmmaker’s Series (ABFS). This national competition offers entrants the opportunity to present a new brand of black films with a fresh perspective, while helping three finalists fulfill their dreams of launching their film careers on a national level. The three finalists will have their films debuted at the 10th Annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF) taking place on July 22, 2006 in Miami.

F. Gary Gray, director of “Friday,” “The Italian Job” and “Set it Off,” as well as videos starring OutKast and Ice Cube, is among the panel of judges who determined the three 2006 ABFS finalists. Their original and humorous scripts bring to life the dating game from the perspective of a young black man.

Stephanie Louis, 23, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Richard Montgomery, 49, of Cleveland, Ohio; and Selton Shaw, 24, of Washington D.C. are the finalists whom Gray and the panel of judges selected based on their innovative and extraordinary stories. Each filmmaker received a cash award of $5,000 and up to a $35,000 production budget to take his or her story from script to the big screen. Following their ABFF premieres, the films will embark on a screening tour visiting select cities nationwide.

“AXE is about giving guys the confidence to get the girl, and we wanted to hear creative and diverse storylines of young black men’s experiences in the dating game,” said David Rubin, AXE brand development director. “We believe great filmmaking calls for individual expression, and the winning scripts created by these artists tell clever dating adventure stories.”

Beginning in August, fans will have the opportunity to weigh in on the final winner by casting their vote for their favorite film at local screenings or online by visiting In addition to fan votes, the final winner will be chosen by a panel of judges who will consider criteria including humor, creativity, quality and depth of film production, and quality of treatment and script. For more information on the AXE Black Filmmaker’s Series and the 10th Annual Black Film Festival, visit For behind the scenes b-roll footage, contact Tai Foster at 212-704-8210 or

About AXE
While AXE is best known for its deodorant bodyspray, the Unilever-manufactured brand also is available in an anti-perspirant, deodorant and a shower gel. Axe is the No. 1 male anti-perspirant deodorant brand in the U.S. The shower gel, launched in 2005, reached No. 1 status five months after hitting shelves. The brand’s mission is to help guys get the girl with fragrances that reflect individual personality and lifestyle. AXE products are sold in North America at food, drug and mass outlets with a suggested retail price of $3.99.

About American Black Film Festival
The ABFF is a property of Film Life, Inc., a New York-based film marketing and distribution company. Its mission is to spearhead the global distribution of quality Black films and be the leading American brand producing Black movies and related entertainment content.