Black Enterprise

Multi-Platform Media and Event Brands Create Joint Venture Company To Produce the American Black Film Festival, Develop New Properties

December 4, 2014, New York, New YorkBLACK ENTERPRISE (BE) President and CEO Earl “Butch” Graves Jr. and Film Life Inc. Founder and CEO Jeff Friday are announcing a new joint venture, representing a partnership between two prominent black-owned media and event companies with powerful brands, each with legacies of showcasing the best of African American culture and achievement. Black Enterprise and Film Life Inc. have formed ABFF Ventures, an equity partnership to produce the American Black Film Festival (ABFF), the ABFF Honors (formerly the Black Movie Awards) and other events and content focused on the entertainment and film industries. ABFF Ventures will operate from Black Enterprise’s Madison Avenue headquarters in New York.

“Joining with Black Enterprise represents an unprecedented opportunity to take our world-renown American Black Film Festival to another level, with a multi-media company that brings the print, television and social media reach to extend both the visibility and cultural impact of the event,” says Friday. “Also, Black Enterprise’s track record as a producer of top-notch national events is unparalleled in its own right.”

“Our live-events business continues to expand to become a true revenue driver for our company, and for the media business in general,” said CEO Butch Graves. “Bringing the American Black Film Festival into the Black Enterprise family is a significant coup for us, and will provide excellent opportunities for our clients and sponsors to establish and expand their engagement with the upscale, forward-thinking African American consumer audiences both our companies have served for decades.”

Film Life is best known for producing ABFF, a four-day event dedicated to showcasing quality films by and about people of African descent. Committed to the belief that Black content creators and artists deserve the same opportunities as their mainstream counterparts, ABFF founder Jeff Friday conceived the festival in 1997 as a vehicle to promote diversity in the film and television industry. Today it serves as the preeminent pipeline to new black talent in front of and behind the camera, and is regarded as one of the leading film festivals in the world. Black Enterprise was the national media sponsor of the 2014 ABFF. The 19th annual ABFF will be held in New York City, June 11-14, 2015.

Black Enterprise is a multi-platform media company launched 44 years ago by Founder Earl Graves Sr. as a single-magazine publishing company serving African American entrepreneurs and professionals. Best known as the publisher of the award-winning business publication Black Enterprise magazine, the company also produces an expanding roster of national and custom events, including the Women of Power Summit, the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit, the Black Enterprise Golf & Tennis Challenge, the 20/20 Vision Forum series on supplier diversity, the BE Smart Education Symposiums, and the newly added ABFF and Baltimore African American Festival. Black Enterprise also offers digital properties, including, and Black Enterprise social media platforms, as well as broadcast properties such as the Women of Power and Our World with Black Enterprise nationally syndicated television shows.

Film Life, Inc. is a multi-faceted entertainment and events company headquartered in New York City. The company was founded in 2001 by Jeff Friday, its current CEO. While best known for creating the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) and the Black Movie Awards, the company’s operations center on developing and licensing innovative content across all forms of media and providing strategic advisory services to a wide range of corporations in the entertainment, sports and tourism industries.

BLACK ENTERPRISE, your ultimate source to build Wealth for Life, is the premier business, investing, and wealth-building resource for African Americans. Since 1970, BE has provided essential business information and advice to professionals, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, and decision makers. Every month, BLACK ENTERPRISE magazine provides 4 million readers with information on entrepreneurship, careers, and financial management. A multimedia company, BE also produces television programming, business and lifestyle events, Web content, and digital media.

Johann Alleyne-Morris