Film Life Announces 2005 Dates For Ninth Annual American Black Film Festival

ABFF Returns to South Beach, Miami, July 13-17 to Showcase the Best in Independent Black Cinema

New York, NY, December 10, 2004 – Film Life, Inc., today announced the dates and call for entries for Film Life’s Ninth Annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF). The ABFF will be held Wednesday, July 13, through Sunday, July 17, throughout South Beach, Miami, Florida. The ABFF is presented by Time Warner Inc., with HBO as the founding sponsor.

Under the direction of Film Life’s CEO and ABFF cofounder Jeff Friday, the 2005 ABFF program will showcase a diverse selection of Black films including features, shorts and documentaries, as well as studio/network releases. The ABFF is committed to nurturing filmmakers in a variety of disciplines and offers panel discussions, industry workshops and seminars in addition to its film showcases.

The festival has four film sections: the Main section (feature films/competitive), World Showcase (feature films/noncompetitive), HBO Short Film Competition and the Documentary section (noncompetitive). Awards are presented to films in all competitive sections. The awards include the HBO Short Film Award ($20,000 cash prize), the Blockbuster Award for Best Feature Film ($20,000 cash prize), the Lincoln Filmmaker Trophy (2005 Navigator), the Best Performance by an Actor Award and the Best Performance by an Actress Award. Winners will be announced at the ABFF Awards Dinner held on the closing night of the festival.

Film submissions will be accepted beginning Monday, January 10, 2005, in all categories for screening consideration. The deadline for entries for all film sections is Friday, April 8, 2005.

“Our continued success demonstrates the unparalleled status of ABFF as the premiere international film festival for filmmakers of color,” said Friday. “It is through the continued support of HBO and Time Warner that we are able to give Black artists across the world a platform to express their voices. My sincere thanks to Olivia Smashum of HBO for her vision and help in forging the expanding relationship between Time Warner and Film Life.”

“Time Warner is delighted to return for our third year as presenting sponsor of the American Black Film Festival,” said Lisa Quiroz, vice president, corporate responsibility, Time Warner. “The festival’s commitment to the development of independent film by Black filmmakers is well-aligned with our corporate focus on helping to spotlight and support diverse and emerging talent in the creative arts.”

“For nearly a decade, HBO has partnered with Jeff and the ABFF to help bring the artistic power of the Black community to the forefront,” said Olivia Smashum, executive vice president, affiliate marketing at HBO. “We’ve played a major role in finding talent through the HBO Short Film Award and by offering insight into the creative process via panel discussions with production crews and cast members from HBO’s original programs. HBO is proud of the ABFF’s accomplishments and as the founding sponsor; we are committed to carrying on our tradition of mining and inspiring new talent. ”

The American Black Film Festival, formerly known as the Acapulco Black Film Festival, was founded in 1997 by Jeff Friday, president & CEO, Film Life Inc. ABFF is a five-day retreat and international film market dedicated to strengthening the independent film community. The festival was born out of a belief in the need to stimulate independent Black film development and promote cultural diversity within the film industry. With limited access to images and opportunities for Black filmmakers in Hollywood, the ABFF created a platform to showcase the cinematic work of independent artists of vision and emerging talent.

Since its inception, the ABFF has explored, rewarded and redefined artistic excellence in international Black cinema. Members of the ABFF Advisory Board, chaired by Robert Townsend, include Debbie Allen, Bill Duke, Eriq La Salle, Suzanne de Passe, John Singleton and Melvin Van Peebles. This year marks the festival’s fourth year in South Beach. It attracts 2,500 attendees and is recognized as the premiere Black film festival.

Other festival sponsors include: Lincoln Mercury (Platinum), Urbanworks Entertainment (Silver), Blockbuster (Gold) and Nielsen Media Research (Silver).

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 become the leading American brand producing Black movies and related entertainment content.

Time Warner Inc. is the world’s leading media and entertainment company whose businesses include filmed entertainment, interactive services, television networks, cable systems and publishing.

Home Box Office, Inc. is the premium television-programming subsidiary of Time Warner Inc., providing two 24-hour premium television services, HBO and Cinemax. Together, both networks reach approximately 39 million subscribers in the United States via cable and satellite delivery. Home Box Office’s international joint ventures bring HBO branded services to more than 50 countries around the globe.