The 10th Anniversary of the Film Life and HBO American Black Film Festival Wraps with ABFF Independent Film Award Ceremony

Loretta Devine Saluted for Best Performance by an Actor for Her Role in Dirty Laundry

My Brother Takes Grand Jury Prize for Best Picture

Pop Foul Wins HBO® Short Film Award

Miami, Florida, July 24, 2006 – The Film Life and HBO 10th American Black Film Festival (ABFF) culminated with the presentation of this year’s ABFF Independent Film Awards. The ceremony, hosted by comedic writer and actor Chris Spencer (ER, Two Can Play That Game, The Jamie Foxx Show) was held Sunday, July 23, at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Miami, Florida. Winners and finalists of the festival’s seven competitions, together with the recipient of the ABFF Founder’s Award, were announced at the brunch gala.

The ABFF Independent Film Awards was created to celebrate and honor independent films and filmmakers. Industry executives, notable filmmakers and artists including, Robert Townsend, Bill Duke, Elise Neal, Tamara Tunie, Guy Torry, John Singleton, Eriq LaSalle and Suzanne de Passe turned out in full support. The audience was entertained by sultry jazz singer and Grammy nominee Amel Larrieux.

“We are honored to present the ABFF Independent Film Awards, the only ceremony of its kind to acknowledge independent filmmakers conveying Black stories,” said Jeff Friday, founder, ABFF and president and CEO, Film Life, Inc. “We salute each of our winners and applaud their contributions to Black cinema.

The awards and winners are:

  • The Grand Jury Prize for Best Picture was handed to My Brother, directed by Anthony Lover. Presented by Kodak, the winner receives film stock valued at $20,000. Anthony Mackie (Crossover) and Bill Tompkins, Kodak, presented the award, which goes to the best feature-length film as determined by the festival’s Grand Jury.
  • The Audience Award for Best U.S. Feature, presented by BLOCKBUSTER went to Dirty Laundry, written and directed by Maurice Jamal. The award was presented by actor/director Robert Townsend and Larcine Bland, BLOCKBUSTER. This award is voted on by the festival’s registered attendees. The winner receives $20,000.
  • The Audience Award for Best Performance by an Actor, presented by Boost Mobile, was given to Loretta Devine (Funny Valentine) for her performance in Dirty Laundry. The award was presented by Tricia Bouzigard, Boost Mobile, and actor/director Bill Duke (X-Men 3). This award is voted on by registered festival attendees. The winner receives $10,000.
  • The “Voices of Color” Best Documentary Award, presented by Wal-Mart, was awarded to If I Die Tonight, directed by Seyi. This award was presented by Paul Busby, Wal-Mart and Elise Neal (Hustle & Flow). The winner receives $20,000.
  • The HBO Short Film Award was given to Pop Foul, which was written, directed and executive produced by Moon Molson. The award was presented by Olivia Smashum, HBO and Tamara Tunie (Law and Order: SVU). The winner receives $20,000.
  • The Founder’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Independent Cinema was awarded to Christopher Scott for his role in the film My Brother. The award was presented by Nicole Friday, ABFF co-executive producer.
  • The winner of the “Define Lincoln Luxury” commercial contest went to “Award Show,” written and directed by Javier Prato. New to the festival, the contest requires the production of a digital 30-60-second commercial. The winner received the Lincoln Filmmaker Trophy and keys to a new Lincoln Zephyr.
  • The three finalists of the newly launched AXE Black Filmmaker Series, a screenwriting and film contest that allows budding filmmakers the opportunity to turn their scripts into a film, were spotlighted. The finalists selected via national competition are: Stephanie Louis of Brooklyn, New York, for Holy Fit; Richard Montgomery of Cleveland, Ohio, for Only in Your Dreams, and; Selton Shaw of Washington, DC, for The Let Out Guys. The winner will be announced in Los Angeles on November 18.

HBO is the festival’s founding and title sponsor. Wal-Mart Voices of ColorTM is the ABFF’s presenting sponsor. Platinum level sponsors are AXE Bodyspray, Boost Mobile, Kodak, Lincoln and Time Warner.

Other corporate supporters include American Airlines, Black Enterprise, BLOCKBUSTER, Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) and VURV, Inc. (gold sponsors); CodeBlack Entertainment, The Daily Blossom Events, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Legacy Creative Group, Miami-Dade County Tourist Development Council (TDC), Nickelodeon, Nielsen Media Research and Starbucks Coffee Company (silver sponsors). Media sponsors include AOL Black Voices, Black Noir,, EUR Web, 98.7 Kiss FM, KJLH, Landmine Design,, S.W.A.T.S, Upscale magazine, Uptown magazine and V103, WPGC.

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 40 million subscribers in the United States via cable and satellite delivery.

Since its inception, the ABFF has explored, rewarded and redefined artistic excellence in international Black cinema. It has grown to be recognized as one of the premier film festivals in the world. Its film slate is primarily composed of world premieres positioning it as the #1 film market for Black and urban content. In addition to its film showcases, the ABFF is committed to nurturing artists in a variety of disciplines and offers educational workshops and seminars for actors, filmmakers and writers throughout the week. The event held during the summer months annually attracts 2,500 attendees.

The ABFF, founded by Jeff Friday in 1997, 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.

For more information about ABBF and a 2006 schedule of events, visit


Chelsye. J. Burrows, ABFF Publicity
CJB Public Relations
212.966.2411, ext. 417, or 917.653.9440

Yvette N. Harris