S. Epatha Merkerson’s ‘THE CONTRADICTIONS OF FAIR HOPE’ and The Desean Jackson Story ‘THINK NFL, LOVE DAD’ are among Film Life’s 16th Annual American Black Film Festival documentary competition selections

Winner of the documentary competition to be presented with $5,000

NEW YORK, May 15, 2012 – Film Life Inc., today announced the documentary competition selections for the 16th Annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF) taking place in South Beach Miami, FL, June 20th – 23rd.

This year, the four documentaries featured in the festival showcase an eclectic mix of stories. From the culture of food within the African-American community, to following the career trajectory of a young athlete, these personal stories and viewpoints are what make the documentary competition so special to ABFF. One selected documentary will receive The Best Documentary Award and a grand prize of $5,000, which will be presented at The Winners Circle awards presentation on the closing day of the festival.

ABFF Documentary Competition finalists must meet certain criteria; each documentary must be directed by a person of African descent or tell a story of the Black experience. Films that are submitted for consideration are reviewed by a team of film industry professionals, which comprises the ABFF’s Screening Committee. Each film is graded on artistic merit and impactful subject matter.

Jeff Friday, founder and CEO of ABFF states, “I commend the filmmakers for telling these amazing stories.” Adding, “The themes of the films in the documentary competition reflect various cultural touchstones which are important to the people that make up our festival.”

The complete list of films selected for the 2012 Documentary Competition is as follows:

THE CONTRADICTIONS OF FAIR HOPE, co-directed by S. Epatha Merkerson and Rockell Metcalf
An unprecedented window into the lives of freed slaves who courageously formed benevolent societies in America as they transitioned from slavery to freedom. The film examines the historical impact of the Fair Hope Benevolent Society juxtaposed against the worldly pleasures of its modern day “Foot Wash” celebration.

FORCE M.D.s RELIVED, directed by Frazier Prince (World Premiere)
Historic musical footage and heart wrenching interviews tell the incredible story of Hip Hop and R&B’s most dynamic innovators.

THINK NFL, LOVE DAD (The DeSean Jackson Story), co-directed by Byron Jackson and Kern Konwiser (World Premiere)
This film is the result of over 20 years of documenting every aspect of the NFL star DeSean Jackson and his family’s rocky journey trying to stay together through it all.

SOUL FOOD JUNKIES, directed by Byron Hurt (World Premiere)
Baffled by his dad’s unwillingness to change his traditional soul food diet in the face of a health crisis, Hurt sets out to learn more about this rich culinary tradition and its relevance to Black cultural identity.

HBO (Founding and Premier Sponsor); Gold Peak Tea (Premier); gmc Television Network, American Airlines, Cadillac and CNN (Official Sponsors); Grab Media, NBCUniversal, Nickelodeon, smartwater, Nielsen, BET Networks, Stella Artois and Wells Fargo (Supporting Sponsors); The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, Miami Beach Visitor & Convention Authority and Miami Community Redevelopment Agency (Host Sponsors) and SAGIndie, One Village Entertainment, Miami Film Month, thirdREEL (Promotional Partners); Media Sponsors include: Black Enterprise, Uptown (Official Level); Jones Magazine and Precious Times (Supporting Level).

Established in 1997, the core mission of the ABFF is to promote cultural diversity within the motion picture industry. Through its film showcases and special contests, it annually introduces the top echelon of emerging artists to the film and television industry.

The ABFF is a property of Film Life, Inc., a New York-based event marketing, production and film distribution company founded in 2000 by Jeff Friday (CEO). For full details on this year’s festival, please visit abff.com.

For documentary photos please visit: http://ls-pr.com/?p=1047.

For media inquiries, contact Lisa Sorensen at 646-330-5458 or Lisa@ls-pr.com