The American Black Film Festival, in Partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment, Launches ABFF Global Film Series in London
Event to be held September 27-29, 2019 at Picturehouse Central in London’s West End
Los Angeles, CA, (August 28, 2019) – The hugely influential American Black Film Festival (ABFF) will make a timely and historic entrance into the UK next month, with the launch of the ABFF Global Film Series September 27-29, 2019. The first installment will be held in London at the Picturehouse Central, in partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE).
ABFF London is an integral part of the international screening series and extension of the American Black Film Festival, the leading event in the U.S. showcasing black filmmakers. The three-day event is in association with Screen Nation, the leading UK platform which has raised the profile of black British and international film and television talent of African Caribbean heritage.
The well-documented recent success of black actors and filmmakers who have collectively reimagined the Hollywood landscape, especially at the box office, provides a suitable backdrop to the London launch. Black British actors have also contributed to shaping this exciting new cinematic narrative underlining the importance of this event. The weekend of screenings and panel discussions are aimed at encouraging collaboration and promotion between filmmakers throughout the African Diaspora.
The American Black Film Festival founder and ABFF Ventures CEO, Jeff Friday, who will appear in one of the festival’s panel discussions, commented: “ABFF’s Global Film Series provides a unique platform for black actors and filmmakers, internationally, to forge new alliances and share their work. The London event provides an important first step in developing these synergies which can help inform the African Diaspora as a whole. We’re very appreciative to Sony Pictures Entertainment for supporting the launch of this series.”
“I am delighted that Sony Pictures Entertainment is partnering with the ABFF to support its international expansion,” said Wayne Garvie, President of International Production, Sony Pictures Television. “London is a vibrant, important source of diverse creative talent and a fantastic place to showcase emerging content. We are excited to launch the ABFF Global Film Series in London, which highlights Sony Pictures Entertainment’s commitment to harnessing the power of diversity and promoting inclusivity so that talented people can thrive.”
Screen Nation founder and CEO, Charles Thompson MBE, commented: “We are very excited to be partnering ABFF UK in this timely initiative and proud that the Global Film Series will be kicking off in London. In the past fourteen years Screen Nation Awards has been at the vanguard of recognizing black film talent in the UK and we have complemented this by acknowledging the impressive historical gains of US black actors and filmmakers across the Diaspora.”
The program will boast an impressive line-up with the Gala premiere screening of action thriller Black and Blue, starring movie star Naomie Harris, alongside actor Tyrese Gibson. The event will also feature actress Meagan Good’s directorial debut feature (with Tamara LaSeon Bass) of her crowd-funded sisterhood indie film, If Not Now, When. There will also be a preview screening of the British feature Farming, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s much-anticipated autobiographical directorial debut, starring Damson Idris, Kate Beckinsale and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
ABFF LONDON SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Friday, Sept 27: 6:30 pm & 9:00 pm
Opening Night Film: Black and Blue, courtesy of Sony Pictures, with Welcome Reception to follow.
Black and Blue, directed by Deon Taylor
Starring: Naomie Harris and Tyrese Gibson
Black and Blue is an action thriller about a rookie cop (Naomie Harris) who inadvertently captures the murder of a young drug dealer on her body cam. After realizing that the murder was committed by corrupt cops, she teams up with the one person from her community who is willing to help her (Tyrese Gibson) as she tries to escape both the criminals out for revenge and the police who are desperate to destroy the incriminating footage.
Saturday, Sept 28:
2:00 pm Jinn (92 min), directed by Nijla Mu’min (Q&A to follow)
Starring: Simone Missick, Zoe Renee and Ashlei Foushée
Summer is a carefree, black teenage girl whose world is turned upside down when her mother abruptly converts to Islam and becomes a different person. At first resistant to the faith, she begins to reevaluate her identity after becoming attracted to a Muslim classmate, crossing the thin line between physical desire and piety.
5:00 pm Jezebel (88 min), directed by Numa Perrier (Q&A to follow)
Starring: Tiffany Tenille, Numa Perrier, Stephen Barrington, Bobby Field and Brett Gelman
In the last days of her mother’s life, 19-yearold Tiffany crashes with five family members in a Las Vegas studio apartment. In order to make ends meet, her older sister, a phone sex operator, introduces her to the world of internet fetish cam girls.
7:30 pm Farming (107 min), directed by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Q&A to follow)
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Damson Idris
Based on the writer/director’s childhood, this is the story of a young Nigerian boy ‘farmed out’ by his parents to a white British family in the hope of a better future. Instead, he becomes the feared leader of a white skinhead gang.
Sunday, Sept 29:
12:00 pm 2019 ABFF HBO Short Films (70 min) (Q&A to follow)
Cap*, directed by Marshall Tyler
*The 2019 ABFF/HBO Short Film Competition Winner
15-year-old Manny Bennitt learns the hard way the price of being cool.
Evelyn X Evelyn, directed by Eric Pumphrey
Grief can be overwhelming for just us to tackle alone.
The Fisherman, directed by Zoey Martinson
An aging fisherman goes out to sea one day and returns with a talking fish.
Flight, directed by Kia Moses and Adrian McDonald
A Jamaican boy sets out on a dream, ten times his size, to fly to the moon, despite his circumstances and father’s opposition.
Wednesday, directed by Daniel Willis
Recently homeless and living in a car with her mother, a teenage girl, desperate to rescue a vestige of their former life, commits a reckless act.
3:00 pm Soleseekers (75 min Documentary), directed by Emil Collins (Q&A to follow)
Trainers break gender, cultural and class backgrounds. Collectors, Inspectors and respecters of sneakers, affectionately known as “sneakerheads” can come from any background, race or religion, all with one common purpose, the appreciation of trainer culture. With the UK Sportswear Market worth Billions, this documentary will chart the highs and lows of the culture in the UK.
6:00 pm If Not Now, When? (114 min), directed by Meagan Good and Tamara Bass (Q&A to follow)
Starring: Meagan Good, Meagan Holder, Mekia Cox, Tamara Bass, Valarie Pettiford
A story about love, forgiveness, sisterhood and second chances.
8:30 pm Closing Night Remarks by Jeff Friday (ABFF Founder), Charles Thompson (Screen Nation Founder) and Sony Pictures.
Tickets for ABFF London will be on sale September 1, 2019. For more information, go to picturehouses.com/abff.
ABOUT ABFF GLOBAL FILM SERIES
ABFF Global Film Series (ABFF Global) is an international screening series and extension of the American Black Film Festival (ABFF), the premier event in the United States showcasing the work of content creators of African descent. The series mission is to promote the universal appeal of films by and about people of color and encourage collaboration between content creators throughout the African Diaspora, with the objective of expanding distribution opportunities for black content on an international scale. The ABFF Global Film Series will visit other major cultural hubs, after London, including Madrid, Cape Town and Paris in 2020.
The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) is an annual event dedicated to empowering black artists and showcasing quality film and television content by and about people of African descent. Committed to the belief that diverse artists deserve the same opportunities as their mainstream counterparts, ABFF founder & CEO Jeff Friday conceived the festival in 1997 as a vehicle to strengthen the black filmmaking community by encouraging resource sharing, education and artistic collaboration. He ultimately envisioned it as a cornerstone of diversity in Hollywood. Since its inception, the ABFF has been a platform for emerging black artists, having premiered the early work and showcasing the talent of many of today’s most successful actors, producers, writers, directors and stand-up comedians. Today, the festival is the pre-eminent pipeline for black artists in front of and behind the camera and has significantly expanded the range of talent working in Hollywood. For more information, please visit https://www.abff.com/.
ABOUT SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition, and distribution; television production, acquisition, and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. SPE’s Motion Picture Group production organizations include Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Stage 6 Films, AFFIRM Films, and Sony Pictures Classics. For additional information, visit http://www.sonypictures.com/corp/divisions.html.
ABOUT SCREEN NATION
The Screen Nation Film & TV Awards, formerly the bfm (black filmmaker) Film and TV Awards, was founded in September 2003 by independent film producer Charles Thompson MBE as a platform to raise the profile of black British and international film and television talent of African heritage. The awards ceremony – dubbed the “Black BAFTAs brings together actors, actresses, directors and filmmakers from the British and international film and TV industry.
Michelle Huff Elliott
Strategic Heights Media