MIAMI — Film Life’s 17th Annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF), dedicated to showcasing black film and celebrating the artists, has announced its official slate of films for the June 19-23 Miami Beach event, including opening and closing night screenings, gala screenings, and selections for the Narrative Features Competition, HBO Short Film Competition and CNN Films Documentary Competition.
Movie tickets are $12. Walk-up tickets will be on sale on the day of show only at the Colony Theatre and Miami Beach Cinematheque box offices. The box office wait line forms 45 minutes prior to showtime. There are no advance sales.
Festival event tickets and passes are on sale at ticketweb.com in limited quantity through June 15. Festival passes will be available onsite starting Wednesday, June 19, at the Ritz-Carlton, South Beach.
For other details visit ABFF.com or call 646-375-2144.
The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete, from Codeblack films, opens the festival, featuring a stellar cast including Skylan Brooks, Ethan Dizon, Jordin Sparks (Sparkle), Jeffrey Wright (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close) and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Thor: The Dark World), Anthony Mackie (Pain & Gain, The Hurt Locker) and Academy Award-winner Jennifer Hudson (Smash, Sex and the City 2, Dreamgirls).
The film, a coming of age story about two boys trying to survive the summer in their Brooklyn housing projects without parental supervision, is directed by George Tillman Jr. (Notorious, Soul Food), and co-executive produced by Grammy Award-winning singer Alicia Keys.
Closing the festival on June 23 is the feature film Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain starring actor and comedian Kevin Hart (Think Like A Man, BET’s Real Husbands of Hollywood). Filmed at Madison Square Garden, Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain captures Hart’s 2012 international, multi-city comedy concert tour of the same name that generated more than $32.7 million in ticket sales and surpassed the then No. 1 urban comedy tour of all time, The Kings of Comedy.
Also announced is Ryan Coogler’s award-winning Fruitvale Statics as the festival’s Alumni Spotlight Screening, along with the world premiere of In the Meantime written by 2012 UP screenplay competition winner Nzinga Kadalie Kemp, and the world premiere of Playin’ For Love, produced and directed by Robert Townsend (In the Hive), as Gala Screenings.
Coogler was the 2011 winner of the HBO Short Film Competition at ABFF for his film, Fig. He is commanding attention again with his directorial debut, Fruitvale Station, an independent drama set in the San Francisco Bay area about the final day of 22-year-old Oscar Grant, who was infamously shot to death by a BART transit police officer in the early hours of New Year’s Day, 2008.
In the Meantime, stars Kali Hawk as Jazmin “Jazz” Welles, a bride-to-be who gives her fiancé “creative” freedom before their wedding day, but ends up finding faith and the meaning of true love in the meantime. The multi-talented ensemble cast includes Darrin Dewitt Henson (The Express, Soul Food), Terri J. Vaughn (Friday, Daddy’s Little Girls, Sugar Mommas) and neo-soul recording artist Musiq Soulchild in his film debut.
Roger Bobb (Raising Izzie, For Colored Girls) directed and produced the film.
Shot in Miami, Playin’ For Love is unique in that local talent was utilized and the project financed in part by grants from the Southeast Overtown/Park West and Omni Redevelopment District Community Redevelopment Agencies, with support from the city of Miami.
The romantic comedy centers on the head coach of a high school basketball team and a single mother who are ultimately responsible for a reversal of fortune for the team’s future.
With more than 15 world premieres, the ABFF is renowned for showcasing pre-eminent cinematic content. Organizers say this year’s slate of films will prove no exception, with the festival screening artful and diversified feature films, shorts and documentaries with broad thematic elements.
Things Never Said, starring ABFF’s Celebrity Ambassador, Omari Hardwick (Sparkle, For Colored Girls) seeks to determine how the spoken word defines self-worth, and the resilience and depth of relationships among women provides salvation in The Magic City.
“We are excited to be at 17 years and counting,” said Jeff Friday, ABFF founder and CEO of Film Life, Inc. “We are steadfast in our commitment to support aspiring filmmakers, leading them to opportunities that will hopefully help them to build rewarding careers.”
The 2013 ABFF film lineup:
The Magic City, world premiere, written, produced and directed by R. Malcolm Jones. Cast: Jennifer Lewis, Keith David, Jamie Hector and introducing Latrice Jackson, LaShay Jackson and Amiya Thomas.
Sable Fable, world premiere, written, produced and directed by Stephen Lloyd Jackson.
Cast: James Williams, Nicole Hartley, Sheila Nortley, Jasmine Munting, Daniel Bailey, Alex Marx, Stephen Lloyd Jackson and Lily Joseph.
The Suspect, world premiere, written and directed by Stuart Connelly, produced by Scott Aronson. Cast: Mekhi Phifer, William Sadler, Sterling K. Brown, James McCaffrey and Rebecca Creskoft.
Things Never Said, written, produced and directed by Charles Murray. Cast: Omari Hardwick, Shanola Hampton and Elimu Nelson.
Children of the Wind, directed by Daphne Schmon, produced by Robert McCormick, narrated by Gbenga Akinnagbe.
Homegoings, produced and directed by Christine Turner.
The Sunflower County Freedom Project, world premiere, produced and directed by Carmen L. Scott.
The Adventures of Edison Jean, world premiere, written and directed by Edson Jean. Black Girl in Paris, world premiere, written and directed by Kiandra Parks. A Different Tree, world premiere, written and directed by Steven Caple Jr. Stone Cars, world premiere, written and directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green.
Sweet Honey Child, world premiere, co-written by Talibah Newman and Amanda Brennan, directed by Newman.
Full Circle, world premiere, written, produced and directed by Solvan Naim Cast: Rob Morgan, Solvan Naim, Eden Marryshow, Celestine Rae, Kelvin Hale and Devale Ellis.
Home, world premiere, written and directed by Jono Oliver, Produced by Jono Oliver, Daniela Barbosa and Ged Dickersin.
Cast: Gbenga Akinnagbe, Joe Morton, Fawny Cypress and Victor Williams.
Home Again, written by Jennifer Holness and David Sudz Sutherland, directed by Sudz Sutherland, produced by Jennifer Holness, Don Carmody and Anita Lee. Cast: Tatyana Ali, Lyriq Bent, Stephan James, Fefe Dobson, Richard Chevolleau, Paul Campbell and CCH Pounder.
Monica, world Premiere, written and directed by Gregory Carter Produced by Datari Turner. Cast: Omari Hardwick, Ali Cobrin, Mariel Hemingway, James Remar, Lynn Whitfield, Robert Hoffman, Datari Turner, Briana Evigan and Obba Babatunde.
Newlyweeds, written and directed by Shaka King, produced by Michael Matthews, Jim Wareck, Gbenga Akinnagbe and Shaka King. Cast: Amari Cheatom, Trae Harris, Tone Tank, Colman Domingo and Hassan Johnson.
ABFF WEBISODE CHALLENGE
Showcase of short form content created for distribution on the Internet and other digital platforms:
The Couple: The Moo Moo, written by Jeanine Daniels, Directed by Dennis Dortch. Roomieloverfriends, written by Dennis Dortch and Numa Perrier, Directed by Dennis Dortch. Unwritten Rules, written by Kim Williams, Directed by Natasha “Tash” Gray.
FREE COMMUNITY SCREENINGS
Free public screenings presented by the City of Miami SEOPW CRA:
Playin’ for Love, world premiere, written and directed by Robert Townsend. Films Over Miami Community Showcase highlighting Miami’s emerging filmmakers, films to be announced.