MIAMI BEACH — Each year, Black Hollywood’s elite and up-in-coming flock to South Beach to attend the urban festival of all film festivals: The American Black Film Festival (ABFF).
There are classes, opening parties, receptions and closing parties. Oh yes, and there are screenings for new talent.
This year, I had a chance to speak with writer/actor Dwayne Boyd, who will be premiering his latest film, 4 Minutes. It’s the story of a man, Terrence (played by Jason Sylvain), who is looking for love in Atlanta.
After he meets all the wrong women, his friend, Omar (Boyd), talks him into attending a speed-dating event as a last-ditch effort. At the event, he meets a woman, Reina (Ja’el Roberson) who changes the way he approaches love. The film also stars Bobby Valentino, Lil’ Duval and comedian Pierre.
The inspiration for this film came from Boyd’s own frustration with dating in real-life Atlanta. He wanted an outlet to vent for other men like himself.
“Most definitely, I am (happy with the film). We worked with a great cast,” said the self-described perfectionist. “They were all positive.”
Boyd is very excited about attending ABFF as an entrant this year. He said he has wanted to attend for years. He is also excited about his film’s nomination for a grand jury prize.
When asked what he’s most looking forward to at the festival, other than the screening of his film on Thursday, June 25 and Saturday, June 27, Boyd said he wants to see the competition’s films. That way, he said, he can learn how they were filmed and why the directors chose those particular scripts.
He said he also wants to show genuine support for his fellow black Hollywood film makers.
He said was also looking forward to the screening of an episode of the TV series “Hawthorne,’’ starting Jada Pinkett-Smith. He said that seeing his cast mates again would be an added bonus.
“I got out of the Army in 1997. I knew I wanted to be in acting,” said the Kansas City, Missouri native. “In Atlanta, I saw potential.”
Boyd, who started acting in high school, was in his first movie in 1997, Boycott.
He has been in such films, as Motives 2, The Walk, The Gospel, and Sweet Home Alabama. He’s also an accomplished TV and theater actor, and teaches the acting craft through his Premier Actor’s Network, which has weekly classes.
Boyd isn’t just a filmmaker, though. He is also a licensed barber, and still cuts hair to this day. He has a decent clientele, and even works part-time to cut hair on his sets. As a writer, actor, teacher and barber, Boyd makes one wonder what he will do next.
“I want to continue directing and looking into my next projects,” said the writer, director, and producer of short films. “I’ve written quite a few screenplays.”
Boyd said he hopes to make Ms. Bassa, his Van Horn High School drama teacher, very proud of him. After all, he said, she is the catalyst for his entertainment career with her encouragement of his craft from his tender teenage years.
He said he is looking forward to achieving a grand jury prize and a distribution deal.
Asked if he has any words of encouragement for South Florida Times readers, he simply said: “I’m a big believer in people following their dreams. This economy has forced people to rethink the path that they were following. For me, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”
Editor’s Note: Boyd’s film, 4 Minutes, will be screened at 12:40 p.m. on Saturday, June 27 at the Colony Theater, 1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach.
Photo: Dwayne Boyd
IF YOU GO
WHAT: American Black Film Festival
WHEN: June 24 through 27.
WHERE: Various venues throughout Miami Beach.
CONTACT: Price packages and other information about events and venues can be viewed online at www.abff.com.