MIAMI — South Florida is still smiling after the Films Over Miami showcase concluded last month’s American Black Film Festival (ABFF). The showcase is sponsored by the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency (SEOPW CRA) to spotlight local film projects and stimulate local opportunities within the multibillion-dollar film industry.
In a retrospective analysis organizers say the event generated a spirit of promise and opportunity among local filmmakers, community members and artisans as four emerging South Florida filmmakers presented their films to a sold-out crowd.
Actor and ABFF ambassador Omari Hardwick and 12 young poets kicked off the showcase with a powerful poetry and prose presentation.
Films featured included: The Magic City, directed by R. Malcolm Jones; Welcome to Miami by Elijah Wells; The Haitian Guantanamo Bay Experience by Rachelle Salnave; The Adventures of Edson Jean by Edson Jean, and The Heart of Summer by Adrian Allen.
Following the screenings, filmmakers had the opportunity to participate in “talkbacks” with showcase host Ingrid B, and take photos with Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, SEOPW CRA’s board chairwoman.
Hundreds also enjoyed a red carpet world premiere of Playin’ For Love, whose director Robert Townsend, lead actress Salli Richardson-Whitfield and several other cast members attended the screening.
The movie, portions of which were taped in Miami, received CRA funds and employed 20 students from the Overtown community. Many of the cast were youth from South Florida and the Overtown area who were present, along with their proud families. The 17th annual festival concluded with anticipation of even more creative expression and opportunity in 2014.
•Photo: Spence Jones