American Black Film Fest Intros ABFF America - Offering Theatrical Distribution Opportunities

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by Tambay A. Obenson
March 8, 2013 12:02 PM
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Well, this is what a lot of you black filmmakers have been asking of the festival, right? Distribution options.

You'll have the opportunity to compete for a distribution deal, starting at the next edition of the festival, this June.

Full details via press release below:

NEW YORK, March 7, 2013 - Film Life, Inc., the unyielding force behind the American Black Film Festival (ABFF), the premiere film festival for celebrating diversity in cinema, is excited to partner with AMC Theatres® to raise the stakes and bring a national element to a mainstay competition at the ABFF. Through this alliance, filmmakers who participate in the 17th Annual ABFF Narrative Feature Competition will now be vying for an invaluable opportunity: the theatrical release of their movie in up to 10 U.S. markets. The label will be launched as ABFF AMERICA.

During its nearly two decade run, the ABFF has been known for creating indispensable opportunities for up-and-coming filmmakers through its Narrative Feature Competition, which has always offered localized exhibition for its participants to have their work viewed by approximately 5,000 attendees each year. However, with the introduction of ABFF AMERICA, competitors in the 17thAnnual ABFF Narrative Feature Competition will see their film transcend the festival circuit, and be seen by general audiences around the country.

AMC is partnering with the ABFF through the AMC Independent (AMCi) program, which highlights independent films and filmmakers. 

“The AMCi program is designed to provide smaller budget films, which don’t have the substantial studio backing, an audience at theatres throughout the country,” said Nikkole Denson-Randolph, vice president of alternative and specialty content. “We’re proud to support film festivals like ABFF, which encourage the continuation of diverse and quality movies, and we’re excited to see the film that we’ll be bringing to our guests.” 

In October 2011, CEO of Film Life, Inc. and ABFF founder, Jeff Friday started the Black Movie Month movement (www.blackmoviemonth.com), a call to action to shed light on the unfathomable decline in diversity in theatrically released cinema; then African American storylines only accounted for .08% of the films made in 2011. What Friday, proposed is that with African American’s making up 12% of the movie going population and 195 million trips to the theater each year, more responsibility needs to be taken to ensure that content is created to reflect our stories. Now with ABFF AMERICA’s distribution deal in full swing, Friday has found a way to be an important element in administering a solution for circulating diverse cinema to the mass population. 

“I am very optimistic about ABFF AMERICA and looking forward to the partnership with AMCi. One thing I’m sure of is African Americans want to see a broader range of Black films in theaters. There is a tremendous amount of goodwill associated with the ABFF brand and I’m encouraged that people will come out in support of our upcoming releases,” said Jeff Friday, ABFF Founder and CEO of Film Life, Inc.

ABFF’s list of alumni stretches far across the entertainment industry’s diverse circuit, and is inclusive of individuals like producers Rob Hardy and Will Packer (Think Like A Man), Roger M. Bobb (For Colored Girls), director Sylvain White (Stomp The Yard) and most recently Ryan Cooger (Fruitvale) , as well as many others who have gone on to create a vast body of work that adhere to the importance of circulating black film. Rather then smothering the fire, ABFF is a kindling for young up and coming filmmakers with a spark for visual creativity.

With the new opportunities for a distribution deal through ABFF AMERICA now on the table, the deadline for submission to the ABFF Narrative Feature Competition has been extended to March 11, 2013, to allow more filmmakers a chance to participate in this life changing opportunity.  Submissions are now being accepted at www.abff.com. Up to five finalists will be selected to screen at the 2013 American Black Film Festival in Miami. One winner will be announced at the "ABFF Awards Presentation," Saturday, June 22nd.

To Qualify: Entrants must meet the following criteria: Minimum run time of 72 minutes. Must be directed by a person of African descent, tell a story of the Black experience or feature a person of African descent in a leading role. Film must have been completed post January 1, 2012.

How to Submit: To submit your film, log on to www.ABFF.com (the “Website”), click on SUBMIT YOUR FILM and then click on NARRATIVE FEATURES to access the submission form (the “Submission Form”).

Deadline for submissions:  March 11, 2013

Festival passes and tickets are available now for purchase at:

http://www.abff.com/festival/buy/passes-and-tickets.php  


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