AFFRM: A New View of Distribution

by Sydney Levine
January 31, 2011 3:30 AM
3 Comments
  • |

On Sunday, January 25, 2011, AFFRM hosted the third of a trio of dinners for black filmmakers and filmthinkers at Sundance Film Festival. Filmmaker and publicist Ava DuVernay created these dynamic group conversations on "all things black + indie + film" at Cafe Terigo, overlooking Main Street in Park City. I like to think of myself as a filmthinker because I have been rethinking distribution of films along with everyone else in the business, but have been especially concerned about underserved audiences in the Latino and African American sectors. I have been reframing my own ideas (with such a coach as Tom Bernard leading the way) as I teach my course on the international film business at UCLA Extension, Deutsche Welle Akademie, the Berlinale Talent Campus and Woodbury College. I hope that I elucidate the issues in this blog and that that is why I was invited to partake in one of these very special dinners.



With five African American film festivals curating, the best of African American films will receive theatrical releases through AMC theaters in five top markets along with national reviews. From that point on, it will be up to the filmmakers to use the existing services of such entities as their own ingenious use of social networking, The Film Collaborative or Distribber's new Cable VoD initiative to maximize their theatrical runs and the attendant marketing, to distribute their films to obtain the maximum returns. Even further theatrical exhibition can be considered through Emerging Picture's network of some 95 theaters.

Read the New York Times article for more information on AFFRM.
And see below the jump which festivals are the founding five.

Participating festivals include:

Pan African Film Festival
Los Angeles, CA
Established in 1992
Ayuko Babu, Executive Director
Asantewa Olantunji, Director of Programming


Urbanworld Film Festival
New York, NY
Established in 1997
Stacy Spikes, Founder
Gabrielle Glore, Executive Producer
Brittany Ballard, Director of Programming


BronzeLens Film Festival
Atlanta, GA
Established in 2010
Sheryl Gripper, Executive Director
Deidre McDonald, Artistic Director
Kathleen Bertrand, Advisory Board Member


Reel Black Film Series
Philadelphia, PA
Established in 1999
Mike Dennis, Founder/Curator


Langston Hughes
African American Film Festival

Seattle, WA
Established in 2004
Jacqueline Moscou, Artistic Director
Karen Toering, Program Director
Zola Mummford, Curator

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3 Comments

  • RideThisHandsomeBlackCowboy1953 | April 9, 2011 4:40 AMReply

    Since someone such as Yours Truly-a 57-year-old
    black rookie actor said to resemble a handsome black cowboy-would NEVER receive a role commensurate
    with my telegenic appearance and non-urban (read:
    "black") speech,music tastes,side-lights and dress,
    AFFIRM can help me get the sort of roles someome like me should pursue.
    I'm VERY interested in reeiving AFFRM's mission
    statement,if any and contact people,so please mail
    your pertinent information to me at:
    D.A. "Brett" Baylis,
    509-6600 Wyandotte St. E.,
    Windsor,Ont.,Can.N8S 4P7,
    phone:(519)948-5955
    email address:firstladbrett1953@hotmail.com

  • Arianne Sved | February 1, 2011 8:28 AMReply

    What a great iniciative to promote African American cinema! I went to the American Black Film Festival last year in Miami Beach, and I was stunned to realize I was practically the only white person who attended!!

    By the way, Sydney, I didn't know you taught at the DW Akademie. I used to work for DW TV when I lived in Berlin. Speaking of which, see you at the Berlinale!

  • susan margolin | February 1, 2011 5:26 AMReply

    Sydney, your piece on the collaboration between African American themed film festivals is very welcome news. New Video/Docurama Films has been a long time supporter of films about the African American experience since our release of Michael Roemer's classic, Nothing But a Man in 1993. Since then we have released such ground-breaking films as Stacy Perralta's Made in America: Crips and Bloods, Bill Jersey's A Time For Burning, Tod Lending's Legacy, Marlon Riggs Black Is...Black Ain't, Jon Valadez' Passin it On, Bill Gutentag and Dan Sturman's Soundtrack For a Revolution, and many others. Recently we launched a VOD initiative to complement our worldwide DVD and digital distribution business. We welcome the opportunity to join you and other "filmthinkers" in this important dialogue.

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