The American Black Film Festival is primarily composed of world premieres of narrative, documentary and short films. In 2010, the ABFF introduced the Pro-Hollywood Initiative, a pilot program designed to give professional athletes a crash course in the art of moviemaking and introduce them to the various disciplines and careers in the film business. Each year, the ABFF attracts approximately 5,000 artists, executives and film fans.
The 2013 American Black Film Festival kicks off with the Opening Night Film-The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete 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) with Anthony Mackie (Pain & Gain, The Hurt Locker) and Academy Award®-winner Jennifer Hudson ("Smash," Sex and the City 2, Dreamgirls). The film, directed by George Tillman, Jr. (Notorious, Soul Food), was co-executive produced by GRAMMY® Award-winning singer Alicia Keys. This unique and affecting film is a coming of age story about two boys trying to survive the summer in their Brooklyn housing projects without parental supervision.
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"). Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, filmed at Madison Square Garden, captures one of the fast-talking, high-energy performances on Hart's comedy tour of the same name. The 2012 international, multi-city comedy concert tour generated over $32.7 million in ticket sales and surpassed the then #1 urban comedy tour of all time, The Kings of Comedy. Summit Entertainment, a LIONSGATE® Company, will release the feature film nationwide on July 3, 2013.
Also announced is Ryan Coogler's award-winning Fruitvale Station, from The Weinstein Company, as the Festival's Alumni Spotlight Screening, along with UP's (formerly known as gmc TV) world premiere of In the Meantime written by the 2012 UP's 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.
UP's In the Meantime, stars Kali Hawk as Jazmin "Jazz" Welles as 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. Taking a non-traditional approach to their nuptials, they have agreed to take nine months off to discover themselves and if it is indeed true love, they will show up on the wedding day, no questions asked. The cast includes an ensemble of multi-talented actors including Darrin Dewitt Henson (The Express, "Soul Food") as "Blac," 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 and it will premiere on UP in July 2013.
Feature-length films in this section compete for the ABFF's Grand Jury prizes for Best Screenplay, presented by Nickelodeon, Best Actor presented by Marriot International, Best Director and Best Film, presented by Cadillac.
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 Mary Jo Barthmaier
Cast: Mekhi Phifer, William Sadler, Sterling K. Brown, James McCaffrey and Rebecca Creskoff
Things Never Said
Written, produced and directed by Charles Murray
Cast: Omari Hardwick, Shanola Hampton and Elimu Nelson
CNN FILMS DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
Nonfiction films in this section compete for the Best Documentary Award, presented by CNN Films.
Films selected for the 2013 Documentary Competition is as follows:
Children of the Wind
Directed by Daphne Schmon, Produced by Robert McCormick
Narrated by Gbenga Akinnagbe
Produced and directed by Christine Turner
The Sunflower County Freedom Project, World Premiere
Produced and directed by Carmen L. Scott
American Black Film Festival 2013 Website