2008 American Black Film Festival to Explore Black Sexuality and Romance in American Cinema

Festival to screen films and host panel focused on topic

Jul 10, 2008, 01:00 ET from Film Life

    NEW YORK, July 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Film Life's 12th annual American
 Black Film Festival (ABFF) will take place August 7-10, 2008, in Los
 Angeles, CA, with Exploring Black Romance and Sexuality in American Cinema
 as its theme. "The majority of American films, from PG to R have romance
 and sexuality either prominently featured or as the subtext. Black romance
 and sexuality are rarely part of the storyline in these films and realistic
 portrayals of how and whom we love are few and far between. We intend to
 explore the question 'is Black romance taboo or too hot to handle?'" said
 Jeff Friday, CEO of Film Life, Inc. and founder and producer of the
 American Black Film Festival. "When you look at the leading actors or
 actresses in those films you will discover a disturbing fact, the story
 line rarely involves people of color. An internet search on IMDB found that
 of the roughly 350 films earning more than $100 million at the box office
 50 of them had love scenes but not one of those scenes involved a person of
 color," added Friday.
     The ABFF is the premier international marketplace for films that
 showcase the best new work by and about people of African descent. The
 mission of the festival is to encourage collaboration and support between
 Hollywood and the independent film community through resource sharing,
 education, artistic collaboration and career development. "The ABFF takes
 its role as the voice of Black independent cinema very seriously," said
 actor Anthony Mackie, who serves as the 2008 ABFF Ambassador. "If we are
 afraid to initiate the dialog, ask the questions and demand the answers,
 who do we expect will do it?" he continued.
     In its 12 years, the ABFF has screened over 500 independent films, with
 seventy per cent having gone on to secure theatrical or DVD distribution.
 Festival alumni include director Sylvain White (Stomp the Yard) and
 producers Rob Hardy and Will Packer (This Christmas and Stomp the Yard),
 producer Roger M. Bobb (Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married and Daddy's
 Little Girls) and writer/director Frank E. Flowers (Haven). The ABFF was
 born out of the need to generate distribution opportunities for independent
 Black films and promote cultural diversity within the motion picture
 industry. Festival attendance is expected to exceed 5,000 people.
     In keeping with its theme, the festival will screen several classic
 films with romance and sexuality at their core, culminating with a panel
 discussion entitled: Can We Get Some Love? Exploring Black Romance and
 Sexuality in American Cinema. The panel will take place on Friday, August
 8th at 6pm at the WGA Theatre. "There was a more than 20 year gap where
 there were no major films exploring black love and romance," said Reggie
 Scott, festival executive director. "We left off with Claudine and Mahogany
 in the 70's and picked up with Waiting to Exhale and Love Jones in the
 90s," he added.
     Festival activities will be centered in West Hollywood and Beverly
 Hills and Allstate(R) has signed on as the 2008 Presenting Sponsor. HBO(R),
 the festival's Founding Sponsor, returns along with Target, BETJ and luxury
 automaker Lincoln as Premiere Sponsors. Blockbuster and Heineken are
 Official Sponsors and Nielsen Media Research, One Village Entertainment,
 Fox Searchlight Pictures, Codeblack Entertainment, Nickelodeon and Fox
 Entertainment Group are Supporting Sponsors. SAG Indie, Writers Guild of
 America West, and the Greater Philadelphia Film Office are Industry
 Sponsors. Black Enterprise, Uptown, Upscale, Black Noir, Heart&Soul,
 Precious Times, Automotive Rhythms, Toy Box, Monarch, Hope Today Magazine,
 NV, Save the Date, EUR Web are media sponsors.
     2008 ABFF information and registration can be found online at
 www.abff.com or by e-mail: abff@thefilmlife.com.
     The Allstate Corporation (NYSE:   ALL) is the nation's largest publicly
 held personal lines insurer. Widely known through the "You're In Good Hands
 With Allstate(R)" slogan, Allstate helps individuals in approximately 17
 million households protect what they have today and better prepare for
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 representatives in the U.S. and Canada. Customers can access Allstate
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 through Allstate agencies, or in select states at allstate.com and 1-800
 Allstate(R). Encompass(R) and Deerbrook(R) Insurance brand property and
 casualty products are sold exclusively through independent agents. The
 Allstate Financial Group provides life insurance, supplemental accident and
 health insurance, annuity, banking and retirement products designed for
 individual, institutional and worksite customers that are distributed
 through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, financial institutions and
     The ABFF, co-founded by Jeff Friday in 1997, is a property of Film
 Life, Inc., a New York-based film marketing and distribution company. Its
 mission is to spearhead the global distribution of quality Black films and
 be the leading American brand producing Black movies, television, events
 and digital content. Film Life is the producer of the American Black Film
 Festival (abff.com), The Turks & Caicos International Film Festival
 (turksandcaicosfilmfest.com), The Black Movie Awards
 (blackmovieawards.com), and the ABFF DVD Series (thefilmlife.com), a
 partnership with Warner Home Video.

SOURCE Film Life