ATLANTA, June 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- ASPiRE, the new African-American television network from Magic Johnson Enterprises, today announced its first original series, "ABFF Independent." The weekly two-hour show, hosted by actor Omari Hardwick ("Sparkle," "Dark Blue,") will present the best independent shorts, feature films and documentaries from emerging black artists, "ABFF Independent" will air Mondays at 8 p.m. (ET), with repeat airings Monday at 11 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m., 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., and the following Monday at 2 p.m. The series will premiere on the network's launch date, Wednesday, June 27, with back-to-back episodes starting at 8 p.m.
"We are proud to partner with ABFF to launch ASPiRE's first original series, 'ABFF Independent,' a show that brings provocative, entertaining and moving work by African-American filmmakers to our viewers," said Paul Butler, General Manager, ASPiRE. "At the same time, we are proud to provide an outlet for some of the most creative and talented new voices in cinema to receive much-deserved national exposure."
"ASPiRE is the perfect platform to deliver the cream of the crop from ABFF and other festivals to a wider audience," said Jeff Friday, ABFF founder, and Founder and CEO of Film Life Inc. "We are thrilled to partner with this exciting new network on such a groundbreaking series."
The premiere episodes of "ABFF Independent" will include:
- Jump the Broom: A Musical – When a beautiful, fun-loving young bride-to-be is confronted by a sexy ex-lover on her wedding day, she begins to question her decision. Directed by Kena Tangi Dorsey, it stars Lamman Rucker, Renee Goldsberry and Brandon DeShazer.
- Weekends in Brooklyn –A British black man and woman fall for each other one evening in Brooklyn, but their love is put to the test when they discover she is pregnant. Directed by David Canady, it stars O.T. Fagbenle, Naomi Ryan and Namakula.
- I Want You – The story of a whirlwind romance told through poetry, shot in a unique style in black and white and set to soulful music. The director is Nefertite Nguvu; it stars Jazz Smollett and Ohene Cornelius.
- Sistahs In The Name of Love – Tensions arise between two sisters, one a career-driven professional, the other a traditional wife and mother, during a family visit. Kena Tangi Dorsey directs; Laura Bart, Jonas Chaka and Vincent Heckard star.
- Stitches – A teen fashionista displaced by Hurricane Katrina finds herself living with an untrendy new roommate who provokes her to show who she really is inside all the pretty clothes. Directed by Pamela K. Johnson and starring Gabi Rojas, Chelsea Makela, LeShay N. Tomlinson.
- Father's Day? – A young girl struggles to rise above her feelings of abandonment and confront her absent father. Directed by Dave Coleman and starring Sharri Jones, Ashley Shante, Squeaky Moore and Rosalyn Coleman.
"ABFF Independent" is executive produced by Jeff Friday, and Sean Joell Johnson and Ralph Scott of LeftCenter Entertainment, Inc.
ASPiRE will launch with charter brand partners including Chrysler Group, Nationwide Insurance, L'Oreal USA, Coca-Cola and Walmart.
About Omari Hardwick
Hardwick's numerous film credits include Sparkle, I Will Follow, For Colored Girls, Kick-Ass, The A-Team, The Guardian, Beauty Shop and the Gridiron Gang. He is also known for his television roles, including Ty Curtis in TNT's "Dark Blue," opposite Dylan McDermott, and as John Sack Hallon in the 2006 TNT series "Saved," opposite Tom Everett Scott. The multitalented Hardwick was a football star at the University of Georgia, where he minored in theater, and has written over 4,000 poems.
Established in 1997, the core mission of the ABFF is to promote cultural diversity within the motion picture industry. Through its film showcases and special contests, it annually introduces the top echelon of emerging artists to the film and television industry. The ABFF is a property of Film Life, Inc., a New York-based event marketing, and production and film distribution company founded in 2000 by Jeff Friday (CEO).
Spearheaded by entrepreneur and NBA Hall of Famer Earvin "Magic" Johnson, in partnership with GMC TV, ASPiRE delivers enlightening, entertaining and positive programming to African-Americans families, including movies, documentaries, short films, music, comedy, visual and performing arts, and faith and inspirational programs. ASPiRE celebrates African-American heritage and groundbreaking cultural achievements and will create new opportunities for the next generation of African-American visionaries. The network will launch June 27, 2012 to millions of customers on Comcast's digital basic tier. For more information, visit www.aspire.tv