The 18th edition of the American Black Film Festival will make its New York debut next month with films directed by Tim Story and Spike Lee bookending the June 19-22 event, organizers announced last week.
The festival, which promotes work by and about people of African descent, is presented by Film Life, a New York City-based entertainment company. The Miami area was home to the festival for most of its existence. Now, Jeff Friday, the festival’s founder and Film Life chief executive, said in a phone interview that he hoped the move will be a permanent one, with the goal of reaching a larger, more diverse audience.
“Last year proved if nothing else, that black films can be more mainstream,” Mr. Friday said. “We want to encourage audiences to consume, ingest and enjoy black cinema as much as multicultural audiences enjoy other forms of black culture.”
Opening night will feature “Think Like a Man Too,” the sequel to the 2012 comedy “Think Like a Man.” That film, which was also directed by Mr. Story and inspired by Steve Harvey’s book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man,” surprised Hollywood by taking the top box office spot — over the Zac Efron-led “Lucky One” — on its opening weekend. The next chapter reunites the ensemble (Kevin Hart, Taraji P. Henson, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Jerry Ferrara, Meagan Good, Gabrielle Union and Romany Malco) for a Las Vegas-based wedding weekend.
Closing the festival will be the premiere of Mr. Lee’s “Da Sweet Blood of Jesus,” starring Stephen Tyrone Williams, Zaraah Abrahams, Lauren Macklin and Elvis Nolasco. The film, which was financed through a Kickstarter campaign, will “examine human beings who are addicted to blood,” Mr. Lee said in a press release. “They are not vampires either. This is not ‘Blacula.’”
The films, which will screen at the SVA Theater in Chelsea, are among 50 narrative features, shorts, documentaries and webisodes expected to be shown at the festival. The full schedule will be released later this month.
For more information, see abff.com.
article by Lori Holcomb-Holland via nytimes.com