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

July 10, 2008

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 http://www.abff.com/ or by e-mail: abff@thefilmlife.com.

The Allstate Corporation 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 tomorrow through approximately 14,900 exclusive agencies and financial representatives in the U.S. and Canada. Customers can access Allstate products and services such as auto insurance and homeowners insurance 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 broker-dealers.

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.

Film Life

CONTACT: Ghana Odet Wilson of Film Life, +1-646-375-2144 ext. 5,Ghana@thefilmlife.com; Yvette Nicol Harris for Film Life, +1-786-897-8854,Yvette@harrispublicrelations.com

Web site: http://www.thefilmlife.com/http://www.abff.com/




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