Get ready to be dazzled by a vast array of independent moviemakers, aspiring starlets and leading actors when the 15th Annual American Black Film Festival convenes in Miami this July 6-9. The festival staged a vodka-fueled "Buzz Party" in Atlanta Thursday night that attracted about 200 people interested in joining the black Hollywood ranks.
At the festival, filmmakers will seek exposure and funding to back their projects, which range from documentaries to short films in the dramatic and comedic genres. Amid all the networking, screenings, seminars and assorted other festivities, Keenen Ivory Wayans will have the ABFF's Entertainment Icon award bestowed upon him for his long track record of writing, directing and producing. And to mark the 20th year since his breakout film, Boyz in the Hood, debuted, director John Singleton will present a behind-the-scenes documentary about the production.
In addition, syndicated radio talk-show host Michael Baisden will present his new documentary, Do Women Know What They Want? Jeff Friday, founder of the ABFF, said he's most excited a premiere screening of filmmaker Robert Townsend's latest project, The Discarded Boys. Starring Loretta Devine and Michael Clarke Duncan, it focuses on the redemption of youths during their stint at a reform school.
"Our purpose is to create a legacy and stand out as the premiere showcase for rising black talent," Friday said.