"Everybody loves Love Jones, if you don't love Love Jones, something is wrong with you," Jeff Friday, founder of the American Black Film Festival (ABFF), proclaims in our sit down.
For Friday, watching the iconic film play at Sundance over two decades ago was the start of what is now one of the most career-launching film festivals around, for Black storytellers. It was that encounter and noticing how well Love Jones did at the festival, yet not seeing many people who looked like him attending Sundance is when Jeff found his purpose and knew what he was suppose to do. Now, celebrating its milestone 25th year, the American Black Film Festival is more than another annual festival, but it serves as a vessel for Black filmmakers to feel embraced for their work and validate that they too belong in Hollywood. "Mainstream festivals doesn't work hard to invite people of color in, so we created our own," Friday explains as one of the reasons he founded the festival.
This year, ABFF kicks off on November 3rd with the premiere of the Will Smith helmed King Richard, and is completely free through Friday's innovative streaming service abffplay.com. “ABFF 25 will not disappoint on our promise to deliver inspiring and dynamic programs,” Nicole Friday, president of ABFF Ventures LLC, said in a statement.
“With our unique global broadcast platform, we celebrate our 25-year journey of uplifting voices, sharing the talent of hundreds of artists and fostering a stronger Black entertainment community. We are grateful to our outstanding corporate sponsors and partners for their unwavering support of ABFF and its important mission over the years,” she continues.
The festival previously announced its 2021 official selections, an impressive collection of films and web series by emerging and est