A spirit of art, passion and promise filled the final day of the ABFF as Miamians delighted in a showcase of creative expression. 

Miami, FL - The ABFF and Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency’s (SEOPW CRA) Films Over Miami showcase concluded this year’s highly successful American Black Film Festival at the Colony Theatre. SEOPW CRA sponsored the showcase to help stimulate local business and job opportunities within the multibillion-dollar film industry, and spotlight local film projects. The event generated a spirit of promise and opportunity among local filmmakers, community members and artisans as four emerging South Florida filmmakers presented their films to a vibrant sold-out crowd. Actor and ABFF ambassador Omari Hardwick and 12 young poets kicked off the showcase with a powerful poetry and prose presentation. Films featured in the showcase included: “The Magic City,” directed by R. Malcolm Jones; “Welcome to Miami,” directed by Elijah Wells; “The Haitian Guantanamo Bay Experience,” directed by Rachelle Salnave; “The Adventures of Edson Jean,” directed by Edson Jean, and “The Heart of Summer,” directed by Adrian Allen. Following the screenings, filmmakers had the opportunity to participate in “talkbacks” with showcase host, Miami “culturalist” Ingrid B, and take photos with Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, SEOPW CRA’s board chairwoman.

Robert Townsend’s “Playin’ For Love” Premieres at Films Over Miami
Following the showcase, noted guests and hundreds of revelers enjoyed a red carpet world premiere of “Playin’ For Love.” The Robert Townsend-directed film received CRA funds and employed 20 students from the Overtown community. Portions of the movie were taped in the City of Miami. Townsend, lead actress Salli Richardson-Whitfield and several other cast members attended the screening. The cast, many of whom were youth hailing from South Florida and the Overtown area, were also present along with their proud families.

The ABFF-SEOPW CRA partnership and Community Showcase initiative was launched in 2009 with the goal of promoting Miami’s local film industry talents and the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Area to prospective investors and festival attendees alike. This year, ABFF and SEOPW CRA extended the partnership to include the Miami Film Life Center (MFLC), housed in the Historic Chapman House on the campus of Booker T. Washington High School. MFLC is an arts institute with a mission to promote awareness and accessibility of film and filmmaking to the residents of Southeast Overtown and surrounding communities.

The SEOPW CRA was established in 1982 to oversee and manage the redevelopment of the Overtown and Park West communities, and to restore economic vibrancy within these targeted areas of the City of Miami (“Redevelopment Area”).  The SEOPW CRA seeks to improve the quality of life for residents of the Redevelopment Area, and to promote the opportunities available for reinvestment by private redevelopers and incentives to encourage new businesses and industries to locate within the Redevelopment Area.  For more information on the SEOPW CRA, visit www.MiamicCRA.com/SEOPWCRA

The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) is a five-day retreat and international film market dedicated to strengthening the Black filmmaking community. 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 multifaceted entertainment company headquartered in New York City. The company was founded in 2001 by Jeff Friday, a veteran of the consumer product marketing and advertising industries. While best known for creating the American Black Film Festival, Film Life’s operations center on developing/licensing innovative content across all forms of media and providing strategic advisory services to a wide range of companies in the entertainment, media and consumer product industries.