Sunday, June 22, 2014 was closing night for the 2014 American Black Film Festival. This event marked the 18th year for the annual festival. Founders Jeff Friday and his beautiful wife Nicole have been positive influences in the film and entertainment industry for years and each year they provide this spectacular 4 day event for creative artists known by most as ABFF.
As all of the panels, expos and parties came to an end, during the festival, the attendees were given access to must-see events. Even with a few glitches of being in a new city for the first time in a many years, the events were absolutely amazing. The panels were informative and included some of the brightest stars. The films playing ranged from comedies, romance, dramatic stories and thrillers. The festival indeed had something for everyone to enjoy.
On Thursday, June 19th the festival kicked off with the opening night premiere of the highly anticipated movie sequel entitled Think Like a Man 2. Before the the screening some of the stars were on hand to walk the red carpet and celebrate the movie opening night along with ABFF including the film’s star Kevin Hart.
On Friday, there was a Leading Man panel with the Ambassador Morris Chestnut, Omari Hardwick and Stephen Bishop sponsored by BET Networks. The handsome leading men answered questions about their careers, discussed future roles and even posed for a few pictures for the fans in the audience.
On Saturday, there was a well-attended panel sponsored by Cadillac honoring the legendary and very prolific director Spike Lee. With a packed room, Spike Lee was questioned by news correspondent Roland Martin. The conversation between the two intelligent men was fun, lively and very informative. They discussed Lee’s career from the very first film to his current film which perfectly closed the American Black Film Festival.
Also on Saturday was a much anticipated panel discussion with actress Phylicia Rashad and her daughter Condola Rashad moderated by Star Jones. The crowd enjoyed a rare peek inside the life and career of a woman called one television’s favorite moms and her daughter’s rising career.
On Sunday, there was a panel featuring some of a cast of the upcoming James Brown biopic entitled Get On Up. The panel included Chadwick Boseman who plays Brown along with Tika Sumpter, and Nelsan Ellis and was sponsored by Universal.
Rounding out the panels on Sunday, was three back to back panels sponsored by HBO. During the panels a few of the cast from Boardwalk Empire, Getting On and True Blood were available to discuss the shows and take questions from the audience. Throughout the festival, there were original movies available by up and coming directors that could be screened throughout the day.
In addition, there was an expo where a few of the sponsors set up lounges, informational desks and kiosks for patrons to visit during the festival. The entire event was mostly held at the Metropolitan Pavilion on West 18th Street and the SVA theaters located on West 23rd Street.
There was so much for all attendees to taken in and enjoy. There were writers, actors, directors and producers in the audience and throughout the venues who wanted to know more and they definitely took advantage of the information this festival has provided. No world yet, on whether the 2015 festival will return to NYC, but either way, it should be very successful.