Photo caption: Journalist and TV personality Roland Martin mingles during the Legendary White Party on day two of the 2018 American Black Film Festival. | Photo credit: American Black Film Festival
By Rosalyn L. Forch
Descending on Miami Beach to cover my first American Black Film Festival was an unforgettable experience and immense pleasure. The energy, the sense of camaraderie and shared love of African American creative expression in all of its forms was a one-of-a-kind experience.
To describe it as a melting pot of creative expression would be an understatement from the red carpets to the celebrity panel discussions to the industry insights on everything from the state of Black Hollywood to the business of entertainment to behind the laughs. Not to mention the glitz and glamour of celebrity-filled parties and networking experiences.
If you are aspiring to be in the film and television industry, the ABFF is the training ground and launching pad for the new wave of African American film and television superstars.
I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with many bright and talented actors, directors, screenwriters and independent filmmakers who were so excited to learn and to take their craft to the next level.
The highlights for me included a one-on-one sit down with Qasim Barnes and his writing partner, Samantha Tanner as they shared the inspiration for bringing the story of a couple’s election night meeting at the 2016 Presidential election to life through the stellar talents of Omari Hardwick and Meagan Good. Another highlight was the ABFF Talks: A Conversation with Ryan Coogler moderated by Entertainment Tonight’s Nischelle Turner as the talented writer and director gave audience members a close up look at his journey and creative achievements. Capturing red carpet highlights of the cast of Bobby Brown show was another special moment.
The celebrity panel guests poured their expertise and an immense wealth of wisdom and encouragement into the aspiring artists via a diverse selection of panel discussions, business seminars and industry dialogues. They made me believe that all things are possible, that I was a part of a great community, full of encouragement, guidance and support.
The film screenings were extremely entertaining. I enjoyed each one I attended, including Oscar-award-winning director Kevin MacDonald’s documentary on the legendary Whitney Houston. MacDonald’s intimate exploration of the life and journey of the New Jersey born singing phenomenon offered audiences an inside look at one of the world’s most treasured and talented vocalists. It was a privilege to share my rave reviews for his ability to strike a perfect balance in paying tribute to Whitney Houston’s vocal talents while unfolding intimate details of her tragic downfall from those who knew and loved her best. Click here to check out my review.
I loved the positive energy of every artist that I encountered and had an amazing time. Learning that it was a sold-out affair came as no surprise after witnessing the level of excellence that was poured out over the course of the festival.
Hearing that ABFF has been granted another 3-year-contract to host the festival in Miami Beach also comes as no surprise.
It was a whirlwind experience with a wealth of opportunities to explore as well as a learning experience that equipped me with insights on how to navigate with greater precision in the future to take advantage of all the amazing coverage opportunities this festival has to offer.
The 2019 American Black Film Festival will be held in Miami Beach from June 12-16, 2019.
See you next year.