ABFF: Black Women and Experimental Storytelling
The American Black Film Festival, more commonly known as ABFF, bills itself as America’s largest gathering of Black Film & Television enthusiasts. That’s exactly what it is and I was glad to be highlighted as a 2018 Kathy Collins Innovator at this year’s event and speak on the panel Black Women and Experimental Storytelling: Emerging Technologies and Innovation in Cinema presented by Facebook.
The annual event features films by people of African descent. Since 1997, each June, the festival hosts five days of packed programming that features films, panels and networking events.
I hadn’t attended the festival since 2006 and was amazed at how much it had grown. Founder Jeff Friday has done an extraordinary job in bringing his vision into the Black film timeline.
I was delighted to be highlighted on the panel Black Women and Experimental Storytelling: Emerging Technologies and Innovation in Cinema programmed in association with Daughters of Eve (sisters Terri Prettyman Bowles and Dr. Michele Prettyman Beverly).
What an audience of supporters! Folks applauded, testified and cried when hearing about my journey and the work of the other two panelists (now sister friends) Natalie Bullock Brown, (Baartman, Beyoncé & Me) and Taura Musgrove, multimedia filmmaker (Freedom Fighter). We are now the 2018 Kathleen Collins Innovators. Kathy was a beautiful spirit, a pioneering African American filmmaker, scholar and godmother to my daughter HaJ. She is also the reason why in addition to being a filmmaker, I teach in higher education. I will write about my friend at another time.
One of my favorite moments at ABFF was reconnecting with friend Michelle Materre and giving her a shout out for all of the work that she has done over her 30-year career as a producer, curator, programmer, educator and all around fabulous woman.
It was great afternoon. And, of course, hubby Tim was there being the family documentarian