ABFF: 2015 Spotlight Screenings

Screenings feature groundbreaking and classic films examining black life

(Image: www.splashfilm.com)
(Image: www.splashfilm.com)

In just 2 short days the American Black Film Festival will kick-off in New York City. As you begin to map out your festival events deciding which master classes to attend, competitions to catch, parties to check out and screenings to watch, be sure you make time for the much-anticipated ABFF Spotlight Screenings. To get you up to speed, here’s a little info on what and who you can look to see in the ABFF Spotlight Screenings 2015.

[Related: American Black Film Festival Kicks Off June 11]

The screenings kick-off on Thursday, June 11th at 7:30pm with the highly buzzing New York Premiere of Dope, a coming-of-age comedy/drama for the post hip-hop generation. Dope follows Malcolm, a geek warily surviving life in “The Bottoms” in Los Angeles. A chance invitation to an underground party leads him into a gritty adventure filled with offbeat characters and bad choices that could allow him to go from being a geek to being dope to ultimately being himself. Dope stars Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori, Kiersey Clemons, Blake Anderson and Zoë Kravitz, and is written and directed by Rick Famuyiwa. Dope will also have an encore screening on Sunday, June 14th, 5:35pm at AMC Empire 25.

On Friday, June 12th at 3:20pm, catch Runaway Island. Courtesy of TV One, Runaway Island tells the story of a pastor, an aging widow, and a socialite with cold feet that visit a luxurious Gullah Sea Island resort to be rejuvenated by its holistic setting. Runaway Island is written by Christopher Brandt and directed by Dianne Houston. The cast includes Lorraine Toussaint, Thomas Q. Jones, Aisha Hinds, Leon Thomas, and A. Russell. There will be a Q&A with the director and cast members at AMC Empire 25 immediately following the event.

This Friday will also be your opportunity to catch In My Father’s House directed by Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg. Featuring Che “Rhymefest” Smith, Brian Tillman, and Donnie Smith, In My Father’s House tells the story of hip-hop artist and songwriter Che “Rhymefest” Smith who, inspired by nostalgia and a romantic idea of family legacy, decides to purchase his childhood home on Chicago’s South Side and raise his new family in the same house where he grew up. He quickly discovers that his estranged father is a homeless alcoholic living only blocks away, and hesitantly sets out to reconnect with the man who abandoned him over twenty years ago. In My Father’s House will screen at Friday, June 12th, 4:20pm at AMC Empire 25.

An Unexpected History: The Story of Hennessey and African Americans also premieres Friday, June 12th at AMC Empire 25. At 6:15pm watch as An Unexpected History celebrates Moët Hennessy’s hundred-year relationship with African American culture, as well as the role of African Americans in shaping the brand’s identity and success. Directed by Llewellyn Smith, featuring Jason P. Chambers, PhD, Herbert P. Douglas Jr., Noel Hankin, Rhonda McDonald and Rodney William, An Unexpected History recounts Hennessy’s historic role in bringing respect and opportunities to Black professionals and consumers.

On Saturday, June 13th at 2:15pm catch the ABFF Independent – Season 4 Premiere hosted by hip-hop artist, record producer, and actor David Banner. ABFF Independent is a showcase of popular and award-winning films from the American Black Film Festival. This, and all spotlight screenings, will be held at AMC Empire 25.

Actress turned writer and director Tasha Smith will premiere her film Boxed In at this year’s spotlight screenings. Featuring Walter Fauntleroy, Antonique Smith, and Tyra Ferrell, Boxed In depicts a Black man in NYC struggling with bipolar disorder, while his girlfriend and mother learn to deal with the pain of his manic episodes and struggle for mental survival. You can catch this screening and a Q&A with writer/director Tasha Smith directly following Saturday, June 13th, 6:30pm at AMC Empire 25.

Closing out this year’s spotlight screenings will be non-other than the critically acclaimed Boyz N the Hood, written and directed by John Singleton. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, Boyz N the Hood is the classic saga of three friends growing up and trying to survive in a South Central Los Angeles neighborhood. Boyz N the Hood’s star-studded cast includes Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr., Laurence Fishburne, Morris Chestnut, Nia Long, Angela Bassett, and Regina King. You may catch this screening at the AMC Empire 25 Sunday, June 14th, 2:00pm.

Check out these spotlight screenings along with a plethora of documentaries, web originals, short films and narrative features showcasing at ABFF 2015. For a full list of movies and screening times, and to purchase movie tickets, be sure to visit https://www.amctheatres.com/.

For more information on the films, schedules, and activities for the 2015 American Black Film Festival, visit http://www.abff.com. For updates via Twitter and other social media sites, check the hashtag #ABFF2015.

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