During the African American Film Festival – Television & Media Expo, attendees got a chance to get up close and personal with actress Tasha Smith, fashion designer Byron Lars, and major TV networks, such as TV One and Aspire TV.
BlackEnterprise.com caught up with a few of the networks for some behind-the-scenes insight into what attendees could expect from today’s festivities.
“We want attendees to walk away from this expo with a good understanding of the type of programming and genre we feature, which is family entertainment,” said Ty Johnson, vice president of multicultural sales and development for Aspire.TV. “Aspire TV targets the African American family and urban professional. UP TV is “feel good” TV for you and your family. Considering ABFF Independent is a part of our flagship series, the TV & Media Expo gives us an opportunity to meet new producers, showrunners, and writers because we are trying to diversify the development pipeline.”
Chanel Boyd of TV One: “We’re here to promote “Runway Island” and “Girlfriend Getaway 2”, our two latest shows coming to the network. The ratings for both movies are off the charts. We just want to continue to promote the great content we develop for TV One viewers.
Traci Otey Blunt, executive vice president, corporate marketing & corporate affairs, RLJ Entertainment, is responsible for promoting the Urban Movie Channel, a new digital streaming channel founded by Bob Johnson. Blunt told Black Enterprise exclusively, “Bob’s vision was to be able to allow the urban creative and talent community to have a place to showcase their films. Typically, with a television studio, they only allow people to submit three or four times a year. But with an online platform, we’re able to take in films and ideas from the creative community and showcase the films on our channel regularly. Also, without having the studios and advertisers involved, we’re able to showcase the film so that consumers can determine whether they like what they see. If someone is interested in submitting content, they can send their script to Angela Northington, senior vice president, content acquisitions at Urban Movie Channel/RLJ Entertainment. Visit www.urbanmoviechannel.com to learn more.
During an interview with Harlem Fashion Row, actress Tasha Smith and Byron Lars talked about everything from the inspiration behind Byron’s designs to the most difficult challenges they have faced while climbing the ladder to success. “When I design dresses for women, it’s really not about the dresses. It’s about what I can do to make a woman feel confident,” said Lars. Smith encouraged attendees with her very own personal story: “My biggest obstacle has been my own mind, because I was thinking it wasn’t happening fast enough. You have to keep going and believing in yourself.”
For complete coverage of the 2015 American Black Film Festival, visit www.blackenterprise.com/tag/abff or follow along on social media using #ABFF2015.