Halle Berry has been selected to be the ambassador of the 25th American Black Film Festival (ABFF) which will run virtually between November 3 to 28.
The Oscar-winning actress has been a vital part of the ABFF during the last two and a half decades and was the first person to say yes to come to the first festival, ABFF CEO and President Jeff Friday told BLACK ENTERPRISE.
Berry won the inaugural ABFF rising star award in 1997 for her roles in Jungle Fever, Losing Isiah and The Rich Man’s Wife. Berry has continued to be one of the most prominent Black women in the film industry appearing in a litany of top movies including Monster’s Ball, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, Swordfish, X-Men and Catwoman.
During this year’s ABFF, Berry will also be screening her directorial debut film, ‘Bruised,’ in which she plays Jackie Justice, a disgraced MMA fighter who finds redemption in the cage and the courage to face her demons when the son she’d given up as an infant unexpectedly reenters her life.
Bruised debuted at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this year and is set for a worldwide release Nov. 24 on Netflix.
In an Interview with Variety, Berry spoke of her excitement at the growing number of female directors in the industry.
“I definitely feel like there’s a turning point,” Berry said. “I’m more encouraged that as women, we are feeling confident enough to tell our stories. And there is a place for us to tell our stories. For so long, our experiences have been told narratively through the guise of men.”
As part of being an ambassador, Berry will also partake in several ABFF events and programs throughout the festival including a one-on-one conversation in the ABFF’s talk series where she will discuss her career in the film industry, diversity in the industry and her future.
Bruised and more than 100 other films will play during the ABFF which will be available for free worldwide via the custom-built platform ABFF PLAY. It will be the second year the festival is virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.