Jeff Friday, American Black Film Festival Founder, Tells Our Stories

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This Black History Month, we honor the GAME CHANGERS: Everyday heroes whose actions make life better for the people around them. SEE ALL OUR GAME CHANGERS HERE.

Jeff Friday film lifeJeff Friday

Why He’s a Game Changer: Jeff Friday, founder of the American Black Film Festival, boldly compares his work to that of a Historically Black College or University. Friday writes in Ebony:

Black film festivals work year-round to find new ways to help promote our stories and storytellers who too often remain marginalized. We rally to build a strong network within the industry, to grow the power base and the opportunities. Yet, our efficacy is often challenged: “What’s the relevance of Black film festivals?”

The same question is often asked of Black colleges. And across the board, it’s a level response: Underlying their respective missions is the goal of creating a supportive community. And let’s not fool ourselves – we can use all the support we can get!

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The mantra of Friday’s company, “Because Hollywoodn’t,” says it all. Friday sees the film festival as a way of uncovering marginalized story tellers. The festival, hosted in Miami, celebrated its 16th anniversary in 2012. The 5,500 attendees were more than double when the festival first launched.


This summer, the festival screened the Oscar-nominated film “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” The festival has provided an outlet for independent filmmakers as movie studios pursue a strategy of blockbusters, sequels, and super-hero movies.

“There are essentially two or three films a year, in the past three or four years – if you count them … that are either directed by or made for an African-American audience,” Friday told The Grio.

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