A Beast of a Film Fest

You like your film festivals the way you like your coffee: energizing, full of nuance, and without one of those prissy hearts drawn in milk on top. So get excited, because Film Life is delivering the 17th annual American Black Film Festival to venues around Miami Beach this Wednesday through June 23. The range of shorts, features, and documentaries in the program is traditionally one of the most catholic of any of the annual festivals. This is, after all, a festival that was one of the early champions of Ryan Coogler, whose debut feature, Fruitvale Station, is one of the year’s most anticipated films after screening at Cannes last month and winning the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at Sundance in January. It’s the festival that opened with Beasts of the Southern Wild last year. And this year, it’s the festival that boasts the national premiere of Kevin Hart’s stand-up concert film, Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, as its closing-night film. In addition to the films, the festival hosts master classes, panel discussions, and onstage interviews. Highlights from this year’s lineup include a three-day acting workshop with Bill Duke, the director of Hoodlum and about a gazillion TV shows; Shaun Robinson moderating a discussion with Comcast and NBCU talent and executives on the importance of promoting diversity on television; and a conversation with Regina King, winner of two NAACP Image Awards for her starring role on the TV series Southland, which ended last year after five seasons.
June 19-23, 2013
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B. Caplan