American Black Film Festival Brings T.I., Mike Tyson, Tupac, and The Wire to Miami

Starting today, the

American Black Film Festival

takes over the


as its headquarters and will screen films at Lincoln Road's Colony Theatre and the Española Way's Miami Beach Cinematheque through Saturday. But with 17 films, a shorts competition, workshops, and symposiums, you can't make it to everything. Here's where we think you should spend your dough:

Our advice is to skip tonight's opening night film, Takers, a heist movie starring T.I., Chris Brown, and Matt Dillon. It'll be released nationwide at the end of August in a multiplex near you. Plus, Chris Brown hits women.

Take advantage of the film festival by seeing films so indie they don't have distributors yet. There's Legacy (see above trailer), where a conspiracy web catches a black ops solider, played by The Wire's Idris Elba. The film was written and directed by Thomas Ikimi, a Columbia-trained screenwriter whose low-budget, student film Limbo made it into Cannes in 2004. Legacy, which just made the rounds at this year's Tribeca and Cannes, screens tomorrow at the Colony and Saturday at the Cinematheque.

Also fresh off the festival circuit with screenings at SxSW is One Night in Vegas, a documentary about the friendship between Tupac Shakur and Mike Tyson. The film is rooted in the night Tupac was killed. He was gunned down between seeing Iron Mike knock out Bruce Sheldon and the victory party. A former writer of the sitcom A Different World, director Reggie Bythewood sums it up with "Yet on this one night in Vegas, there were more punches thrown by Tupac in the lobby than there were in the arena. And in the end there was more bloodshed outside of the ring than there was inside."  One Night in Vegas screens tomorrow at the Colony and Friday at the Cinematheque. Here's the trailer:

In the festival's New Visions category, there is perhaps the only feature-length animated gang film in history -- at least we couldn't think of any others. Gangs of LA 1991 is a cartoon portrayal of the violent warfare between Los Angeles gangs in the early 1990s. You won't find any Pixar twee here. Directed by Lamonte Moore, it makes its world premiere at this weekend's American Black Film Festival. See it Saturday at the Cinematheque.

The American Black Film Festival runs Wednesday, June 23 to Saturday, June 26. The Colony Theatre is located at 1040 Lincoln Road and the Miami Beach Cinematheque at 512 Española Way, both are in Miami Beach. Film tickets cost $15 to $25. Visit abff.com.

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