Recap on American Black Film Festival’s Opening Night

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By: Ashlee Thomas

The night is full of excitement at Miami’s 23rd Annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF). All the buzz of an opening night is in the air as silver screen celebrities arrive for their red carpet debut. Flashing lights and “who are you wearing” can be heard in the crowd of sun-kissed beauties gracing the cinema at the historic Olympia Theater in Miami Beach. Heels click graciously against the pavement in through the double doors and guests get their fill from concession stands before the opening credits. The American Black Film Festival took opening night to entirely new heights with its official selection of Super Fly. A remake the 1972 ‘blaxploitation’ film of the same name, Super Fly, directed by Director X, takes on a contemporary flair to bring this badass film into the 21st century. The opening scene blares from the surround-sound speakers in the Olympia Theater and gets the audience in club mode as they are greeted by the main character Priest (Trevor Jackson) with a perm too pretty and threads so fresh. The audience can’t help laugh at this spectacle until it’s evident that Priest is a bad mother – shut yo mouth! The ABFF crowd engages the film with awe, wonder, gut-busting laughter, and at times, an outright call-and-response to the cinematic action.

ABFF opening night film provokes the quintessential calls ubiquitous to the African American culture when good stories are being told. From the church pew to the theatre – the collective voice is ever present and accepted as the communal rating system. Based on this lively crowd, ABFF delivered a hit and Super Fly is reveling in a cultural thumbs-up. The opening film takes the entire cinematic audience on classic car speed chases and gun brawls infused with art galleries, Karate and steamy romance. Historical and current events weave their way into the film bringing the audience back to the poignant realities of being Black in America. The ABFF crowd responds to it all. Super Fly proves to be a perfect opening night film to energize the American Black Film Festival weekend.

Credits roll as standing ovations, laughs and applause fill the Olympia Theater. Guest talk back and forth as they head to the ABFF opening night afterparty at Club Story sponsored by AspireTV. With the hashtag #WEAREABFF, guests share the makings of a very lit night. A red carpet adorns the entrance for social media snaps alongside the AspireTV picture booth to capture the night. The dance floor fills up and the bars overflow with a pure celebration of Black excellence in film. The dance floor is jumping and the DJ spins fire, putting bodies in a trance. The cemented cultural call-and-response finds itself on the dance floor as the ABFF crowd sings the hits and timeless classics of hip hop and R&B.

Of course, it’s not a Miami party without as splash of Soca and Reggaetón. The crowd connects with smiles, hands, and a gracious sway to Miami’s sounds. VIP pass holders enjoy delicious bites and stargaze from the second floor of Story Nightclub in the invite-only sections reserved especially for Hollywood A-listers. Though attendees came from all walks of film life from general fans, producers, celebrities, to elected officials, everyone allowed the universal love of music, storytelling and a good drink make the 2018 ABFF opening night one to remember.

Miami is a magical city and it delivered on its promise: great weather, beautiful people, quality cinema and all around good vibes at the opening night of the American Black Film Festival 2018.

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