A New Movement in Black Cinema

January 30, 2011 § 2 Comments

Ava DuVernay, founder of AFFRM (Photo: Mariemaye)

It’s called AFFRM, and it stands for African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement. Started in 2011 by filmmaker and publicist Ava DuVernay (My Mic Sounds Nice), it is an attempt to bring black-themed movies to a wider viewing audience by releasing them in cities where the most popular African-American film festivals are already experiencing growing success. DuVernay’s wish is to expand theatrical distribution for black film using social media, email, and other grassroots distribution networks. In keeping with their dedication to quality, alternative independent films, the first one out the box from AFFRM is I Will Follow, a film written and directed by Ava DuVernay herself, which is scheduled for release on March 11, 2011. It will benefit from what AFFRM calls “a high-profile collaboration of the nation’s finest black film festivals.” Those festivals are LA’s Pan-African Film Festival,  Atlanta’s Bronze Lens Film Festival, Urbanworld Film Festival in New York, Philadelphia’s Reel Black Film Series, and the Langston Hughes African American Film Festival in Seattle. Films will be released simultaneously in those cities through a deal DuVernay reached with AMC Theaters. DuVernay already took her show on the road to the Sundance Film Festival, where she organized  three dinners for black filmmakers and others in the filmmaking industry. You can watch a video summary of the last one after the jump. Video from all three of those dinners can also be found on the Shadow and Act website. A filmmaker who participated in one of the dinners – Rashaad Ernesto Green – has already secured a seven-figure distribution deal for his movie Gun Hill Road. Sundance actually turned out quite well for black filmmakers; another movie, Pariah, created enough buzz for its director Dee Rees to also secure a seven-figure deal with Focus Features. And Kinyarwanda, produced by a survivor of the Rwandan genocide, just took home the Audience Award for World Cinema (Dramatic). To find out more about AFFRM please visit their website, where you can also view the trailer for I Will Follow. For more up-to-date information, you can visit their Facebook page. Bless…

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