The ABFF is just about having an outlet. There aren’t too many places that independent filmmakers can take their films to be shown. There are only a handful of film festivals, and then there are only a handful of films a year that get accepted to them. And with black cinema, it’s even more difficult.
We do not have too many independent black filmmakers out there in the mainstream. One can go back to Spike Lee and Matty Rich, and then count from there. You can really count on one hand — not hands, but hand — the successful ones who’ve turned it into something. And I believe that’s what the ABFF is all about: cultivating and shepherding our next independent filmmakers. And not just black filmmakers, but filmmakers.
It seems that any time you have more than three people of color in a film, it becomes an “urban film.” Whereas it’s not that way on the converse. You wouldn’t look at “The Departed” and say “that’s a white film.” It just happened to be a film with a bunch of white actors … and then me. Sometimes we need to stop attaching labels and defining things, and just let things be what they are. That’s why festivals like the ABFF are necessary. Just to give people the opportunity to do what they love to do.
— As told to Andrew Barker by “K-Ville” star Anthony Anderson, who serves as the fest’s media spokesman.