Today’s Guest: Jeff Friday, founder, American Black Film Festival
I was tempted to start out by telling you that the American Black Film Festival, which starts June 23 and runs for four days in Miami, is a black thing and you wouldn’t understand.
But then I thought: That’s stupid. If there’s one thing a somewhat educated, middle-aged white guy understands about black people is that when it comes to movies, I completely understand their appeal.
JEFF FRIDAY podcast excerpt: “Mainstream Hollywood, to be very frank, does not typically come to ethnic festivals to buy movies for theatrical releases. Many of our films have been purchased for home video, television and ancillary distribution.”
Personally, I discovered it as a teenager when I once one of the few white people in a packed New Jersey movie theatre in 1978 watching the opening night of the Richard Pryor film Blue Collar. I’ve rarely laughed as hard as I did that night.
The next time was in college when my friend Steve Goldin dragged me to a Manhattan theatre to watch a new oddly romantic comedy called She’s Gotta Have It by a young NYU filmmaker named Spike Lee. Again, we were about the only white people in there and I think it’s safe to say we both walked out with very different ideas of what black cinema could mean than when we walked in.
So, in my mind at least, it may be a black thing, but I think I do get it.
That’s why I wanted to lend a little publicity help to the 14th annual American Black Film Festival. Joining me today to give us a sneak preview of this year’s event is founder Jeff Friday. And if that’s not a movie star name, I don’t know what is.