The New Black

The role of blacks in American cinema has come a long way since the stereotypical portrayal of African-Americans in D.W. Griffith’s 1915 epic film, The Birth of a Nation. In Griffith’s version of the Civil War and ensuing Reconstruction, black legislators lounged around barefoot, guzzling whiskey, eating fried chicken, and hankering after white women — while Negro murderers and rapists wreaked havoc on innocent white folk. In 2010, however, you can’t turn on your television without coming across a commercial for a Tyler Perry movie, and two movies about black teenagers, Precious and The Blind Side, were nominated for the best-picture Oscar.

Every year, the American Black Film Festival comes to South Florida and regales fans and industry insiders with film showcases, contests, panels, symposiums, and workshops that celebrate the rich and varied history of black American cinema. This year’s festival offerings include an “Art of Directing” Master Class taught by inimitable auteur Spike Lee. Opening night is Wednesday and kicks off with a cocktail hour at the Segafredo Café (1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach), followed by consecutive screenings of the film Takers at the Colony Theater, at the same address. The festivities continue with the late-night ABFF Opening Night Party at Klutch (136 Collins Ave., Miami Beach). Admission to the cocktail hour or the opening-night party costs $75. Tickets to film screenings cost $12 to $25. All-festival passes cost $750 and $1,300. Visit abff.com or the official ABFF box office, which opens Wednesday, on the second floor of the Ritz-Carlton South Beach (1 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach).
Wed., June 23, 4:45 p.m., 2010

 
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