I participated in the American Black Film Festival this year as a guest of Cadillac. What a wonderful time! I got to see old friends, meet new ones, AND see some fantastic films. My experience was filled with highlight after highlight. Suffice it to say simply: I HAD A AMAZING TIME!
The weekend started with a very intense film--Beasts of the Southern Wild. It gripped me from the moment that it started. There are already Academy Award Best Actress grumblings for the 8-year old industry newcomer, Quvenzhane Wallis. The film is her coming of age story–living in a Southern Delta community with her father, Wink. I enjoyed it.
After the film, we headed to Meat Market on Lincoln Road, where I had the best Asian BBQ Lamb Ribs and Lobster Mashed Potatoes that I have ever had in my life. There was a lot of discussion around the table of the film. Everyone was impressed with it.
The next day, I spent a lot of time in the Cadillac Lounge in the Ritz Carlton South Beach–where Festival attendees could hang out, great refreshments and snacks, and participate in Black Movie Trivia, hosted by actor/funny guy Robert Townsend. He was hilarious. At the end of the 3 day tournament, the winner walked off with an iPad. It was a blast trying to reach the very crevices of my brain to remember facts from the films. Robert went wayyyyy back on some–including questions about long forgotten films like Claudine, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, and Cornbread, Earl and Me.
That night, Cadillac hosted us at the FAB Asia de Cuba Restaurant, located inside the Mondrian South Beach Hotel. Another wonderful meal, especially the Thai Beef Salad. Special guests for this dinner included Jeff & Nicole Friday, founders of the Festival.
More highlights of the event:
- A wonderful lunch, called Cadillac Conversations with Don Butler. Don talked about his amazing journey from what he called “the sticks” to his current role as US Vice President for Marketing at Cadillac. He also recounted some of the brand’s rich history among African Americans–eye opening stuff! Finally, he had us salivating at the features in the brand new Cadillac models–especially the new Cue–a new vehicle integration system that works in conjunction with the radio, navigation, and OnStar. I can’t wait to try it!
- The ABFF Winners Circle Awards presentation where some of the winners moved the audience to tears.
- The closing film, Raising Izzie, starring Vanessa Williams and Rockmond Dunbar. It reduced me to tears.
- The Cadillac VIP reception at the Hotel Victor. A party is simply NOT a party until Robert Townsend organizes a Soul Train line.
Here’s a short collection of images from the event–
Disclosure: I was a guest of Cadillac for this event. All opinions are my own.