Malcolm D. Lee, Nia Long, Sanaa Lathan, and Morris Chestnut
‘The Best Man Holiday’ Director Malcolm D. Lee and cast Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long and Morris Chestnut discuss the sequel to 1999’s ‘The Best Man’ at ABFF 2013.
(Photo Credit: Wilson Morales)

As if the Miami Heat clinching the NBA Championship weren’t enough to make this a hot weekend, then the 17th Annual American Black Film Festival (June 19-23) is another one. Featuring festival screenings, diversity panels, Bill Duke’s acting boot camps, pitch sessions and a myriad of activities, ABFF 2013 has proven to be as valuable as ever in helping to expose and promote black films in addition to offering resources for aspiring filmmakers. Stars, executives, directors, writers, producers reunite at the same time each year to fellowship, network and share accomplishments and opportunities with attendees. One such event was the panel discussion featuring the stars of ‘The Best Man Holiday,’ a sequel to the 1999 comedy hit. Check out the video below (courtesy of

In addition to reuniting casts, another type of reunion is common — that of those who attend ABFF, win awards, and go on to critical success. Such is the case with Ryan Coogler, writer and director of the critically acclaimed film Fruitvale Station. Coogler won the 2011 ABFF HBO Short Film competition with his film ‘Fig’, earning him a $20,000 reward and giving him the necessary exposure to continue moving forward in what is sure to be an outstanding film career. While many think of film festivals as party central, there are real differences being made in the lives of aspiring filmmakers and those persevering in an industry that is not always kind to people of color.

This story was written by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., founder and editor-in-chief of the award-winning news site The Burton Wire.

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