Hosted by Omari Hardwick (Sparkle, “Dark Blue”)
ASPiRE’s (@tvASPiRE) acclaimed original series “ABFF Independent” will return for a second season with six all-new episodes, beginning on Monday, September 30 at 8:00 p.m. EDT. The weekly two-hour show, hosted by actor Omari Hardwick (Sparkle, “Dark Blue”) presents the best independent shorts, feature films and documentaries from emerging black artists. “ABFF Independent” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. EDT, with repeat airings Monday at 11 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m., 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., and the following Monday at 2 p.m. EDT.
“With our partner ABFF, we are proud to bring ‘ABFF Independent’ back for an exciting second season,” said Paul Butler, general manager, ASPiRE. “The series continues to provide an important spotlight for a variety of fun, provocative and moving independent projects from talented African-American voices.”
“The Black experience is essential to American culture and it’s vital that we see it on television,” said Jeff Friday, ABFF founder, and Founder and CEO of Film Life Inc. “We are very pleased to join forces with ASPIRE to bring these diverse films to national audiences.”
“I am first and foremost, very humbled to be asked back as host of such an important endeavor,” said Omari Hardwick, ABFF Independent host, actor and poet. “I am excited to host this series that features quality, dynamic original films at a time when our stories are even more important to tell than ever. ‘ABFF Independent’ is the perfect show for faithful film lovers who often don’t get the opportunity to view such diamonds in the rough!”
The first two episodes of “ABFF Independent” will include:
Monday, September 30th
ABFF Independent – Episode: “Jokers Wild” – Six stories that bring the incredible, the outrageous and the OMG moments that keep you watching. It’s so real, you’ll think you are watching it as it really happens. New works include:
· Consent – The tables are turned on a groupie fan in what looks to be a one-night stand. A shot at a superstar leaves nothing to chance. A new age protection for a scandalized romance. Directed by Kevin Branch. Currently working as a video engineer in the film and TV industry, Branch has written and directed a number of short films financed through grants and private sources.
· Fat Girl’s Guide to Yoga – Oversized and with a knack for wise cracks, Wendy turns to yoga to lose weight. She undergoes a series of challenges, giving audiences a comical glimpse into the skewed mind of a woman trying to find her “Om.” Directed by Tajamika Paxton, who was the head of Forest Whitaker’s SpirtDance production company for three years. Also, she was an MTV Films Executive, supervising The Wood and serving on the development team for Election and Varsity Blues.
· The Male Groupie – What happens when you’re living the life…and it belongs to your best friend? This film tells the tale of two childhood friends, seemingly on the same path towards success but steadily drifting apart. Directed by Gregory M.T. Colleton. Gregory entered Hollywood with Road to Freaknik, a feature-length comedy bought by Fox Searchlight for Edmond Entertainment. He continues to work closely with the Underground Films production company where he scripted original features, Act Like You Know, Highland Park and The Wish.
· Mandingo in a Box – When Charise can’t find the perfect man, she buys a Mandingo in a Box, but she discovers she might have to share. Mandingo in a Box takes an unorthodox look at romance and the black woman’s quest for the ever-elusive black man. Directed by Daheli Hall, a writer, director and comic actress. Daheli’s work includes several web series and two HBO award-winning short films, The Memo and this film.
· The Slap – A single mom with a unique deformity and a bad temper catches her teenage son in a peculiar position after leaving him alone in a luxury hotel room for several hours. Directed by H.M. Cakley. Cakley made his feature directorial debut in 2008 with the urban horror-comedy HOLLA.
· B.F.F. – Two ex-best friends run into each other on a NYC street on the day one is about to get married. Directed by Rosalyn Coleman Williams. Rosalyn has created and directed over 25 film projects, including the award-winning short films Drawing Angel and Allergic To Nuts, as well as the groundbreaking documentary Black Sorority Project.
Monday, October 7th
ABFF Independent – Episode: “City Streets” – Three true stories about what life is like on city streets – the good, the bad and the promise. The trio of documentaries include:
· MLK Street Project – Birthed out of a well-known Chris Rock joke making fun of the violence and poverty often found on the streets named for the non-violent activist, this revealing documentary follows 10 high-school students as they travel cross-country to observe and record, first-hand, the condition of America’s MLK Streets. Narrated by Rain Pryor, daughter of Richard Pryor. Directed by Charneice Fox.
· Shakespeare in Watts – George Washington H.S. sits on the intersection of four gang territories in Watts, CA and is a mile away from the epicenter of the 1992 LA riots. But there are teachers like Dr. Melanie Andrews who are determined to turn things around and make a difference. With the help of young volunteer British actors, she embarks on an ambitious project, bringing together a group of students to produce an open-air performance of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Directed by Mel Stuart. Mel was an award-winning filmmaker, making over 180 films. He was the recipient of four Emmys, a Peabody Award and an Oscar Nomination. Mel was best known for directing the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. This film was his final directorial work before his passing in August 2012.
· Untold Legacy – This short documentary is a quick introduction to the history of NY’s slave-based development, and why redress is due. In February 2005, the NY City Council considered a Slavery Era Disclosure Ordinance Bill that would require companies doing business with NY to investigate and reveal any past relationship to the slave trade. Though resisted by the NYC mayor, Chicago already passed such a law, resulting in JP Morgan Chase addressing its slave-based past. Directed by Leslie K. Brown.
“ABFF Independent” is executive produced by Jeff Friday, and Sean Joell Johnson and Ralph Scott of LeftCenter Entertainment, Inc. ASPiRE and the series both launched on June 27, 2012.
Follow the series on:
· Omari Hardwick on Twitter @OmariHardwick
About Omari Hardwick
Omari Hardwick’s numerous film credits include Sparkle, I Will Follow, For Colored Girls, Kick-Ass, The A-Team, The Guardian, Beauty Shop and the Gridiron Gang. He is also known for his television roles, including Ty Curtis in TNT’s “Dark Blue,” opposite Dylan McDermott, and as John Sack Hallon in the 2006 TNT series “Saved,” opposite Tom Everett Scott. The multitalented Hardwick was a football star at the University of Georgia, where he minored in theater, and has written over 4,000 poems.