Miami Prepares For American Black Film Festival

The 2012 festival will feature about 30 films and attract a crowd of more than 5,000

The Magic City is preparing to host the 16th annual American Black Film Festival, a four-day event that begins Wednesday night.

The film festival showcases celebrities, movie premieres and film workshops, but this year, ABFF organizers and elected officials are also unveiling a new project.

"Our focus over the weekend is to try and figure out ways we can cultivate the business by attracting filmmakers, directors and actors to actually come and utilize our areas and possible locations,” said Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones.

One up-and-coming film producer who could benefit from the event is Xavier Thompson, a student at Design and Architecture Senior High School. His film called "Insomnia" was submitted to be showcased in the festival.

"It feels pretty good,” he said. “Video editing has always been a passion of mine.”

Click here to watch a video about how the American Black Film Festival brought business to South Beach last year.

The 2012 festival will feature about 30 films and is expected to attract a crowd of more than 5,000. ABBF founder Jeff Friday said this year’s event will have a special goal.

“You got a lot of film productions come out here, but they're bringing people rather than hire them locally and that's wrong, " Friday said. "So, what we've got to do is educate people and get them trained in different aspects of film."

Spence-Jones is hoping guests and residents take advantage of the "Shop, Dine and Explore Tour" this Saturday. The tour will provide a free trolley ride to Overtown, Little Havana and Little Haiti. Guests will get to experience restaurants, specialty shops and exhibits.

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