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It’s time again for the American Black Film Festival and this year it’s turning 23 and celebrating in sunny Miami, Florida. 23 years ago Jeff Friday and some of Hollywood’s biggest names like Spike Lee, Halle Berry and John Singleton held the very first festival in Mexico. Friday has enjoyed watching the festival grow over the years and says this year they’re expecting about 10,000 people, which he calls “a miracle.” The major lesson this journey has taught him that he hopes others get is that, “if you commit to something it’ll survive.”

This year’s ambassador is actress LaLa Anthony. She shared that she didn’t submit a film this year but it was “super important” to her to be a part of this celebration and promotion of Black talent. “ABFF is where you find some of the secret gems out there” and she wants to be the first one to find them and work with talented film makers and directors.

The festival kicks off on Wednesday!