Stars Turn Out for Black Film Fest

The Sixth Annual American Black Film Festival made its hot debut in Miami Beach last week. The five-day festival, which started Wednesday and wrapped Sunday, attracted many celebs, including Eriq La Salle, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Jamie Foxx and John Singleton.

For the past five years, the ABFF, formerly known as the Acapulco Black Film Festival, had taken place in Acapulco, Mexico. The festival is dedicated to supporting the cinematic work of black filmmakers.

An awards event was hosted by actor/director Robert Townsend and Access Hollywood‘s Shaun Robinson on Saturday at the Jackie Gleason Theater.

Veteran actor Delroy Lindo presented Mekhi Phifer, who starred in O, Soul Food, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer and Impostor, with the rising star award. Phifer also co-stars with Eminem and Kim Basinger in 8 Mile, scheduled for release in November.

Former ER star La Salle, whose psychological thriller Crazy As Hell was being shown, attended the festival for the first time.

“We see the universal appeal [in films]. Unfortunately, it hasn’t made the transition on a large scale where these films are given the opportunity to live outside the festival world. It’s only through continually doing these things, and as the festival gets bigger and the studios start taking interest in them, do we stand a chance,” he told the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Sun-Sentinel. “So you have to keep doing it.”

Also in attendance at the festival were acquisition executives from Blockbuster, HBO and Time-Warner, as well as New Line Cinema–distributors of Ice Cube‘s Friday series–and Turner Broadcasting.