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Two local filmmakers chosen as finalists

caines | 5/30/2013, 5:30 a.m.

The American Black Film Festival [ABFF], the worlds leading film festival for Black and urban content, is set to return to Miami on June 19-23. Now in its 17th year and led by creative genius and founder of the ABFF, Jeff Friday, the ABFF has showcased more than 600 films. And with Friday and a team of industry experts, the Festival has rewarded and redefined artistic excellence in independent filmmaking. Last week, Friday was joined by local filmmakers, producers, directors and supporters of their endeavors at the Miami Buzz Party. The party has become an ABFF tradition and was once again the kind of evening that you simply did not want to miss. Hosts of the party included: The Greater Miami Visitors Convention & Bureau; the ABFF Host Committee; and the Southeast Overtown/Park West CRA. Friday said he had hoped to announce all of the finalists for the several categories for which filmmakers compete but we had to delay the results because we had so many entries. Miami is fast becoming one of the major venues for making films and developing young talent and I am excited to be back and to see which new filmmakers will emerge, he said. City Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones added that several stops for those who attend the ABFF are in Overtown. This is more than just an event for Miami Beach and we are making sure that Blacks in Miami benefit from the revenue that is generated during such a major event, she said. Two stars to watch out for Kingston, Jamaica-born R. Malcolm Jones, a 20-something writer, producer and director is known in the business for having directed over 100 music videos and has garnered awards for his work. This year his film, The Magic City, which he directed, has been chosen as a finalist in the narrative competition. Its his first full-length film and stars Keith David, Jenifer Lewis and Keith David. Its a film about overcoming and it was born out of events that occurred during the recession, he said. Two sisters are separated when theyre quite young but somehow find each other in a foster care home. Their loving foster mother dies suddenly and rather than allowing themselves to be separated again, they strike out on their own to survive. The system doesnt work for them and so they have to forge their own path. Jones says he was inspired by his mentor, John Singleton, who told him after two of his promising film projects were put on hold, to go home, make your own movie and tell your story. What matter most to me are youth issues, Jones added. I want to work towards eradicating youth poverty, youth homelessness and I also want to help usher in the next crew of young actors. In our film we put kids from the inner city in the movies. They would have probably never had such an opportunity and theyre outstanding. Edson Jean, a writer/actor/director, has also been chosen to compete in HBOs short film competition for his autobiographical movie entitled, The Adventures of Edson Jean. Jean, born in West Palm Beach, studied at the New World School of the Arts and has been using his artistic talents here in Miami working his a posse of talented youth in his theater company, Lab9. By D. Kevin McNeir kmcneir@miamitimesonline.com