Ava DuVernay and Kenya Barris Join Issa Rae for Inaugural ‘Creator Conversations’ Talk at American Black Film Festival (EXCLUSIVE)

As if serving as the creative director of the 28th edition of the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) wasn’t enough, Issa Rae will now sit for the inaugural “Creator Conversation” with two very special guests: Ava DuVernay and Kenya Barris.

The exclusive live event — which is part of a new program dubbed “Creator Conversations” — will take attendees on a journey through their Rae, DuVernay and Barris’ processes and careers, including recent projects such as DuVernay’s latest film “Origin” and Barris’ hit “Black-ish” franchise and his directorial debut “You People.”

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“We are truly delighted to get a rare glimpse into the minds of three trailblazers who are reshaping the landscape of film and television. Ava DuVernay, Kenya Barris and Issa Rae are incredibly talented creators whose work and careers we admire tremendously,” ​​said Nice Crowd President Nicole Friday announcing the special event, which will be held on Friday, June 14 at the New World Center in Miami Beach, Fl. “This on-stage conversation will provide the audiences with in-person access to these iconic creatives, allowing them to engage and hear directly from these celebrated artists.”

DuVernay is an Academy Award-nominated and Emmy- and Peabody-award winning filmmaker whose latest project “Origin” is now streaming on Hulu. The film is a sprawling yet intimate adaptation of Isabel Wilkerson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” which investigates the global phenomenon of caste, its origins and influence on society. The biographical drama follows Wilkerson (portrayed by Oscar nominee Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor) as she writes the book at the same time that she grapples with personal tragedy.

Barris is a best known as the creator behind the groundbreaking “Black-ish” franchise, which spawned spinoffs “Mixed-ish” and “Grown-ish” and came to an end last month after a decade. His producing efforts following that trio of shows and the Netflix series “#BlackAF” include the recent hits “Diarra From Detroit” and “The Vince Staples Show.” Last year, Barris and his production company, Khalabo Ink Society celebrated Emmy nominations for two projects: “Entergalactic,” a first-of-its-kind adult animated music project featuring Grammy-winning musician Kid Cudi, and “Civil,” a documentary about groundbreaking civil rights attorney Ben Crump, which screened at ABFF in 2022.

This year’s festival takes place June 12-16, followed by a virtual segment June 17-24 on ABFF PLAY.

The HBO Short Film Award Showcase will kick off the film festival program on June 12, hosted by Sirius XM’s Bevy Smith (“Bevelations”). Then, three world premieres make up the festival’s “Special Screenings” lineup: Season 2 of Kerry Washington‘s Hulu series “UnPrisoned”; the documentary “Ol’ Dirty Bastard: A Tale of Two Dirtys,” about the Wu-Tang Clan founding member; and “Down in the Valley,” inspired the world of the hit Starz series “P-Valley.” There will also be a screening of the classic film “Devil in a Blue Dress” as part of the Denzel Washington Retrospective, where the two-time Oscar winner will sit for a conversation with Chaz Ebert on June 15.

The lineup of narrative and documentary features includes Jussie Smollett’s return to acting in “The Lost Holliday,” filmmaker Christine Swanson’s latest drama “Albany Road” and the acclaimed Luther Vandross doc “Never Too Much.” Winners of the film festival competition will be announced on June 15, during the “Best of ABFF Awards” hosted by Emmy nominee Dondré Whitfield.

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