Lightbox Entertainment, the multi-platform media company founded by Academy Award and Emmy-winning producers and cousins Jonathan Chinn and Simon Chinn, has partnered with the American Black Film Festival in a bid to foster diversity in the feature documentary arena.
The multi-year program will see Lightbox work with the industry’s most promising black filmmakers, as identified through by the ABFF.
First up, the ABFF and Lightbox have unveiled the ABFF’s inaugural Feature Documentary Competition. The competition will be open to all African-American documentary filmmakers and any documentary filmmakers interested in exploring non-fiction stories and themes that speak directly to the African-American experience.
Selected films will be developed and produced by Lightbox and the newly formed ABFF Films division, and executive produced by ABFF Ventures CEO Jeff Friday, as well as the Chinns. National Geographic and 21st Century Fox will fully fund the development of the selected films.
Based in London and Los Angeles, Lightbox has produced several acclaimed documentaries that focus on the experience of people of color in America, including ESPN’s Fantastic Lies, about the 2006 Duke Lacrosse scandal and National Geographic’s LA 92, that marked the 25 anniversary of the civil unrest in Los Angeles following the verdicts in the Rodney King beating case. The company is currently in production on the only authorized documentary about the life and legacy of the late Whitney Houston.
“We are honored to be partnering with the ABFF to encourage further diversity in the documentary genre,” said Jonathan Chinn (pictured, left) and Simon Chinn (pictured, right) in a joint statement. “The documentary community has a rich tradition of embracing creative voices from a wide array of demographics and perspectives, but there is clearly more work for us to do to support African-American and filmmakers from minority communities who want to express themselves through the powerful medium of documentary story telling.”
For the past 21 years, ABFF has provided a prominent platform to African-American filmmakers and TV producers. The 2017 American Black Film Festival ran June 14-18 in Miami Beach.