Episode 49: How Discomfort Led Jeff Friday to Create the American Black Film Festival - Shereen Kassam | FunnyBrownGirl

It’s an unsettling time right now.  We are in the midst of something we haven’t experienced in our lifetime before – a global pandemic.  I’m anxious and struggling to be creative.  Here is how I’m trying to stay focused and create:

  1. Create a schedule (set an alarm has been the hardest!)
  2. Take breaks (you may not have friends around, but doesn’t mean you can’t talk to yourself!)
  3. Work out (so important! Go outside and take a walk, if you are allowed, but remember social distancing!)
  4. Eat healthy (stop snacking!)
  5. Self-Care (now is the time to take those bubble baths and focus on yourself)


I share stories of creatives who are finding their groove during quarantine such as DJ DNice and Dana Jay Bein with this humorous Coronovirus Rhapsody. 


Also, I’m asking if you cannot purchase your cup of coffee this morning due to the quarantine, would you donate it to help purchase new podcasting equipment?  www.ko-fi.com/funnybrowngirl 


This week’s guest: Jeff Friday, the CEO of American Black Film Festival Ventures, a multifaceted company specializing in the production of live events, television and films focused on African American culture. 


Who is Jeff Friday?

Jeff Friday is one of the most innovative entrepreneurs in the film and television industry today. A successful producer, festival founder, film financier, champion of diversity and mentor to many, Friday has established a unique legacy in Hollywood, generating a tremendous amount of goodwill within the creative and corporate communities.


Twenty-three years ago, following his first trip to Sundance Film Festival, an inspired Friday took a blind leap of faith. Departing from his lucrative job as president of the prominent multicultural advertising agency UniWorld, Friday devoted his professional life to the American Black Film Festival (ABFF). Recognized today as the leading film festival of its kind, ABFF remains the premiere platform that introduces filmmakers of color to the industry at large and has created opportunities for people of color outside of Hollywood’s doors by helping them find their inroad.


Having curated hundreds of hours of content, Friday developed an acute skill for identifying promising new talent. His work put a spotlight on many of today’s successful new artists, introducing them to the industry when they were unknowns. That spotlight showcased the early work of many of today’s most talented and recognizable artists, content creators, and stand-up comedians.


Friday is a successful producer of several live events, including the Pro-Hollywood BootCamp in partnership with the National Football League. He has financed numerous independent films; created & executive produced television specials – Black Movie Awards (TNT), ABFF Honors (BET) and  series – ABFF Independent and Icons, Idols & Influencers (ASPIRE); and recently produced feature documentary Storm over Brooklyn for HBO in  partnership  with  Emmy  and Oscar winning production company Lightbox.


Jeff Friday currently serves as CEO of ABFF Ventures LLC (ABFFV), a multifaceted company specializing in the production of live events, television and films focused on African American culture.


Key Questions answered by Jeff Friday:

  • When did your creative journey begin?
  • Why did you create the American Black Film Festival?
  • How did you grow and sustain the festival over 24 years?
  • Why should creatives attend ABFF/Festivals?
  • How do you manage your time and prioritize ventures?
  • What advice do you have for creatives on their journey?
  • What’s the best piece of advice you have received?
  • What is your definition of success?
  • Who inspires you?
  • What’s a habit that’s helped you on your journey?
  • What do you want your legacy to be?


Jeff Friday Discusses:

  • American Black Film Festival
  • How his childhood molded the idea and creation of ABFF
  • The need to be an active member of a community
  • Networking
  • Collaboration and Community
  • Managing time
  • Being true to yourself and your goals



Key Takeaways from Jeff Friday:


  1. Be steadfast in your mission
  2. Find a community and become an active member of giving and receiving
  3. Collaborate with the community
  4. Have a focused plan, a sense of reality, and self-check yourself
  5. Authenticity is important

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Social Media Info

Connect Online:  

Jeff Friday – www.abffventures.com  

Shereen Kassam – www.funnybrowngirl.com



Jeff Friday – @jefffriday

Shereen Kassam – @funnybrowngirl



Shereen Kassam – @funnybrowngirl





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