Jeff Friday is a true “change agent” and among the most innovative entrepreneurs in the entertainment industry today.
In creating Film Life, Inc., Friday channeled his passion for cinema and discomfort with the underrepresentation of people of color in the film and television industry into a multifaceted entertainment company, as focused on advocating for diversity as its “bottom line.” Through Friday’s vision and perseverance, Film Life has become a highly respected organization, generating a tremendous amount of goodwill in Hollywood and the independent Black film community.
While best known for producing groundbreaking events and television like the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) and Black Movie Awards (BMA), Friday regularly provides strategic advisory services to a variety of multinational companies in entertainment and media.
Friday entered the film business in 1996 when he became president of UniWorld Films, a division of UniWorld Group, Inc. His success there put him at the forefront of the independent Black film movement and fueled his commitment to transform the business of Black cinema. Under his direction, the company founded the Acapulco Black Film Festival and he began to work with studios marketing movies, including DreamWorks’ Amistad, to the African American audience.
In 2001, Friday founded Film Life, Inc. One year later he acquired the rights to the Acapulco Black Film Festival, moved it stateside and renamed it the American Black Film Festival (ABFF). With diversity and social responsibility at its core, the festival supports aspiring actors, filmmakers and industry executives in unprecedented ways. Since its inception, the ABFF has showcased more than 800 films, rewarding and redefining artistic excellence in independent filmmaking. Now in its 17th year, it is widely considered the premier international festival for African American and urban content.
Friday is the Executive Producer of ABFF Independent, a two-hour weekly television program featuring the best feature-length, short and documentary films made by emerging Black artists. Hosted by actor Omari Hardwick, ABFF Independent launched in June 2012 on Magic Johnson’s new cable network, ASPIRE.
Further expanding his efforts to foster creative and business opportunities for independent filmmakers, in 2012 Friday developed and produced the NFL Pro-Hollywood Boot Camp, an intensive film education workshop for current and retired players from the National Football League who aspire to post-sports careers in the motion picture industry.
While Friday has been a fervent supporter of independent artists, he has also established platforms to recognize accomplished filmmakers. He created and was Executive Producer of the Black Movie Awards (BMA), a star-studded awards ceremony celebrating the achievement of Black artists within the Hollywood film industry. The BMA, hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, made its national television debut on Turner Network Television in October 2005. In 2006 Tyler Perry was the host of the BMA.
Cited for his experience and knowledge of the film industry, Jeff Friday is highly sought after as a public speaker. He regularly speaks to industry executives as well as young people, including students ranging from Howard to Harvard universities, about trends in movie marketing, film distribution and the history of Black cinema. Principled and uncompromising, Friday devotes time to nurturing the careers of individuals in front of and behind the camera. He recently established the Film Life Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering diversity within the motion picture industry. Its mission is to inspire and support women and multicultural artists pursuing careers in film through providing scholarships and other educational resources.
A division of Film Life, Brands & Personalities was launched in 2012. It serves to pair top-tier corporations with celebrities for product endorsement, promotional appearances and other online/offline marketing programs. Verizon, Cadillac, Macy’s, American Airlines and Gold Peak Tea are among the brands that have taken advantage of this resource.
In 2013, Friday, in partnership with the City of Miami Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), will inaugurate The Miami Film Life Center, a South Florida-based community arts and professional training institute.
Jeff Friday was presented with an Outstanding New Jerseyans Award by Kean University in 2003. He was recently named one of Black Enterprise magazine’s “Top 50 Hollywood Power Brokers” and Ebony magazine’s “150 Most Influential Blacks in America.”
Friday’s professional efforts have been covered in numerous publications, including Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Crain’s, Essence, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Uptown magazine and VIBE. He has been profiled on WNBC-TV in New York and featured in print advertising campaigns for such brands as Walmart, Allstate and Bleu de Chanel.
Jeff Friday boasts more than twenty-five years of success as a product marketer, entertainment executive and entrepreneur. A cum laude graduate of Howard University, with a degree in finance, he received his MBA in marketing from New York University’s Leonard Stern School of Business.
Friday resides in New Jersey with his wife, Nicole, and children.
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