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  • Writer's pictureCarl Agard

Young King Premieres at American Black Film Festival, Lead Actor Vincent Washington Wins Best Actor Award

The feature film YOUNG KING, directed by Bryant T. Griffin and produced by Selena Leoni, made its world premiere Saturday (June 15) at the prestigious American Black Film Festival (ABFF). The film, which stars Vincent Washington, Tarra Riggs, Kirby Griffin, Vaughn Wilkinson, and James Arthur Sims, captivated audiences with its raw and intimate portrayal of a veteran's struggle to reintegrate into civilian life after serving in the Iraq War.

In a remarkable achievement, Vincent Washington was honored with the Jury Award for Best Actor at the festival. His compelling performance as Diondre Howell, a man battling the invisible scars of war while trying to protect his family, was met with widespread acclaim.

YOUNG KING is an intimate portrait of Diondre Howell, an African American man grappling with the challenges of mental health and the stigmatization it carries within his community. The film delves into complex themes of mental health, toxic masculinity, the impact of war, and the influence of religion, providing a multifaceted look at Black life in America.

Director Bryant T. Griffin shared his thoughts on the film: "YOUNG KING is my love letter to North Carolina and showcases Black life fully realized with all of our dimensions, depth, and moments. I sincerely want to thank ABFF and others that showcase films from marginalized communities, giving us an opportunity to be heard."

Producer Selena Leoni expressed her gratitude: "It was an incredible honor to premiere YOUNG KING at the American Black Film Festival and to experience the film alongside a live audience for the first time. We were deeply touched by the audience's overwhelmingly positive reaction and their heartfelt connection to the film. We extend our deepest gratitude to our exceptional cast and crew, as well as the supportive community that made this film possible."

Audience reactions from the ABFF premiere have been overwhelmingly positive. The screening was a full house, with additional seats added to accommodate the enthusiastic crowd. Viewers praised the film's emotional depth and Washington's standout performance, emphasizing the importance of the story being told.

The cast, including Vincent Washington, Tarra Riggs, Kirby Griffin, and Vaughn Wilkinson, along with producer Selena Leoni and director Bryant T. Griffin, were all present at the screening and participated in a Q&A session. They engaged with the audience and discussed the film's themes and production.

YOUNG KING was filmed on location in Charlotte, NC, and is produced by 1B Production and Little Paws Pictures.


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