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McDonald’s and the American Black Film Festival Challenge Rising Filmmakers to Show Lovin’ through a National Video Competition

Award-winning filmmaker, Malcolm D. Lee (Best Man; Best Man Holiday), partners with McDonald's and the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) for McDonald's "Lovin'" Video Competition (PRNewsFoto/McDonald's USA, LLC)

Award-winning filmmaker, Malcolm D. Lee (Best Man; Best Man Holiday), partners with McDonald’s and the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) for McDonald’s “Lovin'” Video Competition (PRNewsFoto/McDonald’s USA, LLC)

OAK BROOK, IL-  McDonald’s USA and the American Black Film Festival are joining forces to launch the McDonald’s Lovin’ Video Competition. To complement the new “Lovin” campaign, up-and-coming filmmakers are challenged to create one 90-second film that brings to life McDonald’s philosophy that, “A little more lovin’ can change a lot.”

Aspiring filmmakers nationwide are encouraged to enter their best, original submissions by 11:59 p.m. Eastern March 24, 2015, for their chance to win the grand prize and earn accolades from film industry leaders. Three finalists will be selected to attend the 19th annual American Black Film Festival in New York City, June 11 -14 and have an exclusive opportunity to be mentored by critically-acclaimed film director Malcolm D. Lee (Best Man; Best Man Holiday), who will provide the finalists with invaluable film industry tips and advice.

The top three short films will premiere at the highly-anticipated festival and will be judged by a panel of industry experts. Each submission will be critiqued on creativity, implementation of concept and quality. In the end, only one finalist will take home the grand prize — a film equipment package valued at $2,500 and an opportunity to have their film featured on prominent websites, including McDonald’s 365Black.com and other media entities. More information about the competition can be found atwww.abff.com.

“We are excited to partner with McDonald’s USA on this most unique digital video contest,” said Jeff Friday, American Black Film Festival founder and chief executive officer. “The ABFF is committed to supporting emerging artists and providing trailblazing opportunities for them to gain exposure and visibility in the film and television industry.”

“I’m honored to mentor our next generation of aspiring filmmakers through ‘Lovin’ Video Competition’,” said Malcolm D. Lee.  “Many have mentored and guided me along my journey to make an impact in film, and it’s important for all of us to do our part to bring the next generation up.”

McDonald’s newest campaign reignites the spirit of “i’m lovin’ it” and will inspire everything the brand does moving forward. By focusing on the lovin’ people show each other every day, the campaign provides an opportunity to celebrate and bring more lovin’ to customers.

“McDonald’s is excited to embark on this initiative with ABFF and the filmmakers of the future from the communities we serve,” said Kristen Wells, External Communications Manager, McDonald’s USA. “We hope that the idea of sharing love throughout our communities will motivate and inspire the filmmakers as they work tirelessly to make their dreams a reality.”

The Lovin’ Video Competition and ABFF’s vision to promote diversity in the film and television industry align with McDonald’s 365Black platform — an initiative that celebrates the pride, heritage and achievements of African-Americans year round.

McDonald’s encourages those who live out lovin’ in their lives each day to follow @365Black on Twitter and join the conversation using #365LovinFilm. To learn more about the 365Black initiative, visit www.365Black.com.

To learn more about the American Black Film Festival and the Lovin’ Video Competition, visit www.abff.com. Follow @ABFF on Twitter and @AmericanBlackFilmFestival on Instagram.

“My Sweet Valentine!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

“I found Him whom my soul loveth: I held Him, and would not let Him go” {Song of Solomon 3}…  I want you to know that “My Beloved is mine, and I am His…” A love I never dreamed possible… Oh Lord, my heart belongs to you alone! Take me now and let me be the bride who will bring you great joy. Cause me each day of my life to walk so closely to you that I will experience your intimacy which will begin to change me into your blessed image forever.…. Oh when I contemplate the rich love of Jesus I am drawn to Him like iron to the magnet… I tell you, to be loved by Jesus is literally an indescribable thing.  God demonstrating His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. I don’t know about you but this text ministers powerfully to my heart. If you want a visible definition of love, look at what God did for you in Christ…  If you really want to understand love, don’t listen to love songs, or people who throw the term love around… If you want to get to the depths of what it means to love and be loved, look to the cross of Christ. The cross is the ultimate expression of God’s incomprehensible love to us… For the cross is God’s way of saying, “I love you this much,” with His arms outstretched. His final words etched on a Roman cross. They are blood red. They scream to be heard… I tell you I have been captured by love…  A love that knows no limits, no bounds, and no end… JesusMy Sweet Valentine!

You know there have been many definitions of love. There have been many people who have written books about love. There are songs about love. There are poems about love. There are discussions about love. But when you’ve said it all and you’ve read it all and you’ve sung it all, you just might wonder “What Love Got to Do with It,” because the things they talk about, sing about and write about really aren’t about love at all, but rather about affection, longing, goose-bumps types of emotional thrills. The love they talk about runs hot, it runs cold, and it runs lukewarm. It brings tears of joy, tears of depression, and screams of excitement and hollers of disappointment. The Bible however, addresses aGreater Love” that uses an entirely different term than “philo.” That term is “Agape.” The difference, Agape is a love characterized by commitment.  If you believe in Jesus Christ, don’t think of His love for you merely in terms of the love He has for the world. Think of the love that takes captive and cleaves and unites and cherishes and defends. Think of a marriage covenant between you and God in which He has sworn by His Holiness to love you with a saving, cleansing, and glorifying love. Remember His Words in Psalm 89:34 that says, “I will not violate My covenant, or alter the word that went forth from My lips.” This is what we long for, and this is what we have by faith, an experience of being loved with a love that lasts, that is not fickle, or uncertain, or capricious, but durable, constant, and stable. Not, only, a love that is extensive, but that lasts over time, all time, but also a love that is intensive. We long to be loved radically, deeply, excessively, passionately. I tell you, My Beloved is mine and I am His! Oh may God give us the power to comprehend what is the height and depth and length and breadth, and to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge that we might be filled with all the fullness of Him.

If you would allow me to make this very personal, love being the high point of everything, the fulfilling of the whole law and the number one ingredient in life {Romans chapter 13}.  I want you to know that God knew every flaw and weakness I would have and every mistake I would make when He called me into relationship with Himself. Nothing about me surprises Him. God knows and has always known everything about me. He knows what I will think, do and say every day for the rest of my life. He also knows how He will help me, teach me, correct me, encourage me, and give me grace for all my faults and failures. He is always for me and never against me, no matter what I do. God loves unconditionally, and that means He accepts us the way we are and then helps us to be all we can be. When you have someone who loves holding you, it doesn’t matter anymore what everyone else does or what the circumstances are or what the future holds. When you are in the arms of a loving God, when you have been consumed with His love, you share in His benefits. God’s love is beyond comprehension. Amazing, isn’t it? God knows us and still loves us. God knows that we are sinners, yet He forgives; we are diseased, yet He heals; we are in a pit, yet He pulls us out; we are ungrateful for His good gifts, yet He gives them anyway; and we deserve justice, yet He grants mercy. When God says I love you, He is saying that you matter to Him. You are a person of worth. You are valuable to Him. Regardless of what others think, in His eyes you are wonderful! God’s love touches every part of our life. Nothing – no calling or circumstance, no adversity or advancement, no pain or promotion, no status or station – escapes the brush strokes of God’s love. God’s love bleeds into every fabric and fiber of our lives. God has loved us with an everlasting love, and with loving-kindness He has drawn us. Indeed, we belong to Divine Love, and only God’s love is unfailing and always fully satisfying. In these last days, there has never been a time when we so desperately need to spend significant daily time contemplating the life of Jesus. “No greater love than this that a man would lay down his life for his friends” {John 15:13}. Oh, how He loves you and me! My Sweet Valentine! To the only wise God my Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen!

Single Ladies … {PUT A RING ON IT}

tribe of judah all wedding couple

Agape and Grace – Marriage God’s Way

He looked across the garden. His breath short, palms sweating, mind racing; is this the one? As the sun shines upon her face reflecting the perfecting of beauty she approaches him. They gaze into each other’s eyes, as doves look upon their love, never again to turn their gaze. Then he speaks, “This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh, she shall be called women because she was taken out of a man.” God’s plan for marriage was in scripted in the hearts of Adam and Eve as they displayed the pureness of God’s perfect plan; two hearts becoming one. The holiness of these unions with the approval of God and under an open Heaven, took place on Saturday, February 7 at Shandin Hills Golf Club where they all committed to live their lives God’s way by putting a ring on it, officiated by Minister Trey Sims.

Each couple desired a wedding of their own in order to unite themselves and children together, but couldn’t do on their own, whether it was financial issues, family or fear, the day never came until God spoke to the Visionary of Tribe of Judah World Outreach {Angela Slaughter}, and instructed the ministry to give all the couples a wedding. When the news reached the couples they were speechless, surprised and overwhelmed with less than three months to plan. So the preparation, counseling and planning begun. As the big day quickly approached, some of the original couples decided to wait while others joined in. Even two days before the wedding, one last couple was added. There was music, laughter, tears and lots of love! This was more than a one day celebration it was the beginning of the couple’s marriage and family ministry in the story of “Agape and Grace – Marriage God’s Way!

Westside Story Newspaper would like to congratulate all of the couples.  As we all know true love begins well before the wedding day, and the efforts of marriage and of love continue well beyond the ceremony’s end. A brief moment in time, a beautiful memory and the stroke of the pen are all that is required to create the legal bond of marriage, but it takes a lifetime of love, commitment, and compromise to make marriage durable and every lasting. Today you declared your commitment to each other before family and friends; your yesterdays were the path to this moment. Now may you continue your journey toward a future of togetherness, building each day in strength and unity. May you have happiness, and may you find it in making one another happy. May you always need one another, not to fill emptiness, but to help each other know your fullness. May you want one another, but not out of lack. May you embrace one another, but not encircle one another… Live well – Love fully!

-Lou Coleman