[Malcolm D. Lee (L) and McDonald’s Franchisee Gale Hill (R) awarding competition winner Tyshun Wardlaw (middle)]
Malcolm D. Lee (L) & McDonald’s Franchisee Gale Hill (R) awarding competition winner Tyshun Wardlaw (middle)
McDonald’s USA and the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) teamed up for the second annual McDonald’s “My Community” Video Competition. Rising filmmakers were tasked with creating one 90-second film demonstrating and celebrating the diverse communities they represent. This year’s competition winner was Tyshun Wardlaw of Milwaukee for her submission, “Be the Seed.”

Wardlaw, along with two other finalists, Travis Dent of Baton Rouge, and Marshalle Montgomery of Detroit, were chosen to attend the 20th annual American Black Film Festival in Miami, June 15-19. Director Malcolm D. Lee served as a mentor and equipped the ambitious filmmakers with priceless industry advice and guidance.

The top three short videos premiered during the platinum anniversary celebration of the American Black Film Festival. Each video submission was carefully evaluated on creativity and execution of the concept by an esteemed panel of industry experts. In the end, Wardlaw’s short video came out on top, and she was awarded the grand prize of a film equipment package valued at $2,500. In addition to having her video featured on McDonald’s 365Black.com, Wardlaw will also be featured in an upcoming episode of ASPiRE TV’s original series ABFF Independent. Hosted by hip hop artist and producer David Banner, the fifth season of ABFF Independent will air Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET, beginning August 4.

L to R: Malcolm D. Lee, finalist Travis Dent, winner Tyshun Wardlaw, finalist Marshalle Montgomery, ABFF Founder & CEO Jeff Friday
L to R: Malcolm D. Lee, finalist Travis Dent, winner Tyshun Wardlaw, finalist Marshalle Montgomery, ABFF Founder & CEO Jeff Friday

“The McDonald’s ‘My Community’ Video Competition was a unique opportunity for up-and-coming filmmakers to illustrate their amazing skills while also showcasing their community. Partnering with McDonald’s for a second year to provide this wonderful chance of a lifetime, especially as ABFF celebrates our 20th anniversary, was nothing short of amazing,” said Jeff Friday, ABFF’s founder and CEO.

The “My Community” Video Competition theme was inspired by McDonald’s 365Black platform mantra, “Deeply Rooted in Your Community.” The video competition and ABFF’s vision to promote diversity in the film and television industry align with the McDonald’s 365Black platform — an initiative that celebrates the pride, heritage and achievements of African-Americans year round.

“I’m happy that a brand like McDonald’s had the unique chance to once again partner with ABFF to provide aspiring filmmakers the opportunity to display their love and admiration for their communities in a short film form,” said Williams Rhodes, McDonald’s U.S. marketing director. “It is our hope that everyone, particularly filmmakers, will be inspired to explore and take more interest in their diverse communities.”

McDonald’s encourages those who are also deeply rooted in their community to follow @365Black on Twitter and join the conversation using #365BlackFilm. To learn more about the 365Black initiative and view a the finalists’ videos, be sure to visit www.365Black.com.

To learn more about the special 20th American Black Film Festival and the “My Community” Video Competition, visit www.abff.com. Also, be sure to follow @ABFF on Twitter and @AmericanBlackFilmFestival on Instagram.