The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) is an annual event dedicated to showcasing quality film and television content by and about people of African descent. Founded by Jeff Friday, it supports emerging artists to foster a wider range of images, stories and storytellers represented in the entertainment industry. The ABFF is committed to the belief that Black artists deserve the same opportunities as their mainstream counterparts, and is recognized as a vital pipeline for Black talent in front of and behind the camera. Annually held during the month of June, the festival is comprised of five action-packed days of films, engaging panels, networking events and more…from the star-studded opening night screening to the inspirational closing filmmaker ceremony.
Since its inception in1997, the festival has been held in several locations — from Acapulco, Mexico, to Miami, Florida. The festival is today the nation’s largest gathering of Black film and TV enthusiasts, with approximately 10,000 attendees. The 21st annual ABFF was held in Miami Beach, June 14-18, 2017. The Founding and Presenting Sponsor is HBO®.
A Platform for Excellence
The ABFF encourages and rewards artistic excellence, providing a platform for more than 1,000 narrative feature films, documentaries, shorts and Web originals. Alumni success stories range from veteran producer Will Packer (Ride Along, Think Like A Man) to young auteur Ryan Coogler (Creed, Fruitvale Station) – testimony to the festival’s mission to introduce and connect talented newcomers to the industry at large.
The festival traditionally opens with a Hollywood movie premiere, followed by independent film screenings. In addition, each year the ABFF presents over 30 exciting events and networking activities designed to educate, nurture career development and inspire festival attendees. In 2015, the ABFF expanded its program to showcase more television-related content. In 2016, the focus was on new ways to spotlight female filmmakers and in 2017, it was to educate festivalgoers on career opportunities within the business, as well as innovations in entertainment technology. This year, the festival is pleased to introduce The Careers in Entertainment Center, offering master classes, tech talks, industry panels, celebrity talk series events, entertainment and talent discovery programs co-programmed with leading media companies (HBO, Comcast NBCUniversal, Turner, TV One).
An Audience of Creative Minds, Tastemakers & Game Changers
The ABFF supports artists in unprecedented ways, and has fostered a tremendous amount of goodwill in the Hollywood community. Past participants who have shown their support include: Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, Halle Berry, Morgan Freeman, Taraji P. Henson, Terrence Howard, Robert Townsend, Keenen Ivory Wayans, John Singleton, Anthony Anderson, Idris Elba, Morris Chestnut, Nia Long, Regina King, Common, Regina Hall and Kevin Hart. The festival annually attracts a core audience of artists, entertainment executives and upscale film enthusiasts from around the world.
The ABFF generates more than a billion media impressions each year. It has been featured in mainstream media as well as African American, entertainment and trade outlets including The New York Times, People, Ebony, Essence, Black Enterprise, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and AOL HuffPost.
Partners are essential to the long-term success of the ABFF and its endeavor to contribute to the growth of a more diverse America. Top-tier corporations engage in partnerships with the ABFF to promote their brands, services and multicultural initiatives to the festival’s highly desirable audience. It also receives support from television broadcasters, film studios and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) – all working to identify and cultivate relationships with diverse talent. The ABFF is a property of ABFF Ventures, a multifaceted entertainment company specializing in the production of live events, television and digital content targeted to upscale African American audiences.