2020 PANELS AND LIVE EVENTS

FRIDAY, AUGUST 21

5:00 p.m. EST (Live Event)
UMC SHOOT YOUR SHOT NATIONAL CASTING CALL

(Sponsored by UMC)

UMC and Partners in Rhyme (MC Lyte & Bentley Kyle Evans) have teamed up for a national casting call for a leading role in the new UMC series.

Panelists:

  • Brett Dismuke, Chief Content Officer
  • Nikki Love, VP, Production & Development
  • MC Lyte, Co-creator of Partners in Rhyme
  • Bentley Kyle Evans, Co-creator of Partners in Rhyme
  • Jeff Friday, Founder & CEO, ABFF Ventures

Moderator: Leah Daniels-Butler, Casting Director

8:00 p.m. EST
HBO® SHORT FILM COMPETITION

(Sponsored by HBO®)

This year’s festival opens with the 23rd annual HBO Short Film Competition, the most prestigious of its kind for emerging writers and directors. Former finalists include Christine Swanson, (The First Ladies of Gospel: Clark Sisters) Steven Caple, Jr (Creed II) and Ryan Coogler (Black Panther). Five films will compete for the 2020 HBO Short Film Award:

  • A Rodeo Film, Director/Writer: Darius Dawson
  • A Storybook Ending, Director/Writer: Lanre Olabisi
  • Black Boy Joy, Director: Martina Mossell Lee; Writer: Michelle Sam
  • Dolapo Is Fine, Director: Ethosheia Hylton; Writers: Joan Iyiola, Chibundu Onuzo)
  • The Cypher, Director: Letia Solomon; Writer: Wes Akwuobi

Hosted by: Bevy Smith, BEVELATIONS, SiriusXM

10 p.m. – Midnight EST (Live Event)
THE LEGENDARY WHITE PARTY

(Co-sponsored by UMC and Moet Hennessy)

This year the festival will host its Legendary All-White Party on opening night. Join us in your White Attire. Celebrity drop-ins include MC Lyte to announce the winner of the Partners in Rhyme National Casting Call.

Music by: DJ Kiss & M.O.S.

 

SATURDAY, AUGUST 22

2:00 p.m. EST
GREATER MIAMI CVB FILMIMG LOCATIONS TOUR

(Sponsored by Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau – GMCVB)

Join the GMCVB and FilMiami on a virtual familiarization tour showcasing the incredible diversity of neighborhoods in Greater Miami and the Beaches.

Hosted by: Sope Aluko, Actor, Black Panther

3:00 p.m. EST (Live Event)
HOT IN HOLLYWOOD: GEN Z

Enjoy a spirited conversation with young actors making their mark in Hollywood.

Panelists:

  • LexI Underwood, Little Fires Everywhere
  • Miles Brown, Black-ish

Moderator: Gia Peppers, Host, BET’s Black Coffee

5:00 p.m. EST
TIME: A DISCUSSION WITH GARRETT BRADLEY AND FOX RICH

(Sponsored by Amazon Studios)

A discussion with director Garrett Bradley and Fox Rich about their upcoming film TIME.

Moderator: Roxane Gay, The New York Times best-selling author

8:00 p.m. EST
A CONVERSATION WITH KENYA BARRIS

A conversation with Kenya Barris on his career as writer/producer and creator of the hit television series black-ish, which generated two spin-offs, grown-ish and mixed-ish, and the Netflix original series #blackAF, his life behind and now in front of the camera, as well as his new projects.

Moderator: Angela Rye, Host, On 1 podcast

 

SUNDAY, AUGUST 23

2:00 p.m. EST (Live Event)
ADAPTING YOUR CONTENT FOR TV: NAVIGATING THE NETWORK & STUDIO PROCESS

(Sponsored by NBCUniversal)

Join NBC and Universal Television’s senior executives for an illuminating conversation as they walk aspiring show creators through the progression of a TV series from both the network and studio perspectives. Get an inside look at how these separate entities work together from development to series pick-up and what decision-makers are looking for when considering a project. This crash course on the pitch-to-production cycle will also touch on how to transform a story for episodic life after the festival circuit.

Panelists:

  • Bruce Evans, EVP, Current Programming, NBC
  • Brittany Little, VP, Drama Development, Universal Television
  • Michael Swanson, SVP, Production, Universal Television

Moderator: Jacqueline Coley, Editor, Rotten Tomatoes

5:00 p.m. EST
GABRIELLE UNION: MINDING HER BUSINESS

(Sponsored by Morgan Stanley)

Actor, author and entrepreneur, Gabrielle Union talks about her career, while balancing motherhood and growing her various multi-faceted business enterprises.

Moderator: Raymone Jackson, Executive Director, National Diversity Officer for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

8:00 p.m. EST
ABFF COMEDY WINGS PRESENTS: COMICS ON COMEDY

(Sponsored by HBO®)

Comedian/Actor Yvonne Orji (Insecure) hosts a funny and insightful discussion with Lil Rel Howery (LIVE in Crenshaw, HBO Comedy Special) and four of the former winners of the Comedy Wings Competition.

Panelists:

  • Zainab Johnson, 2013 Comedy Wings Winner
  • Amberia Allen, 2014 Comedy Wings Winner
  • Blaq Ron, 2018 Comedy Wings Winner
  • Ty Davis, 2019 Comedy Wings Winner
 

MONDAY, AUGUST 24

2:00 p.m. EST
ENDANGERED (Spotlight Screening)

(Sponsored by AspireTV)

AspireTV presents the short film Endangered with a talk-back discussion featuring the writer, director, producer and lead actors of this relevant, powerful and provocative film.

Panelists:

  • Nakia Stephens, Writer
  • Shanay Campbell, Producer
  • Kiana Woodson, Director
  • Abdul Quddus, Lead Actor
  • Biana Bethune, Lead Actor

5:00 p.m. EST
THE HOLLYWOOD EXECUTIVE EXPERIENCE THROUGH THE BLACK LENS

(Sponsored by WarnerMedia)

Senior Black executives from across the WarnerMedia brands discuss their careers and trajectories in entertainment. While people of color experience significant adversity in this industry, many have and continue to climb the corporate entertainment ladder to break glass ceilings for future executives and creators.

Panelists:

  • Courtney Armstrong, EVP, Worldwide Business Affairs, Warner Bros. Pictures
  • Kalia Booker, VP, Drama Programming, HBO
  • Kevin Fortson, EVP, Production, Warner Horizon Television
  • Natasha Foster-Owens, VP, Production, HBO
  • Niija Kuykendall, EVP, Film Production Warner Bros. Pictures
  • Michael Quigley, EVP, Content Acquisitions for TNT, TBS, truTV, HBO and HBO Max

Moderator: Abby Phillip, Political Correspondent, CNN

8:00 p.m. EST
A CONVERSATION WITH MARY J. BLIGE

(Sponsored by Cadillac)

Journalist Jemele Hill (The Atlantic, Unbothered) interviews Mary J. Blige, the 2020 ABFF Ambassador, about her career in music and successful transition to film and television.

 

TUESDAY, AUGUST 25

2:00 p.m. EST
HOT AT AMAZON STUDIOS

(Sponsored by Amazon Studios & Amazon Prime)

A candid conversation with content creators who have current and upcoming projects at Amazon. Each will highlight their Prime Video titles as well as their respective experiences across the entertainment industry and the importance of diverse and inclusive representation.

Panelists:

  • Little Marvin (THEM) Creator, Writer and Executive Producer
  • Lena Waithe (THEM) Executive Producer
  • Tracy Oliver (Untitled Tracy Oliver Project) Creator, Writer and Executive Producer
  • Barry Jenkins (The Underground Railroad) Writer, Director, Executive Producer
  • Tayarisha Poe (Selah and the Spades) Writer, Director
  • Eugene Ashe (Sylvie’s Love) Writer, Director

Moderator: Latasha Gillespie, Head of Amazon Studios Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

5:00 p.m. EST (Live Event)
NYU INFORMATION SESSION: CAREERS IN HOLLYWOOD AND BEYOND

(Sponsored by New York University)

During this panel, you will learn about undergraduate and graduate opportunities in film, digital media, and the entertainment industry. Within our faculty and alumni network, NYU boasts some of the most renowned filmmakers, actors, artists, and industry leaders. We invite you to join us in this virtual session to learn more about earning a degree, taking a class, and upcoming community programming. Our global network includes sites in the United States as well as Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and Latin America.

Moderator: Karen Jackson-Weaver, Ph.D.

8:00 p.m. EST
ABFF FIRST LOOK: CANDYMAN CLIPS & CONVERSATION WITH NIA DACOSTA

(Sponsored by Universal Pictures)

A conversation with director/writer Nia DaCosta, talking all things CANDYMAN as well as clips of select scenes from the upcoming October release.

Moderator: Jacqueline Coley, Editor, Rotten Tomatoes

 

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 26

2:00 p.m. EST
CREATE (BRING YOUR IDEAS TO FRUITION!), PROTECT (KEEP YOUR IDEAS SAFE!) AND MONETIZE (MAKE THAT MONEY!)

(Sponsored by Motion Picture Association (MPA))

UNDERSTANDING COPYRIGHT’S ROLE IN DIVERSE STORYTELLING. Copyright is the legal foundation of the creative economy serving not just the interests of entertainment companies, but also individuals – whether you are an established creator or someone just breaking into the industry. This panel will explore how copyright law can serve as an instrument of empowerment, independence and expression for members of historically disadvantaged communities, and discuss the challenges and opportunities faced by diverse creators seeking to tell their stories and protect their work in this fast changing business.

Panelists:

  • Karyn Temple, Senior Executive Vice President and Global General Counsel of the Motion Picture Association (former U.S. Register of Copyrights and Director of the U.S. Copyrights Office)
  • Lateef Mtima, Founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Intellectual Property and Social Justice and professor at the Howard University School of Law
  • Kim Tignor, Executive Director of the Institute for Intellectual Property and Social Justice
  • Steven Jumper, Co-founder and Managing Partner, Ghost Note Agency

Moderator: Terrica Carrington, Vice President, Copyright Alliance

5:00 p.m. EST (Live Event)
REAL TALK WITH VERIZON MEDIA: RACE IN MEDIA

(Sponsored by Verizon Media)

Panelists discuss the history of race and representation in media across the last 100 years and their role in the industry as well as offer advice for the next generation.

  • Norman Lear, Writer / Producer
  • Lamorne Morris, Actor

Moderator: Ramcess Jean-Louis, Global Head, Diversity & Inclusion, Verizon Media

7:00 p.m. EST (Live Event)
MIX IT UP WITH MOET HENNESSY

(Sponsored by Moet Hennessy)

Join Moët Hennessy National Brand Ambassador Cameron George to craft this year’s ABFF cocktails at home, with a special guest appearance to create a favorite movie meal pairing with a champagne toast!

8:00 p.m. EST (Live Event)
SUN OF THE SOUTH (Spotlight Screening)

Directed by Barry Alexander Brown with executive produced by Spike Lee, the film is Set in the summer of 1961, Son of the South tells the true story of Bob Zellner, grandson of an Alabama Klansman, who went against his family as the civil rights movement began to heat up in the deep South. Living in Montgomery, he witnessed first-hand the heroism of John Lewis, Martin Luther King, Jr and Rosa Parks who said to him when he was wavering, “Something bad is going to happen right in front of you someday and you’re going to have to choose which side you’re on – not choosing is a choice.” Made by a fellow Southerner, this is an honest and inspiring account of what it takes to do the right thing.

Screening immediately followed by IG Live Talkback with Berry Alexander Brown @americanblackfilmfestival

 

THURSDAY, AUGUST 27

2:00 p.m. EST
CONVERSATION & FINANCIAL FACTS WITH SALLI RICHARDSON-WHITFIELD

(Sponsored by Prudential Financial)

A discussion with actor and producer/director, Salli Richardson-Whitfield about her long-standing career and approach towards financial planning.

Moderator: Delvin Joyce, Managing Director of the South Florida Financial Group, Prudential Financial

8:00 p.m. EST (Live Event)
THE POWER OF THE FEMALE VOTE

(Sponsored by Amazon Studios)

 

FRIDAY, AUGUST 28

2:00 p.m. EST
IN CONTROL: BLACK FEMALE PERSPECTIVES ON DIRECTING AND STORYTELLING

(Sponsored by Facebook)

Daughter of Eve presents a conversation with three dynamic Black female directors on feature and documentary filmmaking offering a window into their creative journeys and processes.

Panelists:

  • Gina Prince- Bythewood, Director, The Old Guard
  • Christine Swanson, Director, The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel
  • Jacqueline Olive, Director, Always in Season

Moderator: Terri Prettyman Bowles and Michele Prettyman Ph.D., Media Consultants, Daughters of Eve

5:00 p.m. EST
STARZ presents POWER BOOK II: GHOST

(Sponsored by STARZ)

Join the cast and creators to discuss the newest chapter in the POWER universe.

Panelists:

  • Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson – Executive Producer
  • Michael Rainey Jr. – Actor/ portrays Tariq St. Patrick
  • Naturi Naughton – Actor/ portrays Tasha St. Patrick
  • Mary J. Blige – Actor/ portrays Monet Stewart Tejada
  • Cliff “Method Man” Smith – Actor/ portrays Davis MacLean

Moderator: Yohana Desta, Editor, Vanity Fair

8:00 p.m. EST
YUSUF HAWKINS: STORM OVER BROOKLYN (Spotlight Screening)

(Sponsored by HBO® and HBO MAX)

Directed by Muta’Ali Muhammad (Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee) the film Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn tells the story of Yusuf Hawkins, a Black teenager who was murdered in 1989 by a group of young white men in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. Yusuf Hawkins’ death and the official response to it sparked outrage in New York, unleashing a torrent of racial tension and spurring tireless civil rights activism that exposed deep racial prejudices and inequities which continue to plague the country today. Over 30 years later, the film gathers candid interviews with Yusuf’s family and friends, well-known community leaders, and those closest to the case — as well as archival footage, witness statements and more — to reflect on the tragedy and subsequent fight for justice that inspired and divided New York City.

Screening Immediately followed by IG Live Talkback with Director Muta’ Alli Muhammed @americanblackfilmfestival

 

SATURDAY, AUGUST 29

2:00 p.m. EST (Live Event)
PEACOCK PRESENTS: BLACK VOICES

(Sponsored by Peacock)

A special clips and conversation with black creators and talent that highlights relevant content that reflects Black Experiences in America. Original content like Malcolm Jenkins, “Black Boys”, “The Public” starring Michael K. Williams and Gabrielle Union to “The Amber Ruffin Show”. A honest and real conversation with PEACOCK talent about reshaping the narrative, celebrating and showcasing Black voices.

Panelists:

  • Malcolm Jenkins, Executive Producer, Black Boys
  • Vic Mensa, Recording Artist/Activist, Black Boys
  • John B. King, Former U.S. Secretary of Education for President Barack Obama

Moderator: Howard Bryant, Author, Journalists, ESPN and NPR

5:00 p.m. EST
NETFLIX PRESENTS: THE 40-YEAR-OLD VERSION

(Sponsored by Netflix)

A candid, thought provoking and hilarious conversation with the writer, producer, lead actor and directorial debut from Radha Blank, the highly anticipated THE 40-YEAR-OLD VERSION – produced by Lena Waithe.

Moderator: Tre’vell Anderson, Writer

8:00 p.m. EST
WOKE PANEL

(Sponsored by Sony Pictures Entertainment)

The creators, executive producers, directors and star of the brand-new series, WOKE, have an in-depth discussion about the show premiering September 9th.

Panelists:

  • Lamorne Morris, Actor
  • Keith Knight, Creator, Executive Producer
  • Marshall Todd, Creator, Executive Producer
  • Maurice “Mo” Marble, Executive Producer, Director

Moderator: Carl Jones, Writer/producer

 

SUNDAY, AUGUST 30

2:00 p.m. EST (Live Event)
EMPOWERING AFRO-LATINO TALENT

(Sponsored by Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Showcase of Sony Pictures new Afro-Colombian Show and the role of Afro-Latinos in media.

Panelists:

  • Ana Bond, Sony Pictures, SVP & MD International Production

Moderator: Brett King, Sony Pictures Entertainment

5:00 p.m. EST (Live Event)
AMPLIFY OUR VOICES: SHARING BLACK STORIES

(Sponsored by Comcast NBCUniversal)

Bravo Media presents an intimate conversation in which our panelists discuss their personal experiences and perspectives around diversity both in front of and behind the camera. To further the dialogue regarding unscripted television, they will exchange thoughts on the importance of Black producers ensuring that our stories aren’t overlooked and we are represented equally in today’s diverse culture landscape.

Panelists:

  • Garcelle Beauvais from “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”
  • Gizelle Bryant from “The Real Housewives of Potomac”
  • Kandi Burruss from “The Real Housewives of Atlanta”
  • Dr. Simone Whitmore from “Married to Medicine Atlanta”
  • Salena Rochester, Director, Current Production, Bravo

Moderator: Alicia Quarles, Senior News correspondent for DailyMailTV

8:00 p.m. EST
BEST OF THE AMERICAN BLACK FILM FESTIVAL AWARDS HOSTED BY BORIS KODJOE & NICOLE ARI PARKER

(Sponsored by IMDb)

The culminating event of the festival where the competitive film award winners are announced.

Presenters:

  • Best Director – Telva Mcgruder, Cadillac; Lee Daniels, Director (The United States vs. Billie Holliday)
  • Best U.S. Narrative – Salene Hitchcock-Gear, Prudential Financial and La La Anthony, Actor (The Chi)
  • Best Screenplay – Sinqua Walls, Actor (BET’s American Soul)
  • John Singleton Award for Best First Feature – Spike Lee, Director (Da 5 Bloods) and Jeff & Nicole Friday (ABFF)
  • Best International Narrative – Keith La Goy, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Boris Kodjoe & Nicole Ari Parker
  • HBO Short Film Award – Bevy Smith, Television Personality (Bevelations sirusXM)
  • Best Web Series – Keesha Boyd, Comcast and Logan Browning, Actor (Dear White People)
  • Best Documentary – Latasha Gillespie Amazon Studios and Laz Alonso, Actor (The Boys)

9:30 p.m. EST (Live Event)
BEST OF THE ABFF AWARDS AFTER PARTY

(Co-sponsored by Universal Production Music and Moet Hennessy)

The festival’s closing night party and celebration of this year’s award winner. Wear Black.

Music by: DJ Standout