The ABFF begins as the Acapulco Black Film Festival. Many prominent artists attended including John Singleton, Morgan Freeman, Regina King, and Robert Townsend; Halle Berry receives the ABFF Rising Star Award.
Producer Will Packer screens his first feature film, TROIS, and wins the Audience Award. Packer has amassed more than $1 billion combined at the Box Office
Anthony Anderson (Black-ish) is presented with the ABFF Rising Star Award; Kerry Washington attends the festival to promote her first leading role in the feature film LIFT.
Kevin Hart performs in the ABFF Emerging Comic Showcase.
Ryan Coogler wins the HBO Short Film Competition. He goes on to write and direct highly-acclaimed films, Fruitvale Station, Creed, and the global blockbuster Black Panther.
ABFF Honors has its inaugural television broadcast on BET. The festival celebrates its 20th anniversary in Miami Beach with 10,000 attendees. ABFF Alum Issa Rae premiers hit series Insecure on HBO.
Photos and artifacts from the festival are installed in National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, DC as part of its permanent collection. The company launches its European spinoff, ABFF London.
The company partnered with tech start up Streamland USA to form, ABFF PLAY, a free VOD streaming service.