Creators Summit, Films, Conversations, Panels and Red Carpet Events Made the 2017 American Black Film Festival the Most Memorable Year Ever

Miami, FL (June 18, 2017) – The 2017 American Black Film Festival was held in Miami this past week from June 14-18. More than 7,000 attendees flooded the streets of Miami Beach and attended an array of screenings, celebrity conversations, panels and special events to celebrate the festival’s 21st year.

Hollywood’s elite such as Regina Hall, Terrance Howard, John Singleton, Issa Rae, Kofi Sirobe, Lance Gross, NeYo, Boris Kodjoe and more walked red carpets, participated on panels and attended events throughout the five days.

Other highlights from the week included:

  • ABFF Announced Partnership with Lightbox to create diversity in Documentary Filmmaking. For more information, go to
  • OWN premiered “Queen Sugar” Season 2, episode 1 with the entire cast present
  • HBO Celebrated 20 Year Partnership with ABFF and the 20th anniversary of the HBO Short Film Competition
  • HBO premiered its new docuseries, The Defiant Ones, along with the season 2 premiere of “Insecure,” followed by a discussion with the cast to ABFF
  • FX brought the cast and director John Singleton to ABFF to premiere first episode of “Snowfall”
  • Universal Pictures and MPAA premiered “Girl’s Trip” at ABFF as the Opening Night film
  • ABFF welcomed first time ABFF sponsors: Google, A+E Networks, Comcast Spotlight, FX, Hilton, Shea Moisture, OWN, and Verizon
  • Cast of FOX’s “Star” performed at ABFF Filmmakers Awards Presentation
  • In 21 years of ABFF, I can truly say that this year we received an overwhelming amount of support from the studios, networks and our corporate partners. The programming was rich in content and it was so uplifting to see Black writers, directors, showrunners and actors, with major credits able to showcase their work with the full support of the associated studio or network. It is a very optimistic time to be a content creator, said Jeff Friday, ABFF Founder.

On the last day of the festival, we take time to celebrate all the 2017 filmmakers during the awards presentation. Here are our 2017 American Black Film Festival Winners:


2017 HBO SHORT FILM AWARD, presented by HBO (Prize: $10,000)
“Amelia’s Closet” written and directed by Halima Lucas

2017 STAR PROJECT WINNER, presented by NBC (Prize: $1,000 grant and casting meetings)
Duain Richmond

2017 TV ONE SCREENPLAY COMPETITION WINNER (Prize: $5,000 and a production deal)
“Down for Whatever” – a drama written by Tim Folsome

2017 TURNER TV WRITING CONTEST WINNERS, presented by Turner (Prize: $500 and executive meetings)
Darrin Dortch “Short Changed” (Comedy)
Derege Harding “Fulfillment” (Drama)

2017 BEST WEB ORIGINAL WINNER, presented by Comcast Xfinity (Prize: $2,500)
created by Rhavynn Drummer and Dui Jarrod

2017 GRAND JURY AWARD BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE, presented by Prudential (Prize: $5,000)
“Ambition’s Debt”
directed by Devin E. Haqq

2017 GRAND JURY AWARD BEST DIRECTOR, presented by Cadillac (Prize: $25,000)
Eden Marryshow

2017 COMEDY WINGS WINNER, presented by HBO (Prize: $5,000)

NBC TV HOSTING WORKSHOP WINNERS, presented by NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment (Prize: Red Carpet hosting opportunities and meetings with talent executives from NBC, E! and Bravo)
Andrea Laing
Megan Thomas

Join the conversation on social media by logging on to ABFF’s multiple social media platforms:

Sponsors for the 2017 American Black Film Festival are HBO® (Founding and Presenting Sponsor); Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (Host and Presenting Sponsor); TV One, Cadillac, Comcast NBCUniversal (Presenting Sponsors);Prudential Financial, Turner, BET (Premier Sponsors); American Airlines, ASPiRE, Codeblack Films, Comcast Spotlight, Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Hilton, Shea Moisture, Verizon (Official Sponsors); and A+E Networks, Facebook, FX Networks, Google, Laugh Out Loud!, McDonald’s, Miami Beach Visitors and Convention Authority, Planned Parenthood of America, OWN, and Time Warner (Supporting Sponsors); AIDS Health Foundation, Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Film & Entertainment, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), Fox Searchlight Pictures, JARO Media Services, Lightbox, Motion Picture Editors Guild, SAGIndie, Streampix, Urban Movie Channel-UMC, Walter Kaitz Foundation (Industry Partners).

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. It supports emerging artists to foster a wider range of images, stories and storytellers represented in the entertainment industry. The festival is committed to the belief that Black artists and content creators deserve the same opportunities as their mainstream counterparts. ABFF founder Jeff Friday conceived the festival in 1997 as a vehicle to promote diversity in the motion picture industry, and strengthen the Black filmmaking community through resource sharing, education, artistic collaboration and career development. Today, the ABFF is recognized as the preeminent pipeline to new Black talent, both in front of and behind the camera, and is regarded as one of the leading film festivals in the world. 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.


Michelle Huff Elliott
Strategic Heights Media