The American Black Film Festival Announces the 2019 Emerging Directors and Music in Motion Showcase Selections

The annual festival takes place June 12-16 in Miami Beach

Los Angeles, CA, (May 20, 2019) – The Emerging Directors and Music in Motion Showcase selections have been announced for the 23rd Annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF), taking place June 12-16 in Miami. These programs were launched with the aim of increasing diverse representation in the entertainment industry and are set to screen from June 13-15 at the Regal Cinemas South Beach.

The Emerging Directors Showcase will highlight the next generation of storytellers and the work of aspiring directors of color from around the world. These original voices have developed narrative feature films, that are compelling in content and reflect today’s social issues.

The Music in Motion Showcase will feature short-form content that combine artistic musical expression and poignant visuals, such as music videos, spoken word, mini documentaries, and clever narratives to highlight the black experience.

The following films are the 2019 official selections in the Emerging Directors Showcase.

(*) denotes films that will screen at the Regal Cinemas, Theater 18, during the ABFF SOCIAL IMPACT SHOWCASE “FATHERHOOD: THE FOUNDATION OF THE BLACK FAMILY” event.


2018 | USA | 16 min

Directed & Written by: Martina Lee

Produced by: Robbin Rae / Yana Bille

Cast: Stevie Johnson, Even Alex, Hilty Bowen, Rebecca King Crews, Tiwana Floyd

Logline: An Afrocentric podcast host goes on a quest to find his idol Harambe Cornell, but is stuck taking care of his 9-year-old son who wants to participate in the Mr. Rainbow’s Contest dressed as a blueberry.

GUMMI BEAR (World Premiere)

2019 | USA | 18 min

Directed & Written by: RJ Dawson

Produced by: Rebecca Shuhan Lou

Cast: Amari O’Neal, Darielle Dorsey, Candice Renee, Javon Terrell

Logline: A brother and sister learn just how difficult it can be to be kids on an average day of life.

HEAVENLY (World Premiere)

2019 | USA | 13 min

Directed & Written by: Ya’Ke Smith

Produced by: Ya’Ke Smith, Ralph Lopez, Marcos Luis, Nina Noble, Felicia D. Henderson

Cast: Ashlee Smallwood, Billie D. Merritt, Alan Trong, Mikala Gibson, Shelton Jolivette

Logline: Crystal, a former ballet dancer, returns home after being sex-trafficked and struggles to shake the physical and psychological trauma she endured while in “the life.”


2019 | USA | 11 min

Directed & Written by: Rodney Stringfellow

Produced by: Anil Dhokai

Cast: Alfonso Freeman, Kennedy Johnson

Logline: On her 10th birthday, a little girl is scared that her father will make her undergo the same violent rite of passage her older brothers went through.

MEREBA (World Premiere)

2019 | USA | 7 min

Directed by: Dawit N.M.

Written by: Dawit N.M., Marian Mereba

Produced by: Alexandre Pagot, Salim El Arja, Jordan Cardos, Benjamin Narich, Melanie Parisi, Theo Lemonnier

Cast: Marian Mereba, Jalan Durimel, Jibril Durimel, Zalma Bour, Jade Frank, Sam Hoffman, Mallory Leisten, Solomon S. Yenesu

Logline: The emotions of life framed together—the jungle breaks us, but also makes us.


2019 | USA | 13 min

Directed & Written by: Jewel McPherson

Produced by: Arthur Cohen, Ryan Patrick, Ruth Ferrera, Shamier Anderson, Lisa Stepp

Cast: Shamier Anderson, Marley Garner

Logline: In the near future a grieving African American father fights to save the life of his young zombie daughter.


2019 | USA/IVORY COAST | 12 min

Directed & Written by: Ellie Foumbi

Produced by: Ellie Foumbi, Joseph Mastantuono

Cast: Souléymane Sy Savané, Dawuda Jabbie, Fatouma Jabbie, Maba Ba

Logline: A young African immigrant’s struggles to adjust to life in America push him towards an existential crisis.


2018 | USA | 19 min

Directed & Written by: Simone Lyles

Produced by: Simone Lyles, Patrick Boyd

Cast: Christina Childress, Maxine Goynes, Hugo Pierre Martin

Logline: In 1982, Kora’s self-help conversion tapes only seem to push her closer to the truth about her feelings for her best friend.


2018 | USA | 18 min

Directed & Written by: Maxwell Addae

Produced by: Mis Loe

Cast: Thomas Daniel Smith, Theodore Mark Martinez

Logline: A young man attends his new nephew’s Ghanaian baby-naming ceremony with a plan to steal the money collected to run away and keep a secret hidden.


2018 | USA | 12 min

Directed & Written by: Keith Powell

Produced by: Jeremy O’Keefe, Graham Patrick Martin, Keith Powell, Matt Miller

Cast: Bashir Salahuddin, Ana Ortiz, Wallace Langham, Vladimir Caamano

Logline: A building manager dealing with his own grief must help his tenant perform a messy task at her daughter’s quinceañera.

SOULS (World Premiere)

2018 | USA | 15 min

Directed & Written by: Malakai

Produced by: Anna Hashmi, Stephen Love, Marquita Bradley

Cast: Tabitha Browne, Johan Beckles, Nia Chanel

Logline: Unable to deal with her grandmother’s declining mental and physical health, a young girl uses her cardboard spaceship to escape her reality before the matriarch of her family dies.


2018 | USA | 17 min

Directed by: Nikiyatu

Written by: Nikyatu, Robin Shanea Williams

Produced by: Nikkia Moulterie

Cast: Natalie Paul

Logline: Valentina, a day-walking black vampire protected from the sun by her melanin, is forced to restrain her bloodlust to regain custody of her estranged daughters.


2018 | UK | 17 min

Directed & Written by: Annetta Laufer

Produced by: Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor

Cast: Naomi Ackie, Anthony Welsh, Sharlene Whyte

Logline: A young Caribbean woman struggles to adapt to her new life in the revered “Mother Country” of 1960s Britain.


2018 | USA | 11 min

Directed & Written by: Kristian King

Produced by: Chester Algernal, Ritu Bansal, Ria Tobaccowala

Cast: Veanna Black, Jasmyn Coleman, Michael Mario Good, Greta Glenn

Logline: Lisa has been blessed with a gifted child, but must grapple with the costs of utilizing this miracle to keep a roof over her family’s heads.


2018 |USA | 14 min

Directed & Written by: Sanicole (Sandrel Young)

Produced by: Natasha Parker, Lil Rel Howery, Kevin Fredericks, Sanicole, Richard Thomas

Cast: Zuri McPhearson, Tiffany Renee Johnson, Josiah Fredericks, Deron Powell, Messiah Equiano, David Leonard

Logline: An incredibly gifted little girl uses her telepathic powers to bring her wayward father home.


2018 | ITALY | 14 min

Directed by: Nadia Kibout

Written by: Nadia Kibout, Ersilia Cacace

Produced by: Alessandra Lo Savio, Giorgia Lo Savio (Jinga Pictures)

Cast: Nadia Kibout, Paola Lavini, Matteo Carlomagno, Damian Lo Pinto

Logline: How can seemingly different cultures co-exist? Nadia, a Muslim woman, and Imma, an Italian Catholic woman, meet each other and share an unexpected day.

WORLDS FROM HOME* (World Premiere)

2019 | USA | 14 min

Directed & Written by: Delmar Washington

Produced by: Delmar Washington, Lynette Coll, Natasha Ward

Cast: Affion Crockett, Eli Rubio, Lynette Coll, Jason R. Moore

Logline: After their RV breaks down in the Mojave Desert, a father and his young son experience a series of challenges while rebuilding their relationship, including an encounter with a mysterious creature.

ZAHRA AND THE OIL MAN (World Premiere)

2018 | USA | 20 min

Directed by: Yucef Mayes

Written by: Yucef Mayes, Aaron Melvin

Produced by: Yucef Mayes, Aaron Melvin

Cast: Megan Hackett, Brian Dives, LJ Nelson, Saladine Stafford

Logline: Zahra, the daughter of a Muslim street merchant, fights to save her father’s struggling business in hopes of changing the trajectory of her family’s financial future.

The following films are the 2019 Music in Motion Showcase selections and will screen on Thursday, June 13 at 10 p.m. at Regal Cinemas:


2018 | USA | 7 min

Directed & Written by: Opiyo Okeyo

Produced by: Opiyo Okeyo, David Glines

Cast: Tony Allen

Logline: Drum icon Tony Allen reveals how he created Africa’s biggest music genre.

BLACK GIRL POEM (World Premiere)

2019 | USA | 2 min

Directed & Written by: Daryl Paris Bright

Produced by: Daryl Paris Bright, Ariel Zucker (CNT Productions)

Cast: Daryl Paris Bright, Amber Jones, Claudia Logan

Logline: In Black Girl Poem, black women take a surrealist approach in confronting the power dynamic of sexual harassment within the African American community.


2018 | USA | 10 min

Directed & Written by: Gynai Kristol

Produced by: Bruce Fields

Cast: Gynai Kristol, Donnay Ragland, Al-Shabazz Jabateh

Logline: G finds herself caught up with someone unworthy of her time, but finally gains a sense of self-worth allowing her to entertain the right guy for her. But just because she moves on doesn’t mean her old friend will.

LOVE CONQUERS ALL (World Premiere)

2018 | USA | 5 min

Directed by: Mr. Boomtown

Written by: Farrah Parker, Ramon Montgomery

Produced by: Anthony Hamilton, Farrah Parker, Ramon Montgomery

Cast: Ezra Wright, Jakira Mouzon, Jina Smith, Greg Paroff, Kenneth Raphael, Keith Way

Logline: Grammy Award Winner Anthony Hamilton presents Love Conquers All, a short film that addresses the social injustices that plague our nation.

MAKEITTAKEIT (World Premiere)

2018 | USA | 3 min

Directed by: Justin Rhodes, Kory Williams

Written & Produced by: Justin Rhodes

Cast: J. Rhodes

Logline: 2019 officially marks 400 years since the first slaves landed in America. J. Rhodes was tasked with breaking down these 400 years into a 3-minute, 23-second lyric-based visual.

MENTAL EXORCISM (World Premiere)

2018 | USA | 4 min

Directed by: John “Dr Teeth” Tucker

Written by: Brad Scarface Jordan

Produced by: John “Dr Teeth” Tucker

Cast: Brad “Scarface” Jordan

Logline: In the gripping music video, MTV & BET acclaimed video director John “Dr Teeth” Tucker and legendary rap artist Scarface engage a never-ending social juxtaposition: citizen vs cop.

For a full listing of panels and screenings coming to the 2019 American Black Film Festival, please continue to go to the website and also download the American Black Film Festival app TODAY on Apple and Google Play for Festival updates.

ABFF remains committed to introducing emerging content creators of African descent to the industry at large and is recognized as one of the leading film festivals in the world. Passes are on sale at, and offer five (5) different levels of access to Festival events. Registration ends May 22nd for discounted rates and questions regarding registration may be directed to

Sponsors of the 2019 American Black Film Festival are HBO® (Founding and Presenting Sponsor); BET Networks, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB), Comcast NBCUniversal, Cadillac (Presenting Sponsors); Dream in Black | AT&T, Capital One Spark Business, Hilton, Prudential Financial, WarnerMedia (Premier Sponsors); AMC Theatres, American Airlines, Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Netflix, Sony, TV One (Official Sponsors); Accenture, Aspire, Crown Royal, Gentleman Jack, Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority, OWN, Spotify, truTV, UMC – Urban Movie Channel, Verizon Media, Warner Bros. (Supporting Sponsors); ABC, Arrington & Phillips LLC., Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Film & Entertainment, Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein Kohner & Gellman Law Firm, Franklin Kurnit Klein & Selz PC, IFC, SAGIndie (Industry Partners) and Black Enterprise,, Invest Atlanta (Media Partners).

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The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) is an annual event dedicated to empowering black artists and showcasing quality film and television content by and about people of African descent. Committed to the belief that diverse artists deserve the same opportunities as their mainstream counterparts, ABFF founder Jeff Friday conceived the festival in 1997 as a vehicle to strengthen the black filmmaking community by encouraging resource sharing, education and artistic collaboration. He ultimately envisioned it as a cornerstone of diversity in Hollywood. ABFF is the pre-eminent pipeline for black artists in front of and behind the camera and has significantly expanded the range of talent working in entertainment. For more than two decades the festival has been a platform for emerging black artists — premiering the early work and showcasing the talent of many of today’s most successful actors, producers, writers, directors and stand-up comedians. As “the nation’s largest gathering of black film and television enthusiasts” the festival attracts a broad audience of A-list talent, emerging artists, upscale consumers and industry stakeholders. Approximately 7,000 to 10,000 people travel to Miami Beach each year for the event. The five-day festival opens with the premiere of an upcoming Hollywood release followed by independent film screenings, master classes, panels, celebrity talks, live entertainment, and a variety of networking and hospitality events.


Strategic Heights Media
Michelle Huff Elliott