The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) Develops an Array of Talent Pipeline Programs in Partnership with HBO®, Comcast NBCUniversal, Turner and TV One



New York, New York (December 20, 2017) – The 22nd annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF) returns to Miami from June 13-17, 2018. ABFF has a rich history of prestigious talent pipeline programs designed to identify, showcase and introduce talented artists, including directors, actors, writers and other content creators to the industry at large. These unique programs are partnered with major entertainment media companies such as HBO, Comcast NBCUniversal, Turner, TV One and more and provide industry awareness and cash prizes, along with career-enhancing opportunities within mainstream Hollywood.

Born from ABFF founder Jeff Friday’s conviction that Black artists deserve the same opportunities as their mainstream counterparts, the talent pipeline programs act as a valuable conduit between Hollywood and emerging talent including Ryan Coogler (Black Panther, Fruitvale Station, Creed), Stephen Caple, Jr. (The Land, Creed 2), Clement Virgo (Greenleaf), Omari Hardwick (Power, Being Mary Jane), Emayatze Corinealdi (Roots, Miles Ahead, Ballers), Keronda Kiki McKnight (Bad Dad Rehab), Ben Watkins (Hand of God) and Saladin K. Patterson (The Big Bang Theory) are among the festival’s beneficiaries of these unique opportunities.

Comcast NBCUniversal is partnering once again with the American Black Film Festival on the NBCUniversal Hosting Workshop, which is designed to help emerging TV hosts sharpen their skills, and identify dynamic personalities ready for on-air opportunities.

Approximately twenty five (25) candidates are selected to participate in a three day workshop. Two promising hosts are selected to attend the festival and gain hands-on experience conducting red-carpet interviews live from the 2018 American Black Film Festival in Miami.

The 6th annual ABFF Comedy Wings Competition, sponsored by HBO, is a national search to identify people with a natural ability to be funny and have the chops to become outstanding comedic talent. The ABFF Comedy Wings Competition was created to showcase talented, yet undiscovered comedians and introduce them to the industry at large.

Semi-finalists are selected from the pool of entries to perform at a renowned Los Angeles comedy club and prove themselves funny enough to secure a position as a finalist. Up to five finalists will be flown to the 2018 ABFF in June to perform before a panel of esteemed judges, where one will be crowned the winner and receive a $5,000 cash prize along with the opportunity to meet with an HBO comedy executive.

Now in its 21st year, the HBO Short Film Competition is regarded as one of the most prestigious short film showcases in the country. Each year five filmmakers (writers and/or directors of African descent) are selected as finalists to receive a trip to the ABFF in Miami, FL (inclusive of airfare and hotel accommodations) to screen their film during the festival. One of the five films is selected at the festival to receive the HBO® Short Film Award and a cash prize of $10,000.

Turner Broadcasting has partnered with ABFF for a second year, seeking new writing talent through the ABFF Turner TV Writing Contest. Two winners are selected in the genres of Comedy and Drama, with each winner will receiving a cash prize and the opportunity to meet with the original programming development teams at Turner’s TBS and TNT Networks.

The ever-popular TV One Screenplay Competition searches for a feature film writer with a contemporary story, focused on the American black cultural experience that has wide audience appeal. TV One selects three (3) finalists to attend the ABFF in Miami (inclusive of airfare and hotel accommodations). One winner is selected and announced at the ABFF Awards Presentation during the festival. The winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize and will have an opportunity for their film to be produced and air on TV One, the following year.

For complete submission details and to review all eligibility requirements for the ABFF Talent Pipeline Programs go to

Festival passes are on sale now at, offering three different levels of access to festival events. Questions regarding registration should be directed to


Sponsors of the 2018 American Black Film Festival are HBO® (Founding and Presenting Sponsor); Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (Host and Presenting Sponsor); TV One (Presenting Sponsor); Comcast NBCUniversal (Presenting Sponsor); Turner (Premier Sponsor); American Airlines (Official Sponsor) and Walter Kaitz Foundation (Industry Partner).

To apply for media credentials, please go to

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. 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. For more than two decades, the ABFF has been the standard-bearer of excellence in independent Black cinema, having premiered the works and supported the careers of many of today’s most successful artists, including Ryan Coogler (Black Panther), Anthony Anderson (Blackish), Will Packer (Girls Trip), Issa Rae (Insecure), Omari Hardwick (Power) and Raoul Peck (I Am Not Your Negro). Today, it is the preeminent pipeline for Black talent, in front of and behind the camera, significantly expanding the range of talent in the entertainment industry at large. The ABFF is a property of ABFF Ventures LLC, a multifaceted entertainment company specializing in the production of live events, television and digital content, targeted to upscale African American audiences. The company is a joint venture between Film Life Inc. and Black Enterprise, two prominent media and event companies, each with legacies of showcasing the best of African American culture and achievement.


Strategic Heights Media
Michelle Huff Elliott