The Slate of Films in Competition Announced for the 2019 American Black Film Festival

Emerging and established filmmakers bring innovative storytelling and diverse perspective to the festival lineup

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

Los Angeles, CA, (May 10, 2019) – The 23rd Annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF) is excited to announce their distinctive 2019 lineup of narrative features, documentaries and short films in competition. Films are set to screen in Miami from June 13-15 at the Regal Cinemas South Beach and the New World Center.

Adhering to its mission of providing a platform for diverse voices in cinema, the festival is set to showcase 25+ films and web series to a record number of attendees through its narrative, documentary, web series and HBO® Short Film Competition. The slate will boast an array of genre’s surrounding the black diaspora and feature a multitude of emerging and veteran filmmakers. Each of this year’s selections tackle topical issues including, survival, violence, parenthood, health, love, forgiveness, mental illness and friendship. These stories continue to illustrate the Festival’s commitment in being the cornerstone for emerging content creators of color, as well as highlight empowering stories pertinent to today’s society.

The winners of each category will be announced during the “Best of ABFF” Awards, presented by Dream in Black | AT&T, on the evening of Saturday, June 15th at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel. The nominees for Best Director, Best Narrative Feature, Best Actor and Best Screenplay will be announced on Friday, May 17th.

The complete list of films in competition at the 23rd Annual American Black Film Festival is listed below:

The following films are the 2019 official selections in the Narrative Features category. Films in this category are eligible to be nominated for the following Jury Awards – Best Director (presented by Cadillac, prize is $5,000), Best Narrative Feature (presented by Prudential Financial, prize is $5,000), Best Actor (presented by AT&T), and Best Screenplay (prize is $2,500). In addition, each film will compete for the ABFF Audience Award (presented by BET Networks, prize is $10,000).

All films in this section will screen at the Regal Cinemas 18 Theater June 13 – June 15.


2019 | USA | 105 min
Directed & Written by: Charles Murray
Produced by: Jackie Stone
Cast: Dorian Missick, Simone Missick, Michael Beach, Terrell Tilford, Victoria Platt
Logline: After a journalists’ cousin commits suicide, he investigates what caused her to take her life and the people he believes are responsible.

ALL IN (World Premiere)

2018 | USA | 105 min
Directed by: Ibrahim Yilla
Written by: Tressa Azarel Smallwood, Iman Smallwood, Leslie Allen
Produced by: Kia Freeman, Gregory Freeman, Tressa Azarel Smallwood, Audrea Topps-Harjo
Cast: Niatia “Lil Mama” Kirkland, Elise Neal, Robert Christopher Riley, Lyric Hurd, Lena Anthony, Jim Jones, Traci Braxton
Logline: A dysfunctional single mother gets pulled back into a life of crime while trying to make a better future for her three children.

HIS, HERS & THE TRUTH (World Premiere)

2018 | USA | 90 min
Directed & Written by: Coke Daniels
Produced by: Vanzil Burke, Victor Burke, Cristina Davis, Errol Sadler
Cast: Brad James, Ashley A. Williams, Terri J. Vaughn, Dorien Wilson, Cocoa Brown Dawn Halfkenny, Duane Finley, Kaye Singleton, Edsel Love Patterson, Shacai O’Neal, Karon Riley, Erin Elizabeth Feest

Logline: Alan and Tanya have been acquaintances for years, but have yet to become romantically involved, until now.

IF NOT NOW, WHEN? (World Premiere)

2019 | USA | 126 min

Directed by: Meagan Good, Tamara Bass

Written by: Tamara Bass

Produced by: Meagan Good, Tamara Bass, Sway Calloway, LaMyia Good, Datari Turner

Cast: Meagan Good, Meagan Holder, Mekia Cox, Tamara Bass, Valarie Pettiford

Logline: A story about love, forgiveness, sisterhood and second chances.



2018 |USA | 88 min

Directed & Written by: Numa Perrier

Produced by: Numa Perrier, Winter Dunn, Dwayne Dugger II

Cast: Tiffany Tenille, Numa Perrier, Stephen Barrington, Bobby Field, Brett Gelman

Logline: In the last days of her mother’s life, 19-year old Tiffany crashes with five family members in a Las Vegas studio apartment. In order to make ends meet, her older sister, a phone sex operator, introduces her to the world of internet fetish cam girls.



2018 | USA | 106 min

Directed & Written by: Stephanie Turner

Produced by: Angie Edgar, Louise Shore, Stephanie Turner, Glynn Turman

Cast: Glynn Turman, Stephanie Turner, Darby Stanchfield, Josh Stamberg, Cleo King, Bridget Kallal, Ravi Cabot-Conyers

Logline: A single mom of two takes a job as a nanny to an 8-year old girl with spina bifida. At first an unlikely pair, the two end up helping one another overcome personal obstacles.



2019 | USA | 98 min

Directed by: Charneice Fox

Written by: Charneice Fox, Michelle Sewell

Produced by: BK Fulton, Jacquelyn E. Stone, Monty Ross, Michele Lopez, Kimberly C. Gaines, Charneice Fox

Cast: Brave Williams, Tobias Truvillion, Kym Whitley, LisaRae McCoy, Charles Malik Whitfield, Wes Felton Raheem DeVaughn, Christopher Williams

Logline: A vegan chef with a broken heart and an exhausted budget finds love face to face but opts for technology to make the final decision.



2019 | USA | 99 min

Directed & Written by: Van Elder

Produced by: Van Elder, Jela Okpara

Cast: Erica Hubbard, Torrei Hart, Dominique Perry, J. Alphonse Nicholson, Omar Gooding

Logline: A quirky and successful optometrist in the twilight of her life turns to her friends for help in finding social fulfillment, but she has ignored one particular place…Within.


2018 | USA | 85 min

Directed by: Van Maximilian Carlson

Written by: Van Maximilian Carlson, A. Shawn Austin

Produced by: A. Shawn Austin

Cast: Tayler Buck, Edi Gathegi, Ana Ortiz, Jacob Vargas and Martin Sheen

Logline: The inspiring tale of a runaway foster child who will stop at nothing to live with the only family she knows: her father… a homeless mentally ill veteran who lives on the streets of LA’s Skid Row.


SAME DIFFERENCE (World Premiere)

2019 | USA | 88 min

Directed & Written by: Derege Harding

Produced by: Datari Turner

Cast: Essence Atkins, Terrence Jenkins, Edwina Findley, Demetrius Shipp, Jr., Melvin Gregg, Ginger Gonzaga, Page Kennedy, Kandi Burruss, Affion Crockett, Lew Temple

Logline: As Tonya Keating grapples with the innate knowledge that her death is imminent, she is compelled to let go of the past and reconcile with her estranged twin sister.


2018 | USA | 82 min
Directed by: Robert Rippberger
Written by: Piper Dellums, Sha-Risse Smith
Produced by: Robert Rippberger, Ace Salvador, Hiroki Kamada, Piper Dellums, Scott M. Rosenfelt, Tobias Deml
Cast: Joie Campbell, Ricky Flowers Jr., Chelsea Williams, Danny Glover, Shaylin Becton
Logline: A teenager from the projects in Harlem aims to get into Yale, but must push against the world holding her back.


2018 | USA/MEXICO | 102 min

Directed & Written by: Jennifer Sharp

Produced by: Jennifer Sharp, Matthew Morgan

Cast: JoNell Kennedy, Numa Perrier, Jose Casasús, Jake Olson

Logline: A beautiful diverse movie about a black American in Mexico, slowly becomes a romantic comedy with an all-white cast.


The following films are the 2019 official selections in the Documentary category. Each film will compete for the Jury Award Best Documentary, presented by ABFF, prize is $2,500.

All films in this section will screen at the Regal Cinemas 18 Theater June 13 – June 15.


2018 | USA | 70 min

Directed by: Lily Keber

Produced by: Lily Keber, Stephen Rose

Principal Subject(s): Mia X, Mannie Fresh, Ausettua AmorAmenkum, Nicholas Payton, DJ Jubilee

Logline: Buckjumping follows six dancing communities as they demonstrate ownership of the streets of New Orleans, commemorate their dead, forge community and find spiritual transcendence.



2018 | USA | 83 min

Directed by: Brian Schodorf

Written by: Brian Schodorf, Afrika Porter

Produced by: Malik Yusef, Afrika Porter, Nathan Weber, Brian Schodorf, Burundi Partlow, Randy Crumpton, Malachi Gross

Principal Subject(s): Malik Yusef, Leonard GLC Harris, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Father Michael Pfleger, Arne Duncan

Logline: Where did Chicago go wrong? Chicago at the Crossroad tells the story of a city caught in the aftermath of a policy of mass displacement shaded by a long history of segregation.



2018 | USA | 87 min

Directed & Written by: Jodi Gomes

Produced by: Jodi Gomes, Anthony McLemore, Ladawn Jones, Marsha Hallager

Principal Subject(s): Dana Evans, Tamara Cotman, Christopher Waller, Diane Ravitch, Lamar Waldron
Logline: In 2009, 1,176 Atlanta teachers were investigated for test cheating; 35 were indicted, 12 went to trial and 11 were found guilty on RICO charges. The guilty, serving 30-year sentences, finally break their silence in this tell-all film.



2018 | USA | 62 min

Directed by: Eric D. Seals

Written by: Donnie Seals Jr.

Produced by: Brittany Applegate

Principal Subject(s): Daphne Maxwell Reid, Kathryn Ogletree, Clovis Semmes, Michael Wilbon, Harry Lennix

Logline: In 1968, more than 100 black Northwestern students took over the school’s Bursar’s Office for 38 hours to demand equal rights.



2019 | USA/CANADA/GERMANY | 78 min

Directed & Written by: Rodney Evans

Produced by: Rodney Evans, Rob Wunder

Principal Subject(s): Rodney Evans, John Dugdale, Kayla Hamilton and Ryan Knighton

Logline: A documentary that chronicles the creative paths of blind and visually impaired artists including a photographer, dancer, writer and the film’s director.


The following films are the 2019 official selections in the HBO® Short Film Competition, now in its 22nd year. Each film in this category will compete for the ABFF’s HBO® Short Film Award, prize is $10,000 for the winner and $5,000 for each of the finalists. The 22nd Annual HBO® Short Film Competition is on Thursday, June 13 at 6 p.m. Hosted by Bevy Smith (Page Six TV), the competition will be held in the New World Center – Performance Hall. The winner will be announced during the “Best of the ABFF” Awards Presentation on Saturday, June 15 at 9 p.m.

CAP (World Premiere)

2019 | USA | 16 min

Directed & Written by: Marshall Tyler

Produced by: Moira Griffin, Marshall Tyler

Cast: Medina Senghore, Tunde Adebimpe, Dusan Brown

Logline: 15-year-old Manny Bennitt learns the hard way the price of being cool.


2018 | USA | 13 min

Directed & Written by: Eric Pumphrey

Produced by: Angelo Pullen, Tommy Savas, Luke Baybak, Jenna Johnson, Judy Craig

Cast: Natalie Paul, Jocko Sims

Logline: Grief can be overwhelming for just us to tackle alone.


2018 | JAMAICA | 13 min

Directed by: Kia Moses, Adrian McDonald

Written by: Kia Moses

Produced by: Tashara-Lee Johnson

Cast: Rohiem Phillips, Craig Robinson, Jermaine ‘Zbek’ Nelson, Danielo Reid, Akalia Golding, Christopher McKoy

Logline: A Jamaican boy sets out on a dream, ten times his size, to fly to the moon, despite his circumstances and father’s opposition.


2018 | GHANA | 15 min

Directed & Written by: Zoey Martinson

Produced by: Kofi Owusu Afriyie, Zoey Martinson

Cast: Ziggy Netteyson, Kiki-Romi, Elizabeth Nortey

Logline: An aging fisherman goes out to sea one day and returns with a talking fish.


WEDNESDAY (World Premiere)

2018 | USA | 13 min

Directed by: Daniel Willis

Written by: Jessica D. Shields

Produced by: Melina Lizette, Mariyam Mahbub

Cast: Mychala Lee, Chene Lawson

Logline: Recently homeless and living in a car with her mother, a teenage girl commits a reckless act, desperate to rescue a vestige of their former life.


The following are the 2019 official selections in the Web Series category. Each film will compete for the jury award Best Web Series, presented by Verizon Media.

All films in this section will screen at the Regal Cinemas 18 Theater June 13 – June 15.


2018 | USA | 20 min

Directed by: Crystle Roberson

Written by: Sonhara Eastman

Produced by: Sonhara Eastman, Ronald Eastman II, Carmen K. Jones

Cast: Raney Branch, Monyetta Shaw, Ali Amin Carter, Cindy Jefferson, Nicky Buggs, Jamir Vega

Logline: Ava is a 37-year-old romance novelist who faded into obscurity after finding love-and now finds herself on the rise again after self-publishing a diary detailing her fertility woes.


KING ESTER (World Premiere)

2018 | USA | 20 min

Directed & Written by: Dui Jarrod

Produced by: Angelica Ross, Caralene Robinson, Ryan Robertson, Jon Mallow

Cast: DeJaye Joseph, Angelica Ross, Janet Hubert, Dane Edidi, Martin L. Bradford, Lindsey G. Smith, LJ Scott, Roland Lane, Omar Washington

Logline: A bold-living trans woman must decide whether to stay or leave New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina approaches.



2018 | USA | 14 min

Directed & Written by: Riley S. Wilson

Produced by: Riley S. Wilson, Lisa Cortes, Okema T. Moore, Angel Lenise

Cast: Apple Montague, Milan Williams, Charlene Montague, Gabrielle Eitienne

Logline: For Apple, a 9-year-old Harlem girl, a new school year brings new enemies, new special abilities and a new neighborhood in the midst of natural and supernatural conflict.



2018 | USA | 20 min

Directed & Written by: Alexander Etseyatse

Produced by: Ebony Lewis, Lily Johnson

Cast: Alexander Etseyatse, Dwinsley Homere, Keithen Hergott, Murray Adams

Logline: A mentally unstable young man struggles to win his old life back.



2018 | USA | 13 min

Directed by: Winter Dunn

Written by: Moni Oyedepo

Produced by: Arielle Noel, Moni Oyedepo

Cast: Moni Oyedepo, Chinedu Unaka, Adriyan Rae, Ego Nwodim

Logline: Platonic is the story of two friends who overlook their “mild” attraction to each other for the good of the friendship.



2018 | NIGERIA | 12 min

Directed & Written by: Victor Okoye Frank (Victor O’Frank)

Produced by: Mina Sanosi

Cast: Emmanuel Ogonna, Abdulazeem Dulo Harris, Andrea-Rachel Parker

Logline: Emeka is new to the big apple, does he have what it takes to survive the big city?

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, AspireTV, Crown Royal, Facebook, Gentleman Jack, Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority, OWN, Spotify, truTV, UMC, UrbanFlix, Verizon Media, Warner Bros. (Supporting Sponsors); ABC, AIDS Health Foundation, Arrington & Phillip’s – Attorneys at Law, Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Film & Entertainment, Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein Kohner & Gellman Law Firm, Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, IFC Networks, 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