American Black Film Festival Culminates 25th Anniversary with
The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) today announced the winners of the competitive film selections and talent pipeline programs during the Best of the ABFF Awards ceremony. Hosted by comedian, actress and author Amanda Seales (Insecure), the ceremony was presented virtually for the second year on ABFF’s custom-designed streaming platform ABFF PLAY. ABFF winners receive a combined total cash prize of over $55,000 along with two actors cast in an upcoming original series. Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry served as this year’s ABFF ambassador.
Known for showcasing Black talent and discovering new voices, the month-long festival featured an unprecedented number of independent films -- 102 -- representing the best in Black cinema. The festival’s international film entries hailed from 32 countries, including Angola, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Ghana, Germany, Haiti, Namibia, Portugal, Saint Croix, South Africa and the United Kingdom. This year’s jury president was producer and ABFF alum Will Packer (Girl’s Trip, Ride Along).
Complementing ABFF’s wide range of films, the festival’s lineup of events included spotlight screenings, networking events and talks featuring Debra Martin Chase, Morris Chestnut, Colman Domingo, Meagan Good, Regina King, MC Lyte, Niecy Nash, Michael Rainey Jr., Larenz Tate, Flex Alexander and Shanice Wilson. A festival highlight was a one-on-one conversation with Halle Berry where she discussed her career and directorial debut Bruised. All events were presented free of charge reaching a global audience from 95 countries around the world during the festival which ran November 3-28.
Along with ABFF Ventures Founder and CEO Jeff Friday, featured presenters at the award ceremony were film and television industry executives representing ABFF’s impressive roster of partners and sponsors including: Karen Horne SVP, Equity + Inclusion, WarnerMedia; Sirius XM “Bevelations” host Bevy Smith on behalf of HBO; Juanita Slappy, Head of Multicultural Marketing, Cadillac; Dupe Bosu, Vice President, Strategic Communications (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion), NBCUniversal; Keith Le Goy, Chairman, Distribution & Networks, Sony Pictures Entertainment; Yahoo National Reporter and Fellow, Garin Flowers.
The 2021 Jury Award winners are:
HBO Short Film Award, presented by HBO
Prize: $10,000 for winner, $5,000 each for four finalists
When the Sun Sets, written and directed by Phumi Morare
Jury Award - Best Director, presented by Cadillac
Trees of Peace, directed by Alanna Brown
John Singleton Award - Best First Feature, presented by Netflix
Trees of Peace, directed by Alanna Brown
Jury Award - Best Narrative Feature, presented by Sony Pictures Entertainment
Trees of Peace, produced by Ron Ray, Barry Levine, Mike Bundlie, Brian Baniqued, Jeff Spiegel, Vicky Petela and Alanna Brown
Jury Award - Best Documentary Feature, presented by Yahoo
The Neutral Ground, directed by CJ Hunt, produced by Darcy McKinnon
Jury Award - Best Web Series, presented by Comcast NBCUniversal
True Story: I Feel, directed and written by Matthew Law
The 2021 Talent Pipeline Program winners are:
WarnerMedia Access Writers Competition – Drama
Soul City Texas, Tony Clomax
WarnerMedia Access Writers Competition – Comedy
Crazy in Love, Marcus Stricklin
ALLBLK’s Shoot Your Shot Casting Call
Prize: Role in upcoming original series, West Philly, Baby
Virginia Watson and Harrison White
The 2021 Fan Favorites as determined by the ABFF’s virtual audience are:
Fan Favorite Narrative Feature, B-Boy Blues
Fan Favorite Documentary, 100 Years From Mississippi
Fan Favorite Web Series, Last Bodega in Brooklyn
Fan Favorite ABFF Pride, Everyday Black Matter
Fan Favorite World Showcase, Coffee
Fan Favorite New Voices, Pickney
“We wrapped our 25th year on an incredibly exhilarating high as we honored some of the most talented and promising filmmakers who are sharing authentic stories about experiences from a Black and Brown perspective,” said Jeff Friday, Founder and CEO, ABFF Ventures LLC. “Showcasing this content and uplifting Black creatives is what ABFF is all about. As we close out this landmark year, fraught with uncertainty, with a highly successful virtual celebration we are honored and encouraged. We extend profound thanks to our corporate partners and supporters, our worldwide audience and celebrity participants and look forward to continuing the ABFF legacy in Miami in 2022.”
ABFF sponsors to date include WarnerMedia and HBO® (Founding); Cadillac, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, Amazon Studios (Presenting); Comcast NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, American Airlines, AT&T, Meta and IMDb (Premier); ALLBLK, HBOMax, City of Miami Beach, Netflix, Prudential Financial, TBS, Yahoo, Starz, Warner Bros. Pictures, Disney Television Studios, National Geographic, and Variety (Official); Accenture, AspireTV, Motion Picture Association (MPA), Morgan Stanley, OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network), and Sephora (Supporting). Media partners include BIN: Black Information Network, TheGrio and Rolling Out.
For festival information, visit and follow @ABFF on Twitter and @AmericanBlackFilmFestival on Instagram and Facebook. Join in on the conversation by using #ABFF.
PRESS RELEASE: ABFF PRESS
AMERICAN BLACK FILM FESTIVAL TO OPEN ITS 25th YEAR WITH WARNER BROS. PICTURES’ KING RICHARD
UMC and Partners in Rhyme (MC Lyte & Bentley Kyle Evans) have teamed up for a national casting call for a leading role in the new UMC series.
6:00 pm EST: Immediately followed by IG Live Takeover with MC Lyte.
This year the festival will host its Legendary All-White Party on opening night. Join us in your White Attire. Celebrity drop-ins include MC Lyte to announce the winner of the Partners in Rhyme National Casting Call.
Music by: DJ Kiss & M.O.S.
Join Zoom Meeting: https://abff.zoom.us/j/81480038171
Meeting ID: 814 8003 8171
Saturday, August 22
A conversation with Kenya Barris on his career as writer/producer and creator of the hit television series black-ish, which generated two spin-offs, grown-ish and mixed-ish, and the Netflix original series #blackAF, his life behind and now in front of the camera, as well as his new projects.
Moderator: Angela Rye, Host, On 1 podcast
Sunday, August 23
Join NBC and Universal Television’s senior executives for an illuminating conversation as they walk aspiring show creators through the progression of a TV series from both the network and studio perspectives. Get an inside look at how these separate entities work together from development to series pick-up and what decision-makers are looking for when considering a project. This crash course on the pitch-to-production cycle will also touch on how to transform a story for episodic life after the festival circuit.
Comedian/Actor Yvonne Orji (Insecure) hosts a funny and insightful discussion with Lil Rel Howery (LIVE in Crenshaw, HBO Comedy Special) and four of the former winners of the Comedy Wings Competition.
Monday, August 24
AspireTV presents the short film Endangered with a talk-back discussion featuring the writer, director, producer and lead actors of this relevant, powerful and provocative film.
Nakia Stephens, Writer
Shanay Campbell, Producer
Kiana Woodson, Director
Abdul Quddus, Lead Actor
Bianca Bethune, Lead Actor
Senior Black executives from across the WarnerMedia brands discuss their careers and trajectories in entertainment. While people of color experience significant adversity in this industry, many have and continue to climb the corporate entertainment ladder to break glass ceilings for future executives and creators.
Courtney Armstrong, EVP, Worldwide Business Affairs, Warner Bros. Pictures
Kalia Booker, VP, Drama Programming, HBO
Kevin Fortson, EVP, Production, Warner Horizon Television
Natasha Foster-Owens, VP, Production, HBO
Niija Kuykendall, EVP, Film Production Warner Bros. Pictures
Michael Quigley, EVP, Content Acquisitions for TNT, TBS, truTV, HBO and HBO Max
Moderator: Abby Phillip, Political Correspondent, CNN
Tuesday August 25th
A candid conversation with content creators who have current and upcoming projects at Amazon. Each will highlight their Prime Video titles as well as their respective experiences across the entertainment industry and the importance of diverse and inclusive representation.
Little Marvin (THEM) Creator, Writer and Executive Producer
Lena Waithe (THEM) Executive Producer
Tracy Oliver (Untitled Tracy Oliver Project) Creator, Writer and Executive Producer
Barry Jenkins (The Underground Railroad) Writer, Director, Executive Producer
Tayarisha Poe (Selah and the Spades) Writer, Director
Eugene Ashe (Sylvie’s Love) Writer, Director
Moderator: Latasha Gillespie, Head of Amazon Studios Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Wednesday, August 26
Romany Falco, Night School
Carlos Watson, Host of “The Carlos Watson Show”
Lamorne Morris, Actor, Woke, New Girl
Moderator: Ramcess Jean-Louis, Global Head, Diversity & Inclusion, Verizon Media
Thursday, August 27
Moderator: Delvin Joyce, Managing Director of the South Florida Financial Group, Prudential Financial
Friday, August 28
Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson – Executive Producer
Michael Rainey Jr. – Actor/ portrays Tariq St. Patrick
Naturi Naughton – Actor/ portrays Tasha St. Patrick
Mary J. Blige – Actor/ portrays Monet Stewart Tejada
Cliff “Method Man” Smith – Actor/ portrays Davis MacLean
Moderator: Yohana Desta, Editor, Vanity Fair
Saturday, August 29
Sunday, August 30
Garcelle Beauvais from “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”
Gizelle Bryant from “The Real Housewives of Potomac”
Kandi Burruss from “The Real Housewives of Atlanta”
Dr. Simone Whitmore from “Married to Medicine Atlanta”
Salena Rochester, Director, Current Production, Bravo
Moderator: Alicia Quarles, Senior News correspondent for DailyMailTV
Best Director – Telva Mcgruder, Cadillac; Lee Daniels, Director (The United States vs. Billie Holliday)
Best U.S. Narrative – Salene Hitchcock-Gear, Prudential Financial and La La Anthony, Actor (The Chi)
Best Screenplay – Sinqua Walls, Actor (BET’s American Soul)
John Singleton Award for Best First Feature – Spike Lee, Director (Da 5 Bloods) and Jeff & Nicole Friday (ABFF)
Best International Narrative – Keith La Goy, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Boris Kodjoe & Nicole Ari Parker
HBO Short Film Award – Bevy Smith, Television Personality (Bevelations sirusXM)
Best Web Series – Keesha Boyd, Comcast and Logan Browning, Actor (Dear White People)
Best Documentary – Latasha Gillespie Amazon Studios and Laz Alonso, Actor (The Boys)
EVENTS PRIOR TO #ABFF EVENTS, PANELS, AND SCREENINGS
Join The Journey With Ms. Tre, as she explores the fashion, beauty, arts and entertainment industry..
BACK TO THE STREETS
BECOMING MICHELLE OBAMA
BET HIP HOP AWARDS
Black Owned Business
CAN YOU FEEL IT
Classy But Sassy Boutique
Ding Dong Ravers
DJ PRIVATE RYAN
GAMES PEOPLE PLAY
HBO Short Film
HIP HOP AWARDS
Jazz In The Gardens
Jo Mersa Marley
Labor Day Weekend
LIL TRAP MUSEUM
Megan Thee Stallion
PROTECT OR NEGLECT
SOUL TRAIN AWARDS
STELLAR GOSPEL MUSIC AWARDS
TRENDING WITH MS TRE
URABN ONE HONORS