STACEY ABRAMS, KENYA BARRIS, MARY J. BLIGE, CURTIS ‘50 CENT’ JACKSON, BARRY JENKINS, GABRIELLE UNION, LENA WAITHE AND MORE TOPLINE PROGRAMMING SLATE FOR 2020 AMERICAN BLACK FILM FESTIVAL
The first virtual edition of the American Black Film Festival
(ABFF), now in its 24th year, will feature a robust slate of speakers including Stacey Abrams,
Kenya Barris, Mary J. Blige, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Barry Jenkins, Gabrielle Union and Lena
Waithe, as well as panels ranging from the business of Hollywood to spotlights on new films and
television series. The festival will offer a mix of live and on demand content from August 21st to 30th at abff.com.
Opening night will feature the HBO Short Film Competition, a platform which has been
responsible for showcasing the early work of such industry notables as Ryan Coogler (Black
Panther), Ben Watkins (Hand of God) and Stephen Caple Jr. (Creed II) followed by a virtual
version of ABFF’s legendary “White Party.” It will close with “The Best of American Black Film
Festival Awards” Ceremony, hosted by Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker and simulcast on
IMDb.com, followed by a post awards celebration. Presenters include: Lee Daniels (The United
States vs. Billie Holiday), Laz Alonso (The Boys), Bevy Smith (BEVELATIONS) Logan Browning
(Dear White People) and Spike Lee (Da 5 Bloods).
Jemele Hill will host a Cadillac sponsored one-on-one conversation with Blige, who is this year’s
festival ambassador. In addition to “Conversations With” Blige and Abrams, Angela Rye will
moderate a discussion with Barris. Evening programming will also include “Comics on Comedy”
hosted by Yvonne Orji (Insecure) featuring Lil Rel Howery (Get Out), a screening of Yusuf
Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn, presented by HBO, a first look at the highly anticipated
Universal Pictures film, Candyman with director/co-writer Nia DaCosta, and a panel on the new
animated series Woke from Sony Pictures Entertainment. Additional highlights include a
conversation with directors Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Old Guard), Christine Swanson (The
Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel) and Jacqueline Olive (Always in Season). Amazon
Studios presents a Hot at Amazon panel featuring Barry Jenkins, Lena Waithe and Tracy Oliver;
a Garrett Bradley Time conversation as well as a discussion with Stacy Abrams. STARZ
presents Power Book II: Ghost panel with Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Michael Rainey Jr., Naturi
Naughton, Mary J. Blige and Cliff “Method Man” Smith. Netflix brings a discussion with The
40-Year-Old Version writer/director Radha Blank.
There will be opportunities to meet the filmmakers from the competitive categories, panel
discussions on “The Hollywood Executive Experience Through The Black Lens,“ ”Navigating the
Network and Studio Process,” and ”Black Female Perspectives on Directing and Storytelling”
among others. The 90 films featured during the program will be available on demand for the
duration of the festival. The schedule is available here.
“We are gratified by the outpouring of industry support for this year’s ABFF, creating an
opportunity for us to reach a global audience with a broad range of compelling content both live
and on demand,” said Jeff Friday, founder and CEO ABFF Ventures. “Although we plan to be
back in Miami for 2021, this year’s virtual festival enables us to engage with an audience that
might never be able to attend a destination event. Thanks to our sponsors and everyone who
participated, we are able to deliver provocative conversation and compelling entertainment
when our community most needs it.”
Sponsors to date include WarnerMedia, HBO® (Founding), Greater Miami Convention &
Visitors Bureau (Presenting Sponsors); Comcast NBCUniversal, Amazon Studios (Premier
Sponsors); Cadillac, Sony Pictures Entertainment, IMDb, Netflix, Motion Picture Association
(MPA), Jeff Friday Media, Prudential Financial, Starz, a Lionsgate company UMC, Verizon
Media (Official Sponsors); AspireTV, Facebook, Morgan Stanley, and Universal Production
Music (Supporting Sponsors); Blackfilm.com, Film Independent, and Variety (Marketing
For more information on ABFF and up-to-date news, go to abff.com and follow @ABFF on
Twitter and @AmericanBlackFilmFestival on Instagram and Facebook. Join in on the
conversation by using #ABFF20 and #ABFF.
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