22nd Annual

American Black Film Festival

June 13, 2018 to June 17, 2018

Add to Watchlist Qualify this Project
Film Market
Submit Online
c/o ABFF Ventures
New York NY 10016
Phone: 212 886 9581

CLOSED FOR THE SEASON • Information may be outdated. Add this event to your Watch List and set a Remind-Me if you want to be notified when the next Call For Entries is posted.

Narrative Features
Live Action or Animation
These are nonfictional motion pictures intended to document some aspect of reality, or maintaining a historical record.
Web Series
Entrant must submit two original episodes of a Web series for consideration.
HBO Short Film Competiton
The HBO Short Film Competition is regarded as one of the most prestigious short film showcases in the country. Each year five filmmakers are selected to screen their film at the American Black Film Festival in Miami, where one winner will be selected to receive the HBO Short Film Award and cash prize of $10,000.
Smartphone Movies
This category is specifically for movies shot on iPhone, Android or tablets. Title card must indicate "Smart Phone Original."
World Showcase
A non-competitive screening section for narrative features, documentaries, web series and shorts across all genres. Projects submitted to any of the competitive sections will be considered for the World Showcase section should they not be accepted to compete.

Note: Projects that have had three (3) or more previous festival screenings should submit directly to World Showcase in lieu of the competitive sections.

Submissions Criteria:

* Writer, director or producer must be a person of African descent

* Entrants must be 18 years of age or older.

* Competition is open to U.S. and international entries.

* Must be in the English language or contain English-language subtitles.

* Films must have commenced principal photography by no later than January 1, 2017.

* Run Times: please follow the same run times for each the following sections:

Narrative Features


Short Films

Web Series

Note: Narrative features and documentaries that have had three (3) or more previous festival screenings should submit to World Showcase in lieu of the competitive sections.


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 and multicultural communities. It supports emerging artists to foster a wider range of images, stories and storytellers represented in the entertainment industry.

Each year the ABFF commissions several screening committees to evaluate the year’s film submissions based on the criteria below, and the highest scoring entries earn screening slots in each category:

World Premiere Status/Limited Screening History Preferred
Artistic and Technical Merit (quality of script, direction, acting, production value, uniqueness, etc.)


ABFF is committed to the belief that Black artists deserve the same opportunities as their mainstream counterparts. It is recognized as the premier pipeline for Black talent in front of and behind the camera. The festival is comprised of five action-packed days of films, engaging panels, networking events and more…from the star-studded opening night screening to the exciting closing filmmaker ceremony.

Founder Jeff Friday envisioned the ABFF as a vehicle to promote diversity in the film and television industry. The festival is today recognized as the nation’s largest gathering of Black film and TV enthusiasts, with approximately 10,000 attendees. The 22nd annual ABFF will be held in Miami, Florida, June 13-17, 2018. The Founding and Presenting Sponsor is HBO®.

ABFF encourages and rewards artistic excellence, providing a platform for more than 1,000 narrative feature films, documentaries, shorts and Web originals. Alumni success stories range from veteran producer Will Packer (Ride Along, Think Like A Man) to young auteur Ryan Coogler (Creed, Fruitvale Station) – testimony to the festival’s mission to introduce and connect talented newcomers to the industry at large.

In addition to film screenings, each year the ABFF presents over 30 exciting events and networking activities designed to educate, nurture career development and inspire festival attendees. The festival traditionally opens with a Hollywood movie premiere, followed by independent film screenings, the ABFF Careers In Entertainment workshops, Master Classes and industry information sessions, celebrity conversations, entertainment and talent discovery programs co-programmed with leading media companies (HBO, Comcast NBCUniversal, TV One). In 2015, the ABFF expanded its program to showcase more television-related content; in 2016, it was determined to find new ways to spotlight female filmmakers; in 2017, the festival achieved its goal to educate festival goers on career opportunities within the business and innovations in entertainment technology, and in 2018 the festival will add more exciting components for its core audience and beyond.

The ABFF supports artists in unprecedented ways, and has fostered a tremendous amount of goodwill in the Hollywood community. Past participants who have shown their support include: Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, Halle Berry, Morgan Freeman, Robert Townsend, Keenen Ivory Wayans, John Singleton, Anthony Anderson, Idris Elba, Morris Chestnut, Nia Long, Regina King, Kevin Hart, Taraji P. Henson and Common. The festival annually attracts a core audience of artists, entertainment executives and upscale film enthusiasts from around the world.

The ABFF generates more than a billion media impressions each year. It has been featured in mainstream as well as African American, entertainment and trade outlets including The New York Times, People, Ebony, Essence, Black Enterprise, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and AOL HuffPost.

The ABFF partners are essential to its long-term success, which, in turn, contributes to the growth of a more diverse America. Top-tier corporations engage in partnerships with the ABFF to promote their brands, services and multicultural initiatives to the festival’s highly desirable audience. It also receives support from television broadcasters, film studios and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)–all working to identify and cultivate relationships with diverse talent. The ABFF is a property of ABFF Ventures, a multifaceted entertainment company specializing in the production of live events, television and digital content targeted to upscale African American audiences.


Jazmin Washington (Assistant to CEO & Founder); Jeff Friday (CEO); Jeff Friday (CEO); Jeff Friday (Founder & CEO); Lamonia Brown (Director of Programming); Lamonia Brown (Director of Programming)



- Electronic Press Kit inclusive of film's synopsis, key crew bios etc.
- Upload Film online via Withoutabox only
- Entry fee payment


Running Times (inclusive of credits)
Narrative Features - minimum of 72 minutes
Documentaries - minimum of 72 minutes
Web Originals - maximum of 10 minutes
Short Films - maximum of 20 minutes
Smart Phone Originals - maximum of 60 minutes

- All Films, Webisodes and Smart Phone Originals must have been completed post January 1, 2017

- All Films, Webisodes and Smart Phone Originals must be written, produced or directed by a person of African descent, feature a person of African descent in a leading role

- Films, Webisodes and Smart Phone Originals must not have had any commercial theatrical or television play or broadcast on the internet and must not have distribution

- Films, Webisodes and Smart Phone Originals in a language other than English must be subtitled in English for festival presentation


American Black Film Festival is hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes.

The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations.

The undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless American Black Film Festival from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, music licensing, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.