23rd Annual

American Black Film Festival

June 12, 2019 to June 16, 2019

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Film Market
Submit Online
c/o ABFF Ventures
Los Angeles CA 90028

SPECIAL SUBMISSIONS ONLY • Final deadlines have passed. If you have a deadline waiver or special instructions from the event, select a Category of Entry to continue.

Narrative Features
Films that tell a fictional story, event or narrative. Can be live action or animation.
Nonfictional motion pictures intended to document some aspect of reality, or maintaining a historical record.
Web Series
Short form narrative or documentary episodic television 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.
World Showcase
A non-competitive section for narrative and documentary feature films made by persons of African descent or depicting a multicultural experience. Projects submitted to any of the competitive sections will be considered for the World Showcase section should they not be accepted to compete. Narrative features and documentaries that have had three (3) or more previous festival screenings should submit to the World Showcase Screenings section in lieu of the competitive sections.

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

Emerging Directors
Narratives, documentaries, message-related videos and other content from directors and/or producers of African descent.
Social Impact Screenings
A showcase for films based on cause-related topics affecting communities of color. These films provide perspectives that are different from mainstream media portrayals, thereby positively affecting society’s view of the subject. The 2019 Social Impact Screenings topic will be Fatherhood: The Foundation of the Black Family.
Music In Motion
A non-competitive section featuring short content in recognition of Black Music Month, and acknowledging the role music plays in film/television, this section celebrates artists, legends and the magic of music in movies. The content can be a narrative, a music video or a nonfiction project.


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 added more exciting components for its core audience and beyond. The 2019 festival will introduce About Women, a global initiative focused on empowering and inspiring women of color in the film and television industry. ABFF will also unveil a new section, Social Impact Screenings, showcasing films based on cause-related topics impacting communities of color.

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.


Amelia Winfree (VP, Sponsorship & Client Services); Jeff Friday (CEO); Nicole Friday (General Manager); Ricky Pleasant (Administrative Assistant)



Filmmakers entering their film for consideration for the American Black Film Festival must be 18 years of age or older.
Films must be in English language or contain English-language subtitles.
Films may be shot on any format and must be "finished" (completed sound design, credits, etc.)
All entries must be submitted by the deadlines as listed for each category.
Films that have screened at over two (2) festivals are not eligible for the competitive sections

Filmmakers may submit multiple projects. A separate submission form and fee is due for each project.



Films must have been written, directed or produced by a person of African descent, or the content must have a multicultural perspective.
Films must have a runtime of 72 minutes minimum
Competition is open to U.S. and international entries
Preference is given to premieres.


Films must have been directed and/or written by a person of African decent
Films must have a maximum runtime of 20 minutes, inclusive of credits
Film must not have been previously exhibited, or licensed for any form of exhibition
A release form will be sent via email upon receipt of completed Withoutabox.com submission. This release form must be signed and returned to programming@abffventures.com to meet eligibility requirements for the short film competition

Films must have been written, directed or produced by a person of African descent, or the series must have a multicultural perspective
Each episode must be no longer than 10 minutes maximum
Submission must include two (2) episodes of the series, as one continuous file, not to exceed 20 minutes maximum runtime
Only new episodes are eligible for submission to the Web Series Competition


Films that have had more than two (2) festival screenings must submit to one of these sections
Writer, director or producer must be a person of African descent
Must follow the runtimes as listed in each section
Must follow all guidelines for each section


If your film is selected, you agree to the following:

Filmmaker agrees to be solely responsible for the delivery of the film, on DCP format, including all shipping costs, to and from the festival. Final films must be received by the deadline on the acceptance letter.

A photo still from the film (jpg format) and any additional press materials, including film posters, will be due upon acceptance into the festival.

ABFF will provide a maximum of two (2) festival passes per film.

Filmmakers are solely responsible their own travel and accommodations.

Filmmakers will respond promptly to all ABFF correspondence following acceptance into the festival.


1. You agree that you will not negotiate with anyone other than HBO prior to September 21, 2019, with respect to acquiring any rights in the film.

2. You agree that you will be solely responsible for the shipping of your film to and from the ABFF Office. If your film is selected as a semi-finalist or finalist, you will be required to provide one high resolution downloadable digital copy of your film for semi-final jury and final screening purposes, to be delivered promptly following notification of your selection, but no later than May 1, 2019.

3. Immediately after notification of your selection, you must deliver to ABFF one (1) photo still from the film, one (1) photo still of the qualifying filmmaker (jpeg. format) and any additional press materials.

4. HBO will provide round-trip air and hotel accommodations and festival credentials for each finalist (if there is more than one filmmaker, one (1) must be selected to represent the film) and one (1) guest.