22nd Annual

American Black Film Festival

September 20, 2017 to June 17, 2018

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Film Market
Submit Online
c/o ABFF Ventures
New York NY 10016
Phone: 212 886 9581

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Narrative Features
Live Action or Animation
Web Originals
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.


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. 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 Career Center with its 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, and in 2017, the festival’s goal is to educate festival goers on career opportunities within the business and innovations in entertainment technology.

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 the Founder & CEO); Jeff Friday (Founder & CEO); Melanie Sharee (Head 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:
Narrative Features - minimum of 72 minutes
Documentaries - minimum of 45 minutes
Web Originals - maximum of 10 minutes in length
Short Films - maximum of 20 minutes

- Films/Web Originals must have been completed post January 1, 2017

- Films/Web Originals must be written, produced or directed by a person of African descent, feature a person of African descent in a leading role

- Films/Web Originals must not have had any commercial theatrical or television play or broadcast on the internet and must not have distribution

- Films/Web 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.