American Black Film Festival

(redirected from Acapulco Black Film Festival)
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American Black Film Festival

Date Observed: Five days in July
Location: Miami/South Beach, Florida

The American Black Film Festival (ABFF), formerly known as the Acapulco Black Film Festival, is an annual five-day retreat and international film market held in Miami/South Beach, Florida. It aims to provide the most prestigious platform for Pan-African films garnered from around the world, competitively screening features, shorts, and documentaries from both known and rising industry talents.

Historical Background

In 1997, three men co-founded the Acapulco Black Film Festival. Jeff Friday (president and CEO of Film Life, Inc.), Bryon Lewis (chairman and CEO of UniWorld Group, Inc.), and Warrington Hudlin (president of the Black Filmmakers Foundation) united for a common purpose: to create a forum that would provide a springboard for black cinematic achievement while simultaneously broadening public perception of their accomplishments.

Creation of the Festival

The festival was held in Acapulco for its first five years. In 2002, Film Life, Inc. acquired sole rights to the festival, which was then renamed the American Black Film Festival. Since then, the festival has been held in the South Beach/Miami area of Florida.


Since its inception, ABBF has shown more than 350 films, including full features, shorts, and documentaries. Attendance in 2005 topped 2,500.

Both industry professionals and consumers are welcomed at the various events that include not only the film screenings but also workshops, seminars, lectures, classes, interactive discussions, and more. In an effort to fulfill its mission, the festival designs a week-long program to expose attendees to all facets of the industry. In doing so, the goal is to break down barriers to opportunity (for example, offer access for sharing talent resources and artistic guidance) and to debunk myths of minority marginalization and stereotyping.

The festival concludes with a gala awards ceremony at which independent film awards and cash prizes are announced. In 2005, for instance, the film On the One, directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, won best feature award and a cash prize of $20,000. At earlier festivals such celebrities as Spike Lee, Rosario Dawson, Russell Simmons, and Gabrielle Union have been honored.

Contacts and Web Sites

c/o Film Life P.O. Box 688 New York, NY 10012

Black Hollywood Education & Research Center 1875 Century Park E., Ste. 6th Fl. Los Angeles, CA 95067 310-284-3170; hotline: 323-957-4747; fax: 310-284-3169

Further Reading

"Filmmaker Spike Lee and Actress Rosario Dawson Honored at American Black Film Festival." Jet, August 16, 2004. Mottesheard, Ryan. "Urban Heats Up with ABFF; Miami-based Festival Increases Awareness for Segment." Daily Variety, July 11, 2005. "Russell Simmons and Gabrielle Union Saluted at American Black Film Festival." Jet, August 4, 2003.
African-American Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations, 1st ed. © Omnigraphics, Inc. 2007
References in periodicals archive ?
Since 1997, every June during the Acapulco Black Film Festival, actors such as Nia Long, Robert Townsend, Mekhi Phifer, and Regina King, industry executives, and festival goers come to the Camino.
Screenings: The 2001 Acapulco Black Film Festival, June 4-June 9.
Says Jeff Friday, the executive producer and producer of the Acapulco Black Film Festival and president of UniWorld Films, "Scary Movie was never intended to be positioned as a black movie.
With a penchant for film that stems back to his work on the 1971 cult classic, Shaft, to promotions and public relations for films such as Amistad and X, Lewis launched the Acapulco Black Film Festival in 1996.
"We'll offer our services to the Hollywood community and leverage UniWorld's experience in mass-marketing existing films," says Friday, who previously served as executive director and producer of the Acapulco Black Film Festival. The division actually makes official a practice UniWorld has been involved in for several years.
THE BUZZ ABOUT THE ROMANTIC COMEDY Hav Plenty started in June at the first-ever Acapulco Black Film Festival. From a "simpatico" Mexican backdrop, Chris Cherot--the writer, director and star of the movie--embarked on a roller coaster ride across North America, trekking between New York and Los Angeles before heading for the Toronto Film Festival to shake hands on a $1.5 million distribution deal with Miramax president Harvey Weinstein.