American 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.
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