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American Black Film Festival

Festival Data

Established: 1997
Genre: General
Attendance: 4500
Total Number of Films Submitted: 450
Total Number of Films Screened: 42
Total Screenings: 48
Total National and International Premieres: 29

Festival Description

Film Life’s American Black Film Festival  is a retreat and international film market held annually in the USA. Founded in 1997, the festival’s mission is to strengthen the Black filmmaking community through resource sharing, education, artistic collaboration and career development. The ABFF was born out of the need to spearhead distribution opportunities for independent Black films and promote cultural diversity within the motion picture industry.

The festival's film slate is primarily composed of world premieres , positioning it as the leading film festival in the world for African American and urban content. Since its inception, the ABFF has rewarded and redefined artistic excellence in independent filmmaking.

In addition to its cinematic showcases, the ABFF nurtures artists in a variety of disciplines offering panels, workshops and symposiums along with its signature events. It attracts a multicultural audience of 5,000 industry professionals and film enthusiasts.

The ABFF, founded by Jeff Friday, is a property of Film Life, Inc., a New York-based marketing, media and production company. Through the support of Film Life and a wide variety of corporate partners, the American Black Film Festival continues with its mission to strengthen the Black filmmaking community, and making accessible to an ever-growing audience films by and about people of color.


The festival’s Grand Jury nominates films for consideration for the following awards:

Grand Jury Prize for Best Film

Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary

Grand Jury Prize for Best Performance by an Actor

A short film jury nominates films for consideration for the HBO® Short Film Award.

All the ABFF Official Selections are considered for the ABFF Audience Award.