17th American Black Film Festival Kicks Off Today w/ A Solid Lineup, Including 15 World Premieres
Photo Credit: S & A

17th American Black Film Festival Kicks Off Today w/ A Solid Lineup, Including 15 World Premieres


The 17th Annual Black Film Festival (ABFF), taking place in Miami Beach, FL, kicks off tonight, June 19, and runs through the 23rd, with George Tillman Jr.’s drama The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete, opening the festival, and the World Premiere of Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain closing it.

Meanwhile, the festival’s Alumni Spotlight Screening will be Ryan Coogler’s critically-acclaimed feature film debut, Fruitvale Station.

Gala Screenings include the World Premieres of UP’s (formerly known as GMC TV) In the Meantime, written by the 2012 UP screenplay competition winner Nzinga Kadalie Kemp, and Playin’ For Love, produced and directed by Robert Townsend.

This year’s event will see several films we’ve covered on this site, so you should be familiar, including 15 world premieres, in 5 different categories. 

I’m especially looking forward to seeing those which I haven’t seen yet, like Christine Turner’s Homegoings documentary, Shaka King’s Newlyweeds, Sudz Sutherland’s Home, Stephen Lloyd Jackson’s Sable Fable, Kiandra Parks’ Black Girl In Paris, and others.

Of course I’ll be seeing the much-discussed and acclaimed Fruitvale Station for the first time, which I’m certainly looking forward to.

But there’s something here for just about every taste – both fiction and non-fiction.

There’s also the ABFF Webiside Challenge, which features web series I’m sure you’ll recognize, like those from the Black & Sexy TV crew.

I’ll be there from Friday through Sunday, and will be participating in a panel on Saturday, titled: The Artist’s Vision: Cultural Criticism and the Filmmaker’s Voice.

Jeff Friday, ABFF Founder and CEO of Film Life, Inc. said in a press statement, “We are excited to be at seventeen years and counting. This year we have a diverse selection of films, some returning alumni and new webisode creators. With that said, it is especially rewarding to watch alumni take their next steps into the mainstream marketplace.” He adds, “We are steadfast in our commitment to support aspiring filmmakers, leading them to opportunities that will hopefully help them to build rewarding careers.

Below is the full 2013 film lineup by section. See you there:


Feature-length films in this section compete for the ABFF’s Grand Jury prizes for Best Screenplay, presented by Nickelodeon, Best Actor presented by Marriot International, Best Director and Best Film, presented by Cadillac.

The Magic City, World Premiere

Written, produced and directed by R. Malcolm Jones 

Cast: Jennifer Lewis, Keith David, Jamie Hector and introducing Latrice Jackson, LaShay Jackson and Amiya Thomas

Sable Fable, World Premiere

Written, produced and directed by Stephen Lloyd Jackson

Cast: James Williams, Nicole Hartley, Sheila Nortley, Jasmine Munting, Daniel Bailey,

Alex Marx, Stephen Lloyd Jackson and Lily Joseph

The Suspect, World Premiere

Written and directed by Stuart Connelly, Produced by Scott Aronson

Cast: Mekhi Phifer, William Sadler, Sterling K. Brown, James McCaffrey and Rebecca Creskoft

Things Never Said

Written, produced and directed by Charles Murray

Cast: Omari Hardwick, Shanola Hampton and Elimu Nelson


Nonfiction films in this section compete for the Best Documentary Award, presented by CNN Films.

Films selected for the 2013 Documentary Competition is as follows:

Children of the Wind

Directed by Daphne Schmon, Produced by Robert McCormick

Narrated by Gbenga Akinnagbe


Produced and directed by Christine Turner

The Sunflower County Freedom Project, World Premiere

Produced and directed by Carmen L. Scott


Five emerging filmmakers compete for the HBO Short Film Award.

The Adventures of Edison Jean, World Premiere

Written and directed by Edson Jean

Black Girl in Paris, World Premiere

Written and directed by Kiandra Parks

A Different Tree, World Premiere

Written and directed by Steven Caple Jr.

Stone Cars, World Premiere

Written and directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green

Sweet Honey Child, World Premiere

Co-written and directed by Talibah Newman


A non-competitive showcase of feature-length films.

Full Circle, World Premiere

Written, produced and directed by Solvan Naim

Cast: Rob Morgan, Solvan Naim, Eden Marryshow, Celestine Rae, Kelvin Hale and Devale Ellis

Home, World Premiere

Written and directed by Jono Oliver, Produced by Jono Oliver, Daniela Barbosa and Ged Dickersin

Cast: Gbenga Akinnagbe, Joe Morton, Fawny Cypress and Victor Williams

Home Again

Written by Jennifer Holness and David Sudz Sutherland, Directed by Sudz Sutherland, Produced by

Jennifer Holness, Don Carmody and Anita Lee

Cast: Tatyana Ali, Lyriq Bent, Stephan James, Fefe Dobson, Richard Chevolleau, Paul Campbell and CCH Pounder

Monica, World Premiere

Written and directed by Gregory Carter Produced by Datari Turner

Cast: Omari Hardwick, Ali Cobrin, Mariel Hemingway, James Remar, Lynn Whitfield, Robert Hoffman, Datari Turner, Briana Evigan and Obba Babatunde 


Written and directed by Shaka King, Produced by Michael Matthews, Jim Wareck, Gbenga Akinnagbe and Shaka King

Cast: Amari Cheatom, Trae Harris, Tone Tank, Colman Domingo and Hassan Johnson


A showcase of short form content created for distribution on the Internet and other digital platforms. Three finalists compete for the ABFF Webisode Award.

The Couple: The Moo Moo

Written by Jeanine Daniels, Directed by Dennis Dortch


Written by Dennis Dortch and Numa Perrier, Directed by Dennis Dortch

Unwritten Rules

Written by Kim Williams, Directed by Natasha “Tash” Gray


Free public screenings presented by the City of Miami SEOPW CRA

Playin’ for Love, World Premiere

Written and directed by Robert Townsend

“Films Over Miami” Community Showcase: Highlighting Miami’s Emerging Filmmakers

Films to be announced