'Queen Sugar,' ' Insecure,' 'Claws,' 'Snowfall' and More Upcoming TV Are Heading to ABFF
Photo Credit: OWN
Festivals , Television

'Queen Sugar,' ' Insecure,' 'Claws,' 'Snowfall' and More Upcoming TV Are Heading to ABFF


The 2017 American Black Film Festival (ABFF) will bring a star-studded lineup of TV and cable network premieres to this year’s event, which runs from June 14-18 in Miami.

Along with the upcoming comedy “Girls Trip” as the opening night film and the Tupac biopic “All Eyez On Me” as the Closing Night film, among the shows being showcased are BET’s “Tales,” TV ONE’s “When Love Kills” and “Downsized,” FX Networks’ “Snowfall,” A & E’s “Biggie: The Life of the Notorious B.I.G,” TNT’s “Claws,” OWN’s “Queen Sugar” and HBO’s “Insecure” and “The Defiant Ones.”

There will be a Q&A with the cast following each screening.

See full list of festival spotlight screenings below (All tickets are available for purchase at www.ABFF.com):


Murder Inc. founder Irv “Gotti” Lorenzo has teamed up with BET Networks to produce “Tales” is a scripted anthology series of “song stories” weaving classic and current hip-hop songs into visual narratives from the lyrics of some of hip-hop’s greatest hits. The premiere episode, being shown at the festival, recreates NWA’s “F*ck the Police,” which focuses on a controversial police shooting of a young boy that flips the biases and stereotypes of today’s society. And each week, the suspenseful stories reimagine the meaning of each original song and take viewers on an adventure into some of the stories that play inspiration to the most iconic hip-hop hits. Created and executive produced by Irv “Gotti” Lorenzo and his Visionary Ideas production company, alongside producer Ron Robinson, writer/producer Joy Kecken and co-producers Darcell Lawrence, John Bryant and Sonny Lorenzo.

Thursday, June 15th at 11AM

Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach

Q&A with Irv Gotti


Inspired by an episode of TV One’s original series “For My Man,” this is the tragic story of Falicia Blakely (Lil Mama), a teen mom who grows up in the fast-lane. When she becomes an exotic dancer, she attracts the attention of local pimp and predator, Dino (Lance Gross). His empty promises of a life together turn Falicia into a pawn in his dangerous games; and she’s forced to prove her love for him at the expense of innocent lives. Tami Roman (Basketball Wives, Belle’s), Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Big Freedia, and Lil Zane round out the cast. The movie also marks the directing debut of acclaimed actress Tasha Smith (For Better or Worse, Empire). The screenplay is executive produced and written by industry veteran Cas Sigers-Beedles.

Thursday, June 15th at 2:45PM

Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach

Q&A with Tasha Smith, Lance Gross, Lil Mama, Tami Roman


FX will debut Snowfall at this year’s festival. This drama series is a new show from director John Singleton, and is inspired by the early days of the crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles in the early 1980s. The 10-episode season of the one-hour drama is set against the infancy of the crack cocaine epidemic and its ultimate radical impact on the culture as we know it. The story follows numerous characters on a violent collision course, including: Franklin Saint (Damson Idris), young street entrepreneur on a quest for power; Gustavo Zapata (Sergio Peris-Mencheta), a Mexican wrestler caught up in a power struggle within a crime family; Teddy McDonald (Carter Hudson), a CIA operative running from a dark past who begins an off-book operation to fund the Nicaraguan Contras; and Luica Villanueva (Emily Rios), the self-possessed daughter of a Mexican crime lord. Snowfall is Executive Produced by John Singleton, Dave Andron, Thomas Schlamme, Eric Amadio, Michael London, and Trevor Engelson. Andron will serve as showrunner.

Friday, June 16th at 10:15AM

Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach

Q&A with John Singleton


National Geographic Documentary Films presents LA 92, a riveting look back at the controversial Rodney King trial and subsequent protests, violence and looting of the city. Viewed from a multitude of vantage points through visceral and rarely seen archival footage, the film brings a fresh perspective to a pivotal moment that reverberates to this day. Produced by Lightbox’s two-time Academy Award winner Simon Chinn (“Man on Wire”) and Emmy winner Jonathan Chinn (“American High”), with Academy Award-winning directors Dan Lindsay and TJ Martin (“Undefeated”), and featuring original music from Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans (“OA,” “Enemy”).

Friday, June 16th at 1:45PM

Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach

Q&A with Jonathan Chinn


TV One’s newest original movie, Downsized, centers on Ebony (Parker) and Michael (Kodjoe), who were forced into a modern “shotgun” wedding after becoming teenaged parents, and putting their personal goals on hold in order to support their family. Amazingly, the two high school sweethearts managed to overcome the odds and establish a seemingly ideal life for themselves but after years of professional success take a toll on Ebony and Michael, the family begins an unconventional adventure to restore the faith, hope, and trust that initially brought them together. The film also stars Alexus Lapri Geier as Madison, Racquel Bianca John as Michelle, Isaiah John as Mike, Jr. and Tia Hendricks as Malaysia. “Downsized” is written by Michelle McKissick (2016 ABFF Screenplay Finalist) and is directed by Rhonda Baraka. It is also produced for TV One by Swirl Films and is executive produced by Eric Tomosunas.

Friday, June 16th at 3PM

Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach

Q&A with Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker


Set amid many of the defining events of the past four decades, this four-part documentary event tells the story of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, their improbable partnership and their leading roles in a series of transformative events in contemporary culture. Directed by Allen Hughes (“Menace II Society”), who conducted extensive interviews with both men, the show also includes interviews with such music icons as Bono, David Geffen, Eminem, Nas, Stevie Nicks, Ice Cube, Gwen Stefani, Jon Landau, Tom Petty, Trent Reznor, Snoop Dogg, Bruce Springsteen, Diddy and will.i.am. The Defiant Ones also features never-before-seen footage from a multitude of recording and writing sessions with Eazy-E, JJ Fad, Stevie Nicks, N.W.A., Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and U2, among others.

Friday, June 16th at 6PM

Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach

*No Q&A


Biggie: The Life of Notorious B.I.G is a three-hour, deeply personal biography will allow the late Christopher Wallace to narrate his own incredible life story by employing exclusive archival footage and audio recordings that have never been heard before as well as new interviews by those who loved him most. This film will provide interviews with those closest to him including his widow Faith Evans, his mother Voletta Wallace, his close friend Lil Cease and members of Junior Mafia as well as cultural icons Sean “Diddy” Combs, Shawn “Jay Z” Carter and Nas. Twenty years after his death, this intimate documentary will also focus on Faith Evans as she embarks on an emotional journey to reconcile her own turbulent memories. Biggie: The Life of Notorious B.I.G. is directed by Mark Ford and produced by Creature Films in association with Entertainment One (eOne). Executive producers for Creatures Films are Mark Ford and Kevin Lopez. Executive Producers for eOne are John Morayniss and Tara Long. Voletta Wallace and Faith Evans also serve as executive producers.

Saturday, June 17th at 10:30AM

Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach

Q&A with Faith Evans, Voletta Wallace, Lil Cease, Mark Ford


Described as a “midnight-dark, wickedly funny meditation on female badness set in a South Florida nail salon,” Claws follows the rise of five diverse and treacherous manicurists working at the Nail Artisan of Manatee County salon, where there is a lot more going on than silk wraps and pedicures. Niecy Nash, Carrie Preston, Harold Perrineau, Jenn Lyon, Judy Reyes, Karrueche Tran, Jason Antoon, Kevin Rankin, Jack Kesy and Dean Norris star in the hour-long dramedy. At the center is salon owner Desna (played by Niecy Nash), who lives with and cares for her mentally ill twin brother, Dean (played by Harold Perrineau). Desna’s staff includes best friend Jennifer (Jenn Lyon), a tenuously sober ex-party girl raising two children from previous relationships; Quiet Ann (Judy Reyes), Desna’s enigmatic driver who also provides security for the salon; Polly (Carrie Preston), a mild-mannered preppy who recently served time in prison for identity theft; and Virginia (Karrueche Tran), who makes no effort to hide her boredom and impatience with her job.

Saturday, June 17th at 2:30PM

Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach

Q&A with Harold Perrineau, Judy Reyes, Karrueche Tran, Janine Sherman-Barrois


OWN is bringing its acclaimed drama series Queen Sugar, which was created by Ava DuVernay who also executive produces with Oprah Winfrey. Based on the book by Natalie Baszile, Queen Sugar chronicles the lives and loves of the estranged Bordelon siblings in Saint Josephine, Louisiana – Nova (Rutina Wesley), a world-wise journalist and activist; Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner), the savvy wife and manager of a professional basketball star; and Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe), a formerly incarcerated young father in search of redemption. The cast also includes Tina Lifford, Omar J. Dorsey, Dondré T. Whitfield, Timon Kyle Durrett, Nicholas L. Ashe and Ethan Hutchison. As well as Winfrey and DuVernay, Monica Macer is also an EP on the Warner Horizon Scripted Television produced series.

Saturday, June 17th at 5:30PM

Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach

Q&A with Dawn Lyen-Gardner, Kofi Siriboe, Rutina Wesley, Omar Dorsey, Tina Lifford and Dondre Whitfield


HBO will premiere the first episode to Season 2 of it series, Insecure, created by Issa Rae and Larry Wilmore. Starring Issa Rae, Yvonne Orji, Jay Ellis and Lisa Joyce, the series follows the friendship of two black women as they deal with their own real-life flaws while attempting to navigate different worlds and cope with an endless series of uncomfortable everyday experiences. For season 2, Amanda Seales and Natasha Rothwell, who are members of Issa’s crew, were promoted to the cast. Executive produced by Issa Rae, Prentice Penny, Melina Matsoukas, Michael Rotenberg, Dave Becky and Jonathan Berry. Larry Wilmore serves as a consultant.

Saturday, June 17th at 8PM

Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach

Q&A with Issa Rae, Jay Ellis and Yvonne Orjii


STEP is the true-life story of a girls’ high-school step team against the background of the heart of Baltimore. These young women learn to laugh, love and thrive – on and off the stage – even when the world seems to work against them. Empowered by their teachers, teammates, counselors, coaches and families, they chase their ultimate dreams: to win a step championship and to be accepted into college.

This all female school is reshaping the futures of its students’ lives by making it their goal to have every member of their senior class accepted to and graduate from college, many of whom will be the first in their family to do so. Deeply insightful and emotionally inspiring, STEP embodies the true meaning of sisterhood through a story of courageous young women worth cheering for. Directed by Amanda Lipitz; Produced by Amanda Lipitz, Steven Cantor; Featuring Blessin Giraldo, Cori Grainger, Tayla Solomon, Gari McIntyre and Paula Dofat.

Thursday, June 15th at 11AM

MB Cinematheque, 1130 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach

Q&A with Coach G, Paula Dofat, Blessin Geraldo, Tayla Solomon, Cori Grainer


Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) will screen two seminal works of pioneering filmmaker Madeline Anderson and a clip of oral history interview conducted by the museum’s Earl W. and Amanda Stafford Center for African American Media Arts (CAAMA) at the 21st American Black Film Festival (ABFF). This partnership program marks the first “classic cinema” screening with NMAAHC at ABFF. After the screening, Anderson will be joined in dialogue with NMAAHC curator of photography & film and Head of CAAMA, Rhea L. Combs, Ph.D., to discuss her work and career.

Thursday, June 15th at 1:30PM

MB Cinematheque, 1130 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach

Q&A with Madeline Anderson


Meet filmmaker Tracy Heather Strain and learn about her latest project on Lorraine Hansberry. Sponsored by Facebook.

Saturday, June 17th at 2:30PM

MB Cinematheque, 1130 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach

Q&A with Tracy Heather Strain


Reeling from his mother’s death and a subsequent DUI, NYC basketball prodigy and retired NBA All-Star Kenny Anderson looks to discover himself in the midst of a mid-life crisis. Anderson traces past footsteps to confront haunting memories and find solace in becoming the father he never had time to be. Combining unseen footage with raw moments of reflection, Mr. Chibbs explores what happens when the talent fades and a sports legend searches for a meaningful future. Directed and written by Jill Campbell. Executive Produced by Barry Greenstein; Produced by Jill Campbell, Barry Greenstein and Gregory Gerhard.

Friday, June 16th at 8:45PM

Loews Theater (located inside Loews Hotel, 2nd Floor), 1601 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach


90 Days explores a beautiful couple’s relationship and their life altering decision after 90 days of dating. The short film stars Teyonah Parris, Pauletta Washington and Nick Few. Directed by Jennia Fredrique and Nathan Hale Williams.

Friday, June 16th at 5PM

MB Cinematheque, 1130 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach

For a complete festival schedule and to purchase passes, tickets for events, panels and screenings at the American Black Film Festival, visit http://www.abff.com/festival-passes/.

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