American Black Film Festival Kicks-off Thursday

Check out festival master classes, screenings, parties, and more

(Image: ABFF)
(Image: ABFF)

It’s almost time. In just a few short days Black Enterprise presents the 19th annual American Black Film Festival celebrating art and culture in the black community. This year, ABFF is overflowing with master classes, workshops, speakers, entertainment and, of course, films for you to enjoy.

[Related: African American Festival Returns with Epic Line-Up]

This Thursday, June 11th – Sunday, June 14th in New York City, come out and experience art by and about people of African descent. Check out the highly anticipated New York premiere of Dope. Written and Directed by Rick Famuyiwa, Dope follows the adventure of geek, Malcolm, after an invite to an underground party changes his life. Starring Forest Whitaker, Kiersey Clemons and Zoë Kravitz, Dope will open the festival in addition to having an encore screening on Sunday, June 14th. After checking out this movie, wrap up your opening night with an Old School Hip Hop party featuring a performance by legendary Doug E. Fresh, with music by none other than DJ DNice.

On Friday, June 12th, take advantage of the exclusive master classes on Writing for Television, led by Karen Horne, Fundamentals of Film Productions with producer Roger Bobb, and an Actor’s Workshop with the talented Tasha Smith. In addition to these master classes, be sure to enjoy A Conversation with Taraji P. Henson, this year’s festival ambassador. There will also be a plethora of film screenings including narrative, documentary, shorts, spotlights, and webisodes for you to catch throughout the day.

After capitalizing on a full day of films, learning, and networking enjoy an evening of laughter at the 3rd Annual Comedy Wings Competition Finals and witness the announcement of the 2015 Comedy Wings Winner! Tickets to the comedy finals include access to the pre-show mixer where complimentary Redd’s Apple Ale will be served.

By Saturday, June 13th, you’ll be in the festival groove and ready to take advantage of even more. Catch The Life of a Showrunner where Mara Brock Akil (Being Mary Jane, The Game, Girlfriends), Salim Akil (Being Mary Jane, The Game), Janine Sherman-Barrois (Criminal Minds, ER, Third Watch), and Chris Spencer (Executive Producer & Co Creator of “Real Husbands of Hollywood”) will detail the creative strategies to becoming a showrunner, duties, parameters of creative control and running a writers room.

Spend the early part of your Saturday afternoon watching cast members of TV’s Original Movie “Runaway Island” and other celebrities perform scenes from TV One’s First Annual Screenplay Competition at TV ONE Presents Celebrity Scene Stealers.

If you have the desire to produce and control your own creative content while ultimately building revenue, you are encouraged to attend How to Create and Monetize a Successful Web Series. Join Web sensation Issa Rae (creator of The Adventures of an Awkward Black Girl and more), along with creators of, Numa Perrier and Dennis Dortch, and Andrea Lewis (Black Actress) for a discussion on how to thrive within this new landscape.

Top off your day of knowledge and networking with Hot in Hollywood featuring Lance Gross (“Grey’s Anatomy”, NBC’s “Crisis”), Naturi Naughton (“Power”), Yaya DaCosta (“Whitney” Lifetime Biopic), and Danai Gurira (AMC “The Walking Dead”) where these young artists will reveal their unique approaches to success before hopping over to the 18th Annual HBO Short Film Competition where you can see the work of and meet five talented filmmakers looking for breakout at ABFF.

To wind down an exhilarating weekend, spend your Sunday, June 14th Inside the Writer’s Room where Empire creators discuss the hit breakout series. Then it’s time to go Inside Black-ish where writer/creator Kenya Barris and star Tracee Ellis Ross host a candid talk about the first season and what’s next for this groundbreaking show.

Conclude your weekend with the “Best of the ABFF” Awards Show where the outstanding career of actress Jennifer Lewis will be honored along with the celebration of this year’s award winning filmmakers. Tickets to this show include access to the Post Awards Show Reception where complimentary cocktails by Moet Hennessy will be served.

This may seems like quite a bit to remember and it only scratches the surface. There is so much more to see, do, and experience at ABFF. For assistance keeping it all together, don’t forget to download the BE Events app available on iOS, Android, and other smartphones. Here you will find detailed information on festival activities, speakers, and screenings. For a full list of screening times and to purchase movie tickets visit

For more information on the films, schedules, and activities for the 2015 American Black Film Festival, visit For updates via Twitter and other social media sites, check the hashtag #ABFF.

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