The 2022 American Black Film Festival (ABFF) today announced its lineup of narrative and documentary features and web series. This year’s festival format returns as a hybrid with live events June 15-19 in Miami, Fla., followed by virtual panels and screenings June 20-30 on the festival’s custom-built online platform ABFF PLAY.
The Features program includes Narrative competitions (U.S. and international), World Premieres and first-time directors representing a diverse group of independent filmmakers from around the globe. The lineup offers a mixture of thought-provoking, entertaining and authentic stories that uplift and highlight Black culture.
The festival opens with the documentary “CIVIL,” an intimate vérité look at the life of maverick civil rights attorney Ben Crump. Considered a trailblazer of his field, “CIVIL” gives viewers an inside look at Crump’s mission to raise the value of Black life. As the civil lawyer for the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Black farmers and banking while Black victims, Crump challenges America to come to terms with what it owes his clients. The film is directed and produced by award-winning filmmaker Nadia Hallgren (Becoming, After Maria, The Show). Produced by Kenya Barris, Roger Ross Williams and Lauren Cioffi. The Netflix release of “CIVIL” will premiere on Juneteenth (June 19) this year.
“We are thrilled to open the festival with “CIVIL,” a timely documentary bringing light to issues of social justice and equity in America,” said Nicole Friday, festival producer and president of ABFF Ventures LLC.
“We’ve curated an entertaining and thought-provoking lineup of features, documentaries and web series and I am so excited to share our content with a live audience again.”
Universally considered the premiere festival for Black storytellers and storytelling, ABFF presents a wide range of independent films, studio and network previews, a series of talk events, master classes, live entertainment and more. The festival continues to spotlight talent both in front of and behind the camera and provide a platform for emerging artists to tell their stories.
The full feature, documentary and web series lineup is listed below and here.
Finalists for the HBO Short Film Award presented by Warner Bros. Discovery and HBO will be announced at a later date. For more updates on the complete list of programming of the 2022 American Black Film Festival, in the coming week, follow us. #ABFF2022 @ABFF on Twitter, @AmericanBlackFilmFestival on Instagram, Facebook and ABFF’s website.
Narrative features (U.S. and international)
A competitive section for U.S. and international feature-length films directed by or written and produced by persons of African descent. Films in this category are eligible to be nominated to compete for the following Jury Awards — Best Director (presented by Cadillac, $5,000 cash prize), Best Narrative Feature (presented by Sony, $2,500 cash prize), and Best Screenplay (presented by TV One, $2,500 cash prize). In addition, if a person of African descent has directed a film in this section and it is their first feature, they will be eligible to compete for the John Singleton Award for Best First Feature (presented by Netflix, $5,000 cash prize).
The following films represent the 2022 official selections in the Narrative Features category:
Between Sins *world premiere
Faced with the responsibilities of an ill mother and estranged daughter, Coy searches for redemption for past sins while trying to avoid the pitfalls that could lead to repeating them.
USA | 83 min
Director: Carlos Miller
Writer: Carlos Miller
Producers: Tyler Cheatham, Carlos Gonzalez, Carlos Miller
Cast: George Taylor, Rigoberto Duval, Carolyn Johnson, Skyla Rain Rowe, Angela Kohn
Bite of a Mango *world premiere
2020 comes with enough challenges of its own, but as four best friends each attempt to overcome their own trying situations, they are left unsure if the group can survive.
CANADA | 98 min
Director: Ron Dias
Writers: Joanne Jansen, Ron Dias
Producers: Joanne Jansen, Ron Dias
Cast: Jayne Kamara, Ryan Rosery, Orville Cummings, Nathan Taylor
Escaping Paradise *world premiere
A young couples’ anniversary trip turns deadly in a foreign land.
PHILIPPINES | 91 min
Director: Paul Tanter
Writer: Deji LaRay
Producers: Thomas Q. Jones, Deji LaRay, DeNorvious Pickett
Cast: Deji LaRay, Simon Phillips, Shayla Hale
Feel Like Ghosts *world premiere
Two recent exes with an undeniable connection confront what could have been if their cultural differences hadn’t pushed them to new lives on opposite coasts.
USA | 100 min
Director: Kali Baker-Johnson
Writer: Kali Baker-Johnson
Producer: Lola Ridgell
Cast: Nican Robinson, Misha Molani
God of Dreams *U.S. festival premiere
Welcome to the future, where dreaming is Illegal.
USA | 104 min
Director: Jurian Isabelle
Writer: Jurian Isabelle
Producers: Jurian Isabelle, Joe Langford
Cast: Ann Nesby, Julia Reilly, Jessie Reeder, Keshawn Pettigrew, Omar Cook
Our Father, the Devil
An African immigrant’s quiet life in a small French town is upended by the arrival of a charismatic Catholic priest, whom she recognizes as the warlord who slaughtered her family.
USA | FRANCE | 108 min
Director: Ellie Foumbi
Writer: Ellie Foumbi
Producers: Ellie Foumbi, Joseph Mastantuono
Cast: Babetida Sadjo, Souleymane Sy Savané, Jennifer Tchiakpe
Scheme Queens *world premiere
Four friends who are down on their luck decide to rob a ruthless Rastafarian jewel thief by conning his second in command.
USA | 94 min
Director: Cas Sigers Beedles
Writer: Cas Sigers Beedles
Producers: Cas Sigers Beedles, Ernestine Johnson
Cast: B. Simone, Ernestine Johnson, Brii Reneé, Jacky Oh
A car-jacked mother and entrepreneur is forced to bond with her violent assailant in order to escape.
USA | 90 min
Director: Damon Jamal
Writers: Damon Jamal, Dave Eisenstark
Producers: Leah Daniels Butler, Henry Black Butler, Damone Smith, Damon Jamal
Cast: Elise Neal, Demetrius Grosse, Dylan McNamara, Miguel A. Nuñez Jr.
The Threesome *world premiere
A sex comedy told in three ways.
USA | 92 min
Director: Jamal Dedeaux
Writer: Jamal Dedeaux
Producers: Jaleel Ghafur, Rebecca Haze, Jamal Dedeaux
Cast: Andrea Lewis, Brittany S. Hall, Jerrel O’Neal
You Married Dat
Two happy brides, one dead guy!
USA | 114 min
Director: Dame Pierre
Writers: Byron Manuel, Curtis L. Ellison Jr., Tarek Abdelkhalig
Producers: Timothy Christian, Sherah Rider, Elijah Kelley
Cast: Juhahn Jones, Apryl Jones, LisaRaye, Audra Kinkead, Michael Colyar
A competitive section for nonfiction feature films directed by persons of African descent or centered on the culture and experiences of persons of African descent. Films in this category are eligible to be nominated to compete for the Jury Award for Best Documentary (presented by Amazon, $2,500 cash prize). The following films represent the 2022 official selections in the Documentary Features category:
A Woman on the Outside
Kristal is a young, ambitious Philadelphian driven to keep families connected to their incarcerated loved ones. But when her father and brother return from prison, she confronts the ultimate question: can she reunite her own family?
USA | 85 min
Directors: Zara Katz, Lisa Riordan Seville
Writer: Kiara C. Jones
Producers: Kiara C. Jones, Zara Katz, Lisa Riordan Seville
Cast: Kristal Bush, Nyvae Scott, Kristal Speaks
American Immigrants *world premiere
Being homeless is an experience not a person.
USA | 60 min
Director: Ken Miles
Writer: Ken MilesProducer: Ken Miles
Cast: Jorge Colina, Nathan White
Black As U R: a Micheal Rice film
Micheal Rice’s kaleidoscopic journey through the fault lines of race, gender and sexuality in America.
USA | 87 min
Director: Micheal Rice
Writer: Micheal Rice
Producer: Edward Radford
Executive Producers: Micheal Rice, Gerald Oxford
Cast: Micheal Rice, Dr. Charlene Sinclair, Michael Roberson
Blind Eye Artist *world premiere
The origin story of painter Justin Wadlington, blind in his left eye.
USA | 76 min
Director: Ashwin Chaudhary
Producers: Ashwin Chaudhary, Jonathan Korn, Justin Wadlington
Cast: Justin Wadlington, Glenn Fuhrman
Drowning in Silence
A mother goes on a healing journey to investigate the silent epidemic of childhood drowning after losing her son.
USA | 81 min
Director: Chezik Tsunoda
Writers: Chezik Tsunoda, Claire Ave’Lallemant
Producers: Hill Harper, Joe Beshenkovsky, Chezik Tsunod
Let The Church Say *world premiere
In a time of racial upheaval and a multitude of woes affecting marginalized communities, a young African American filmmaker journeys to the heart of the Black experience to find the answer to a daunting question: Is the Black church dead?
USA | 70 min
Director: Rafiq J Nabali
Writer: Rafiq J Nabali
Producers: Joe Howell, Nancy Howard, Danielle Nebeliuk
Cast: Jekalyn Carr, Dr. Teresa Fry Brown, Dr. Walter Fluker, Darlene McCoy
Lovely Jackson *world premiere
America’s longest wrongfully held exonerated prisoner, Rickey Jackson, returns to the prison where his 39-year journey of survival began and guides his younger self from death row to freedom.
USA | 104 min
Director: Matt Waldeck
Writers: Rickey Jackson, Matt Waldeck
Producers: Rickey Jackson, Matt Waldeck, Jillian Wolstein, Ben Hecht, Travis Killian
Cast: Rickey Jackson, Edward Vernon, Pr. Anthony Singleton, Mario Beverly, Devito Parker Jr.
The Young Vote *world premiere
Filmmaker Diane Robinson follows a diverse group of students and activists during the 2020 election to understand young peoples’ perceptions of voting and civic engagement.
USA | 67 min
Director: Diane Robinson
Writer: Diane Robinson
Producer: Diane Robinson
Cast: Ariana Tulay, Dariel Cruz Rodriguez, Elena Ashburn, Liz Magallanes, Sophia DeLoretto-Chudy, John King, Bradley Tusk, Jeremy Gruber
A competitive section for short-form episodic television directed by or produced and written by persons of African descent. Each series in this section will compete for the Jury Award for Best Web Series (presented by Comcast NBCUniversal, $2,500 cash prize).
The following are the 2022 official selections in the Web Series category:
Bourn Kind: The Tiny Kindness Project
A Black/Jewish artist creates a project of kindness to celebrate connection in his community.
USA | 12 min
Director: Rachel Myers
Writer: Rachel Myers
Producer: Tamika Lamison, Connie Jo Sechrist, Rachel Myers
Cast: Bourn Rich
The zany misadventures of two sisters navigating the ups and downs of life, as artists, in the wild and unpredictable streets of La La Land.
USA | 7:30 min
Director: Kimberly Dooley
Writer: Kimberly Dooley
Producer: Kimberly Dooley
Cast: Kimberly Dooley, Dayna Dooley
I am Mara *world premiere
Striving to break free from a life of espionage, murder and destructive family ties, Mara sets out to fabricate a new life for herself, but soon realizes the truth will always reveal itself and all sins must be atoned for.
USA | 14:33 min
Directors: Cody Duncum, Demetrius Feaster
Writers: Candace West, Clarinda D’Cruze
Producer: Candace West, Demetrius Feaster, Clarinda D’Cruze
Cast: Candace Kirstin West, Keith Elgin Douglas, Alek President, Jose Navarro, Virginia Elliot, David Chin
Jonathan’s World *U.S. festival premiere
Boy genius sips magical potion causing him to obtain enhanced capabilities.
USA | 14 min
Director: Tyler D. Lambert
Writer: Tyler D. Lambert
Producer: Tyler D. Lambert
Cast: Tyler D. Lambert
Last Name Unknown *world premiere
Beyond Hope Youth Shelter’s homeless youth beat the odds, and find their place in society.
USA | 15 min
Director: Dui Jarrod
Writer: Dui Jarrod
Producers: Kevin “Coach K” Lee, Pierre “Pee” Thomas, Dui Jarrod, Chris Hicks,
Cast: Chakeefe Gordon, Erika Norrell, Braxton Jordan, Lindsey G. Smith
Layered, “Stalker” *world premiere
A series following three black women from Philadelphia, two of them Muslim, trying to break into the media industry while being met with challenges in mental health, faith and loss due to gun violence.
USA | 12:57 min
Director: Zareefa Abdul-Adl
Writers: Arraiyan DuBose, Aiko Brown, Zareefa Abdul-Adl
Producers: Aiko Brown, Arraiyan DuBose, Zareefa Abdul-Adl
Cast: Merceedes White, LaPorscha Rodgers, Aisha Saran
Little Lawyer *U.S. festival premiere
A six-year-old girl with aspirations of being an attorney puts her little brother on trial after she discovers her toy is inoperative.
USA | 12 min
Director: Sam Buckner III
Writer: Sam Buckner III
Producers: Sam Buckner, Samantha O. Buckner
Cast: Sophia Dejesus, London Sinead, Wyatt Hinz, Ayani Tamar, Brandon. L Ward,
When the sudden disappearance of water — their main life source — threatens to upend a vibrant utopia, an intrepid teen named Blaze must save their community before it’s too late.
USA | 12:30 min
Directors: Randall Dottin, Luisa Dantas
Writers: Randall Dottin, Angela Tucker, Paige Wood, Luisa Dantas, Rise-Home Stories Project
Producers: Randall Dottin, Angela Tucker, Paige Wood, Luisa Dantas, Rise-Home Stories Project, Anna Lee, Russell Hornsby
Cast: Russell Hornsby, Denny Dillon, Imani Russell, Kaya Fraites, Sunni Patterson
The Green Couch (Ep. 2) *world premiere
Psychologist Dr. Rhemington Lee engages patients in an unwitting experiment of truth as each convene on The Green Couch.
USA | 14:08 min
Director: Mirlande Amazan
Writer: Mirlande Amazan
Producer: Mirlande Amazan
Cast: Mirlande Amazan, Antuone Torbert; narrated by Gordon Greene
The Whippersnappers *world premiere
OG, Big Mama and Foegy, aka “The Oldheads,” growing tired of the same routine, decide to use technology to become younger.
USA | 4:56 min
Director: Ryan Cole
Writer: Ryan Cole
Producer: Ryan Cole
Cast: Ryan Cole
ABFF 2022 sponsors and partners to date include Warner Bros. Discovery & HBO® (Founding); Cadillac, City of Miami Beach, Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB), Sony Pictures Entertainment, Prime Video (Presenting); American Airlines, Comcast NBCUniversal, Meta, IMDb (Premier); ALLBLK, Prudential Financial, Variety, TV One, Netflix, Starz, Disney+ (Official); Accenture, Motion Pictures Association (MPA), A&E Indie Films, Springhill Company, The Boston Globe, Color of Change, Confluential Films (Supporting).
For festival information and to obtain an ABFF pass, visit www.abff.com. Pre-registration closes May 13.