The Humor Mill

HBO Short Film Competition At ABFF Launches Call For Submissions

Posted Oct 16, 2018

The 23rd annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF) returns to Miami from June 12-16, 2019 and continues to showcase quality film and television content by and about people of African descent. Film submissions are now open, with over $50,000 in cash and prizes being awarded at the festival’s Best of ABFF Awards presentation.

HBO® is the founding sponsor of the festival and is launching its 22nd consecutive short film competition today. Past winning directors of this competition include Ryan Coogler, Steven Caple, Jr., Solvan Naim, Kiel Adrian Scott, and Rashaad Ernesto Green, all of whom have gone on to direct studio films and network television episodes.

“As a founding sponsor, HBO has shared the American Black Film Festival’s mission to elevate the world of black film and to introduce and connect talented newcomers to the industry. Now more than ever, we want to continue elevating unique, bold and emerging talent,” said Dennis Williams, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Corporate Social Responsibility, HBO.

Festival attendees will have their choice of over seventy programs and events, including celebrity conversations, panels, master classes, spotlight screenings and hospitality lounges, in addition to screenings in four competitive categories: Narrative Features, Documentary Features, Web Series and Short Films. A distinguished panel of jurors, who will be announced at a later date, will determine the winners.

“The American Black Film Festival is thrilled to be partnered with HBO for the past 22 years. Together, we have identified many of today’s most prolific storytellers who have been instrumental in ushering a new generation of artists to the film and television industry. Our goal is to remain the most prominent pipeline of undiscovered talent in front of and behind the camera,” said Jeff Friday, CEO and Founder, ABFF Ventures.

Below is a brief description for each category. For complete submission criteria and eligibility visit


–         HBO® Short Film Competition: Regarded as one of the most prestigious short film showcases in the country, five filmmakers are selected as finalists and receive a trip to the festival in Miami Beach, Fla. (including airfare and hotel accommodations) for an opportunity to screen their short film at the American Black Film Festival in Miami. Films must have a maximum runtime of 20 minutes, inclusive of credits.

–         Narrative Features: Films that tell a fictional story, event or narrative.

–         Documentaries: Nonfiction films intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction, education, or creating and maintaining a historical record.

–         Web Series: Short form narrative or documentary episodic television series.


–        World Showcase: A non-competitive section for narrative and documentary feature films made by persons of African descent or depicting a multicultural experience.

–         Emerging Directors: Narratives, documentaries, message-related videos and other content from directors of African descent.

–        Social Impact Screenings: A showcase for films based on cause-related topics affecting communities of color. The 2019 Social Impact Screenings topic will be Fatherhood: The Foundation of the Black Family.

Festival passes are on sale now at, and offer five (5) different levels of access to festival events. Questions regarding registration may be directed to

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