This year’s American Black Film Festival lineup is stacked with some of the top names in Hollywood as well as emerging voices including a screening of Reginald Hudlin’s The Black Godfather, a conversation with Spike Lee and his protege Stefon Bristol as well as the five finalists for HBO Short Film Competition, which is now in its 22nd year. The fest takes place June 12-16 in Miami.
The program will also include the previously announced opening night film Shaft. New Line Cinema’s reboot of the iconic character will screen at the fest ahead of its June 14 release. In addition, Netflix will screen the Chris Robinson-directed Beats, a coming-of-age drama set in Chicago’s South Side hip-hop scene starring Anthony Anderson.
“Beyond the Spider-Verse: What’s Next for Sony Pictures Animation” will be a conversation between Academy Award-winner Peter Ramsey (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), Matthew A. Cherry (Hair Love) and Karen Tolliver (SVP of Creative, Sony Pictures Animation). The fest will also include “The Art of Directing” which will feature Malcolm D. Lee (Night School), Steven Caple, Jr. (Creed II), George Tillman Jr. (The Hate You Give) and Boots Riley (Sorry to Bother You).
Other screenings include TV One’s The Bobby Debarge Story, Sherman’s Showcase as well as OWN’s David Makes Man and Ambitions. There will also be a 25th-anniversary screening of Matty Rich’s The Inkwell.
Read the complete lineup of films below.
2019 | USA | 105 min
Directed & Written by: Charles Murray
Produced by: Jackie Stone
Cast: Dorian Missick, Simone Missick, Michael Beach, Terrell Tilford, Victoria Platt
Logline: After a journalists’ cousin commits suicide, he investigates what caused her to take her life and the people he believes are responsible.
ALL IN (World Premiere)
2018 | USA | 105 min
Directed by: Ibrahim Yilla
Written by: Tressa Azarel Smallwood, Iman Smallwood, Leslie Allen
Produced by: Kia Freeman, Gregory Freeman, Tressa Azarel Smallwood, Audrea Topps-Harjo
Cast: Niatia “Lil Mama” Kirkland, Elise Neal, Robert Christopher Riley, Lyric Hurd, Lena Anthony, Jim Jones, Traci Braxton
Logline: A dysfunctional single mother gets pulled back into a life of crime while trying to make a better future for her three children.
HIS, HERS & THE TRUTH (World Premiere)
2018 | USA | 90 min
Directed & Written by: Coke Daniels
Produced by: Vanzil Burke, Victor Burke, Cristina Davis, Errol Sadler
Cast: Brad James, Ashley A. Williams, Terri J. Vaughn, Dorien Wilson, Cocoa Brown Dawn Halfkenny, Duane Finley, Kaye Singleton, Edsel Love Patterson, Shacai O’Neal, Karon Riley, Erin Elizabeth Feest
Logline: Alan and Tanya have been acquaintances for years, but have yet to become romantically involved, until now.
IF NOT NOW, WHEN? (World Premiere)
2019 | USA | 126 min
Directed by: Meagan Good, Tamara Bass
Written by: Tamara Bass
Produced by: Meagan Good, Tamara Bass, Sway Calloway, LaMyia Good, Datari Turner
Cast: Meagan Good, Meagan Holder, Mekia Cox, Tamara Bass, Valarie Pettiford
Logline: A story about love, forgiveness, sisterhood and second chances.
2018 |USA | 88 min
Directed & Written by: Numa Perrier
Produced by: Numa Perrier, Winter Dunn, Dwayne Dugger II
Cast: Tiffany Tenille, Numa Perrier, Stephen Barrington, Bobby Field, Brett Gelman
Logline: In the last days of her mother’s life, 19-year old Tiffany crashes with five family members in a Las Vegas studio apartment. In order to make ends meet, her older sister, a phone sex operator, introduces her to the world of internet fetish cam girls.
2018 | USA | 106 min
Directed & Written by: Stephanie Turner
Produced by: Angie Edgar, Louise Shore, Stephanie Turner, Glynn Turman
Cast: Glynn Turman, Stephanie Turner, Darby Stanchfield, Josh Stamberg, Cleo King, Bridget Kallal, Ravi Cabot-Conyers
Logline: A single mom of two takes a job as a nanny to an 8-year old girl with spina bifida. At first an unlikely pair, the two end up helping one another overcome personal obstacles.
LOVE DOT COM – THE SOCIAL EXPERIMENT (World Premiere)
2019 | USA | 98 min
Directed by: Charneice Fox
Written by: Charneice Fox, Michelle Sewell
Produced by: BK Fulton, Jacquelyn E. Stone, Monty Ross, Michele Lopez, Kimberly C. Gaines, Charneice Fox
Cast: Brave Williams, Tobias Truvillion, Kym Whitley, LisaRae McCoy, Charles Malik Whitfield, Wes Felton Raheem DeVaughn, Christopher Williams
Logline: A vegan chef with a broken heart and an exhausted budget finds love face to face but opts for technology to make the final decision.
2019 | USA | 99 min
Directed & Written by: Van Elder
Produced by: Van Elder, Jela Okpara
Cast: Erica Hubbard, Torrei Hart, Dominique Perry, J. Alphonse Nicholson, Omar Gooding
Logline: A quirky and successful optometrist in the twilight of her life turns to her friends for help in finding social fulfillment, but she has ignored one particular place…Within.
PRINCESS OF THE ROW
2018 | USA | 85 min
Directed by: Van Maximilian Carlson
Written by: Van Maximilian Carlson, A. Shawn Austin
Produced by: A. Shawn Austin
Cast: Tayler Buck, Edi Gathegi, Ana Ortiz, Jacob Vargas and Martin Sheen
Logline: The inspiring tale of a runaway foster child who will stop at nothing to live with the only family she knows: her father… a homeless mentally ill veteran who lives on the streets of LA’s Skid Row.
SAME DIFFERENCE (World Premiere)
2019 | USA | 88 min
Directed & Written by: Derege Harding
Produced by: Datari Turner
Cast: Essence Atkins, Terrence Jenkins, Edwina Findley, Demetrius Shipp, Jr., Melvin Gregg, Ginger Gonzaga, Page Kennedy, Kandi Burruss, Affion Crockett, Lew Temple
Logline: As Tonya Keating grapples with the innate knowledge that her death is imminent, she is compelled to let go of the past and reconcile with her estranged twin sister.
2018 | USA | 82 min
Directed by: Robert Rippberger
Written by: Piper Dellums, Sha-Risse Smith
Produced by: Robert Rippberger, Ace Salvador, Hiroki Kamada, Piper Dellums, Scott M. Rosenfelt, Tobias Deml
Cast: Joie Campbell, Ricky Flowers Jr., Chelsea Williams, Danny Glover, Shaylin Becton
Logline: A teenager from the projects in Harlem aims to get into Yale, but must push against the world holding her back.
UNA GREAT MOVIE
2018 | USA/MEXICO | 102 min
Directed & Written by: Jennifer Sharp
Produced by: Jennifer Sharp, Matthew Morgan
Cast: JoNell Kennedy, Numa Perrier, Jose Casasús, Jake Olson
Logline: A beautiful diverse movie about a black American in Mexico, slowly becomes a romantic comedy with an all-white cast.
2018 | USA | 70 min
Directed by: Lily Keber
Produced by: Lily Keber, Stephen Rose
Principal Subject(s): Mia X, Mannie Fresh, Ausettua AmorAmenkum, Nicholas Payton, DJ Jubilee
Logline: Buckjumping follows six dancing communities as they demonstrate ownership of
the streets of New Orleans, commemorate their dead, forge community and find spiritual transcendence.
CHICAGO AT THE CROSSROAD (World Premiere)
2018 | USA | 83 min
Directed by: Brian Schodorf
Written by: Brian Schodorf, Afrika Porter
Produced by: Malik Yusef, Afrika Porter, Nathan Weber, Brian Schodorf, Burundi Partlow, Randy Crumpton, Malachi Gross
Principal Subject(s): Malik Yusef, Leonard GLC Harris, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Father Michael Pfleger, Arne Duncan
Logline: Where did Chicago go wrong? Chicago at the Crossroad tells the story of a city caught in the aftermath of a policy of mass displacement shaded by a long history of segregation.
ONE CHILD LEFT BEHIND: THE UNTOLD ATLANTA CHEATING SCANDAL
2018 | USA | 87 min
Directed & Written by: Jodi Gomes
Produced by: Jodi Gomes, Anthony McLemore, Ladawn Jones, Marsha Hallager
Principal Subject(s): Dana Evans, Tamara Cotman, Christopher Waller, Diane Ravitch, Lamar Waldron
Logline: In 2009, 1,176 Atlanta teachers were investigated for test cheating; 35 were indicted, 12 went to trial and 11 were found guilty on RICO charges. The guilty, serving 30-year sentences, finally break their silence in this tell-all film.
THE TAKEOVER: THE REVOLUTION OF THE BLACK EXPERIENCE AT NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY (World Premiere)
2018 | USA | 62 min
Directed by: Eric D. Seals
Written by: Donnie Seals Jr.
Produced by: Brittany Applegate
Principal Subject(s): Daphne Maxwell Reid, Kathryn Ogletree, Clovis Semmes, Michael Wilbon, Harry Lennix
Logline: In 1968, more than 100 black Northwestern students took over the school’s Bursar’s Office for 38 hours to demand equal rights.
2019 | USA/CANADA/GERMANY | 78 min
Directed & Written by: Rodney Evans
Produced by: Rodney Evans, Rob Wunder
Principal Subject(s): Rodney Evans, John Dugdale, Kayla Hamilton and Ryan Knighton
Logline: A documentary that chronicles the creative paths of blind and visually impaired artists including a photographer, dancer, writer and the film’s director.
HBO SHORT FILMS
CAP (World Premiere)
2019 | USA | 16 min
Directed & Written by: Marshall Tyler
Produced by: Moira Griffin, Marshall Tyler
Cast: Medina Senghore, Tunde Adebimpe, Dusan Brown
Logline: 15-year-old Manny Bennitt learns the hard way the price of being cool.
EVELYN X EVELYN
2018 | USA | 13 min
Directed & Written by: Eric Pumphrey
Produced by: Angelo Pullen, Tommy Savas, Luke Baybak, Jenna Johnson, Judy Craig
Cast: Natalie Paul, Jocko Sims
Logline: Grief can be overwhelming for just us to tackle alone.
2018 | JAMAICA | 13 min
Directed by: Kia Moses, Adrian McDonald
Written by: Kia Moses
Produced by: Tashara-Lee Johnson
Cast: Rohiem Phillips, Craig Robinson, Jermaine ‘Zbek’ Nelson, Danielo Reid, Akalia Golding, Christopher McKoy
Logline: A Jamaican boy sets out on a dream, ten times his size, to fly to the moon, despite his circumstances and father’s opposition.
2018 | GHANA | 15 min
Directed & Written by: Zoey Martinson
Produced by: Kofi Owusu Afriyie, Zoey Martinson
Cast: Ziggy Netteyson, Kiki-Romi, Elizabeth Nortey
Logline: An aging fisherman goes out to sea one day and returns with a talking fish.
WEDNESDAY (World Premiere)
2018 | USA | 13 min
Directed by: Daniel Willis
Written by: Jessica D. Shields
Produced by: Melina Lizette, Mariyam Mahbub
Cast: Mychala Lee, Chene Lawson
Logline: Recently homeless and living in a car with her mother, a teenage girl commits a reckless act, desperate to rescue a vestige of their former life.
BLACK GIRLS GUIDE TO FERTILITY
2018 | USA | 20 min
Directed by: Crystle Roberson
Written by: Sonhara Eastman
Produced by: Sonhara Eastman, Ronald Eastman II, Carmen K. Jones
Cast: Raney Branch, Monyetta Shaw, Ali Amin Carter, Cindy Jefferson, Nicky Buggs, Jamir Vega
Logline: Ava is a 37-year-old romance novelist who faded into obscurity after finding love-and now finds herself on the rise again after self-publishing a diary detailing her fertility woes.
KING ESTER (World Premiere)
2018 | USA | 20 min
Directed & Written by: Dui Jarrod
Produced by: Angelica Ross, Caralene Robinson, Ryan Robertson, Jon Mallow
Cast: DeJaye Joseph, Angelica Ross, Janet Hubert, Dane Edidi, Martin L. Bradford, Lindsey G. Smith, LJ Scott, Roland Lane, Omar Washington
Logline: A bold-living trans woman must decide whether to stay or leave New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina approaches.
2018 | USA | 14 min
Directed & Written by: Riley S. Wilson
Produced by: Riley S. Wilson, Lisa Cortes, Okema T. Moore, Angel Lenise
Cast: Apple Montague, Milan Williams, Charlene Montague, Gabrielle Eitienne
Logline: For Apple, a 9-year-old Harlem girl, a new school year brings new enemies, new special abilities and a new neighborhood in the midst of natural and supernatural conflict.
2018 | USA | 20 min
Directed & Written by: Alexander Etseyatse
Produced by: Ebony Lewis, Lily Johnson
Cast: Alexander Etseyatse, Dwinsley Homere, Keithen Hergott, Murray Adams
Logline: A mentally unstable young man struggles to win his old life back.
2018 | USA | 13 min
Directed by: Winter Dunn
Written by: Moni Oyedepo
Produced by: Arielle Noel, Moni Oyedepo
Cast: Moni Oyedepo, Chinedu Unaka, Adriyan Rae, Ego Nwodim
Logline: Platonic is the story of two friends who overlook their “mild” attraction to each other for the good of the friendship.
TALES FROM THE BIG APPLE (World Premiere)
2018 | NIGERIA | 12 min
Directed & Written by: Victor Okoye Frank (Victor O’Frank)
Produced by: Mina Sanosi
Cast: Emmanuel Ogonna, Abdulazeem Dulo Harris, Andrea-Rachel Parker
Logline: Emeka is new to the big apple, does he have what it takes to survive the big city?
EMERGING DIRECTORS SHOWCASE
2018 | USA | 16 min
Directed & Written by: Martina Lee
Produced by: Robbin Rae / Yana Bille
Cast: Stevie Johnson, Even Alex, Hilty Bowen, Rebecca King Crews, Tiwana Floyd
Logline: An Afrocentric podcast host goes on a quest to find his idol Harambe Cornell, but is stuck taking care of his 9-year-old son who wants to participate in the Mr. Rainbow’s Contest dressed as a blueberry.
GUMMI BEAR (World Premiere)
2019 | USA | 18 min
Directed & Written by: RJ Dawson
Produced by: Rebecca Shuhan Lou
Cast: Amari O’Neal, Darielle Dorsey, Candice Renee, Javon Terrell
Logline: A brother and sister learn just how difficult it can be to be kids on an average day of life.
HEAVENLY (World Premiere)
2019 | USA | 13 min
Directed & Written by: Ya’Ke Smith
Produced by: Ya’Ke Smith, Ralph Lopez, Marcos Luis, Nina Noble, Felicia D. Henderson
Cast: Ashlee Smallwood, Billie D. Merritt, Alan Trong, Mikala Gibson, Shelton Jolivette
Logline: Crystal, a former ballet dancer, returns home after being sex-trafficked and struggles to shake the physical and psychological trauma she endured while in “the life.”
2019 | USA | 11 min
Directed & Written by: Rodney Stringfellow
Produced by: Anil Dhokai
Cast: Alfonso Freeman, Kennedy Johnson
Logline: On her 10th birthday, a little girl is scared that her father will make her undergo the same violent rite of passage her older brothers went through.
MEREBA (World Premiere)
2019 | USA | 7 min
Directed by: Dawit N.M.
Written by: Dawit N.M., Marian Mereba
Produced by: Alexandre Pagot, Salim El Arja, Jordan Cardos, Benjamin Narich, Melanie Parisi, Theo Lemonnier
Cast: Marian Mereba, Jalan Durimel, Jibril Durimel, Zalma Bour, Jade Frank, Sam Hoffman, Mallory Leisten, Solomon S. Yenesu
Logline: The emotions of life framed together—the jungle breaks us, but also makes us.
2019 | USA | 13 min
Directed & Written by: Jewel McPherson
Produced by: Arthur Cohen, Ryan Patrick, Ruth Ferrera, Shamier Anderson, Lisa Stepp
Cast: Shamier Anderson, Marley Garner
Logline: In the near future a grieving African American father fights to save the life of his young zombie daughter.
NO TRAVELER RETURNS
2019 | USA/IVORY COAST | 12 min
Directed & Written by: Ellie Foumbi
Produced by: Ellie Foumbi, Joseph Mastantuono
Cast: Souléymane Sy Savané, Dawuda Jabbie, Fatouma Jabbie, Maba Ba
Logline: A young African immigrant’s struggles to adjust to life in America push him towards an existential crisis.
2018 | USA | 19 min
Directed & Written by: Simone Lyles
Produced by: Simone Lyles, Patrick Boyd
Cast: Christina Childress, Maxine Goynes, Hugo Pierre Martin
Logline: In 1982, Kora’s self-help conversion tapes only seem to push her closer to the truth about her feelings for her best friend.
2018 | USA | 18 min
Directed & Written by: Maxwell Addae
Produced by: Mis Loe
Cast: Thomas Daniel Smith, Theodore Mark Martinez
Logline: A young man attends his new nephew’s Ghanaian baby-naming ceremony with a plan to steal the money collected to run away and keep a secret hidden.
2018 | USA | 12 min
Directed & Written by: Keith Powell
Produced by: Jeremy O’Keefe, Graham Patrick Martin, Keith Powell, Matt Miller
Cast: Bashir Salahuddin, Ana Ortiz, Wallace Langham, Vladimir Caamano
Logline: A building manager dealing with his own grief must help his tenant perform a messy task at her daughter’s quinceañera.
SOULS (World Premiere)
2018 | USA | 15 min
Directed & Written by: Malakai
Produced by: Anna Hashmi, Stephen Love, Marquita Bradley
Cast: Tabitha Browne, Johan Beckles, Nia Chanel
Logline: Unable to deal with her grandmother’s declining mental and physical health, a young girl uses her cardboard spaceship to escape her reality before the matriarch of her family dies.
SUICIDE BY SUNLIGHT
2018 | USA | 17 min
Directed by: Nikiyatu
Written by: Nikyatu, Robin Shanea Williams
Produced by: Nikkia Moulterie
Cast: Natalie Paul
Logline: Valentina, a day-walking black vampire protected from the sun by her melanin, is forced to restrain her bloodlust to regain custody of her estranged daughters.
2018 | UK | 17 min
Directed & Written by: Annetta Laufer
Produced by: Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor
Cast: Naomi Ackie, Anthony Welsh, Sharlene Whyte
Logline: A young Caribbean woman struggles to adapt to her new life in the revered “Mother Country” of 1960s Britain.
2018 | USA | 11 min
Directed & Written by: Kristian King
Produced by: Chester Algernal, Ritu Bansal, Ria Tobaccowala
Cast: Veanna Black, Jasmyn Coleman, Michael Mario Good, Greta Glenn
Logline: Lisa has been blessed with a gifted child, but must grapple with the costs of utilizing this miracle to keep a roof over her family’s heads.
2018 |USA | 14 min
Directed & Written by: Sanicole (Sandrel Young)
Produced by: Natasha Parker, Lil Rel Howery, Kevin Fredericks, Sanicole, Richard Thomas
Cast: Zuri McPhearson, Tiffany Renee Johnson, Josiah Fredericks, Deron Powell, Messiah Equiano, David Leonard
Logline: An incredibly gifted little girl uses her telepathic powers to bring her wayward father home.
2018 | ITALY | 14 min
Directed by: Nadia Kibout
Written by: Nadia Kibout, Ersilia Cacace
Produced by: Alessandra Lo Savio, Giorgia Lo Savio (Jinga Pictures)
Cast: Nadia Kibout, Paola Lavini, Matteo Carlomagno, Damian Lo Pinto
Logline: How can seemingly different cultures co-exist? Nadia, a Muslim woman, and Imma, an Italian Catholic woman, meet each other and share an unexpected day.
WORLDS FROM HOME (World Premiere)
2019 | USA | 14 min
Directed & Written by: Delmar Washington
Produced by: Delmar Washington, Lynette Coll, Natasha Ward
Cast: Affion Crockett, Eli Rubio, Lynette Coll, Jason R. Moore
Logline: After their RV breaks down in the Mojave Desert, a father and his young son experience a series of challenges while rebuilding their relationship, including an encounter with a mysterious creature.
ZAHRA AND THE OIL MAN (World Premiere)
2018 | USA | 20 min
Directed by: Yucef Mayes
Written by: Yucef Mayes, Aaron Melvin
Produced by: Yucef Mayes, Aaron Melvin
Cast: Megan Hackett, Brian Dives, LJ Nelson, Saladine Stafford
Logline: Zahra, the daughter of a Muslim street merchant, fights to save her father’s struggling business in hopes of changing the trajectory of her family’s financial future.
MUSIC IN MOTION SHOWCASE
BIRTH OF AFROBEAT
2018 | USA | 7 min
Directed & Written by: Opiyo Okeyo
Produced by: Opiyo Okeyo, David Glines
Cast: Tony Allen
Logline: Drum icon Tony Allen reveals how he created Africa’s biggest music genre.
BLACK GIRL POEM (World Premiere)
2019 | USA | 2 min
Directed & Written by: Daryl Paris Bright
Produced by: Daryl Paris Bright, Ariel Zucker (CNT Productions)
Cast: Daryl Paris Bright, Amber Jones, Claudia Logan
Logline: In Black Girl Poem, black women take a surrealist approach in confronting the power dynamic of sexual harassment within the African American community.
2018 | USA | 10 min
Directed & Written by: Gynai Kristol
Produced by: Bruce Fields
Cast: Gynai Kristol, Donnay Ragland, Al-Shabazz Jabateh
Logline: G finds herself caught up with someone unworthy of her time, but finally gains a sense of self-worth allowing her to entertain the right guy for her. But just because she moves on doesn’t mean her old friend will.
LOVE CONQUERS ALL (World Premiere)
2018 | USA | 5 min
Directed by: Mr. Boomtown
Written by: Farrah Parker, Ramon Montgomery
Produced by: Anthony Hamilton, Farrah Parker, Ramon Montgomery
Cast: Ezra Wright, Jakira Mouzon, Jina Smith, Greg Paroff, Kenneth Raphael, Keith Way
Logline: Grammy Award Winner Anthony Hamilton presents Love Conquers All, a short film that addresses the social injustices that plague our nation.
MAKEITTAKEIT (World Premiere)
2018 | USA | 3 min
Directed by: Justin Rhodes, Kory Williams
Written & Produced by: Justin Rhodes
Cast: J. Rhodes
Logline: 2019 officially marks 400 years since the first slaves landed in America. J. Rhodes was tasked with breaking down these 400 years into a 3-minute, 23-second lyric-based visual.
MENTAL EXORCISM (World Premiere)
2018 | USA | 4 min
Directed by: John “Dr Teeth” Tucker
Written by: Brad Scarface Jordan
Produced by: John “Dr Teeth” Tucker
Cast: Brad “Scarface” Jordan
Logline: In the gripping music video, MTV & BET acclaimed video director John “Dr Teeth” Tucker and legendary rap artist Scarface engage a never-ending social juxtaposition: citizen vs cop.