The American Black Film Festival (originally called the Acalpulco Black Film Festival) is an independent film festival that focuses primarily on black film -- works by Black members of the film industry. It is held to recognize achievements of film actors of African descent and to honor films that stand out in their portrayal of Black experience.
It has been called "the nation’s most prominent film festival." [ citation needed ]. The American Black Film Festival was formerly named the Black Movie Awards.The festival is held annually and features full-length narratives, short films, mobile entertainment (defined by the official website as "all short form content including experimental films, music videos and webisodes"), and documentaries, all by and/or featuring Black writers, directors, actors, and actresses. The festival is held annually in Miami Beach
The first American Black Film Festival (originally called the Acapulco Black Film Festival, or ABFF, until the name was changed in 2002) was held in June 1997.The aim of its founders, Jeff Friday, Byron E. Lewis and Warrington Hudlin, was to create a venue at which members of "Black Hollywood" could meet, network, collaborate, and celebrate Black cinema. In an interview, Friday said that one of the main motivations for the festival was that, "All minorities are shut down from the private party we call Hollywood. We are let in one at a time, and the masses don't get the information, or don't have access to the decision making, or are not in a position to green-light a project. What we have plan[ned] is more of the same, which is more information, more network opportunities, and to further our mission to provide minorities and people of color with a fair shot at breaking into the Hollywood system."
Lewis, CEO of UniWorld Group, and Friday, at the time president of UniWorld’s film division, met with Hudlin, then-president of the Black Filmmakers Foundation, to speak about (and were ultimately inspired to create the festival by) the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s call to boycott the Oscars as a result of the lack of Black nominees that year.The Oscars had historically had a reputation for leaving out Black members of cinema; until 1980, only two African-Americans had won academy awards for acting. The founders of the ABFF decided, though, that rather than investing time and energy in supporting a boycott, they would hold an event of their own to celebrate Black cinematic achievements, and thus the festival was born.
In its first years, the festival was held in Acapulco, Mexico. The first annual festival had a turnout of about 600.Over five days, nine independent films were screened and seven awards were given, recognizing "artistic achievement" (male and female), "best actor," "best actress," "best director," "film of the year," and "soundtrack of the year."
In 1998, HBO established the HBO Short Film Award to be presented at the ABFF to honor works in the genre of short film.HBO thus became a major partner and supporter of the ABFF, along with UniWorld and the Black Filmmakers Foundation.
1999 saw the festival’s first Trailblazer award for significant contributions to Black screen media.This award would remain a consistent part of the festival until 2002.
In 2000, the Lincoln Filmmaker’s Trophy was established. This award was one of only two honors, along with the HBO Short Film Award, that would survive the festival’s move to Florida in 2002.
Early hosts and presenters included Robert Townsend (1997), Denzel Washington (1998), Isaac Hayes (1999 and 2000), and Mari Morrow and Kim Whitley who co-hosted the event in 2001.
Aside from awards, the festival in its early incarnations had seminars, actors’ training workshops and meet-and-greets, all with the aim of strengthening the skills and networks of Black filmmakers, actors and actresses, and screenwriters.
The year 2002 saw many changes for the film festival. Jeff Friday, who one year previous had purchased UniWorld Film (and rebranded it as Film Life), took over execution of the festival, which he renamed the American Black Film Festival (also abbreviated as ABFF). Since its transformation in 2002, the ABFF has drawn new corporate sponsors (including Grey Goose, Ford, NBC, CBS, and Nickelodeon) and a dramatically increased attendance.
It was first Black Movie Awards was televised in 2005, with a ceremony hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, which was aired on Turner Network Television;the 2006 ceremony hosted by Tyler Perry.
The first American Black Film Festival was held in South Beach, Florida on June 26. The Festival stayed in Florida until 2007 when it was moved to Los Angeles, California, in an effort to attract more celebrity attendees and thereby generating more general interest in the festival. While initially successful, the change in venue ultimately resulted in a decline in attendance from members of the actual Black filmmaking community. The festival changed venues once more in 2010, returning to Florida, and it was confirmed that the 2011 festival would be held in South Beach.
Recent notable films screened at the ABFF between include crime film Takers and Stomp the Yard 2 , sequel to the 2007 dance-based drama.
The 2011 festival ran from July 6 through July 9.
Over the course of the festival, there are numerous events held at numerous locations. Typically, there will be an opening ceremony, either featuring a big-name movie or an award presentation. The following three (some years four) days will include screenings of other films, actors’ and directors’ workshops (for example, 2010’s "Master Class on Cinematography led by Cliff Charles"), and symposiums (for example 2010’s "Inside Nickelodeon" symposium). Each year, the festival concludes with the main awards ceremony.Hosts of this ceremony have included: Robert Townsend and Shaun Robinson (co-hosts), Anthony Anderson, and Niecy Nash.
Below is a list of the ABFF’s current advisory board, and the members’ professional affiliations, as found on the official website.
The festival has five objectives, or "Programming Initiatives"which are:
Below is a list of award winners and honorees of the Acapulco Black Film Festival.
Below is a list of American Black Film Festival award winners and honorees.
The ABFF has been acclaimed for its positive effect on the Black filmmaking community. The festival has through its various programs helped the careers of countless actors, writers and directors. Numerous Hollywood insiders, including director Antoine Fuqua (Director of ‘’Training Day’’) and Charlie Jordan Brookins of MTV Films have endorsed the festival, as well as rapper/actor Common who has stated that, "[I]t’s a good vehicle to get out great art that we... want the world to see."
The history of cinema in Poland is almost as long as the history of cinematography, and it has universally recognized achievements, even though Polish films tend to be less commercially available than films from several other European nations.
The Locarno Film Festival is an annual film festival held every August in Locarno, Switzerland. Founded in 1946, it is one of the longest-running film festivals, and is also known for being a prestigious platform for art house films. The festival screens films in various competitive and non-competitive sections, including feature-length narrative and documentary, short, avant-garde, and retrospective programs. The Piazza Grande section is held in one of the world's largest open-air screening venues, seating 8,000 spectators.
The Cinemanila International Film Festival is an annual film festival held in Manila, the Philippines. It was founded by Filipino filmmaker Amable "Tikoy" Aguiluz in 1999. The focus of the festival is on the cinema of the Philippines as well as Southeast Asian cinema.
The 64th annual Venice International Film Festival, held in Venice, Italy, opened on 29 August 2007, with Joe Wright's Atonement and closed 8 September 2007. Host of the event was Italian actress Ambra Angiolini. The Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to American director Tim Burton. Once again all the films running the contest were shown for the first time as world premieres in keeping with the festival tradition since the Second World War.
The Dublin International Film Festival, known for sponsorship reasons as the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival (VMDIFF), is a film festival held in Dublin, Ireland, since 2003.
The SAFILM – San Antonio Film Festival was founded in 1994 by Adam Rocha as a video festival, which sported a logo of a naughty-looking angel. It was later renamed the San Antonio Underground Film Festival and then finally the SAFILM – San Antonio Film Festival. It is now the biggest film festival in South Texas.
Jan Dunn is a British filmmaker, who made her feature length directorial debut in 2005 with the film Gypo, starring Paul McGann and Pauline McLynn, which won a British Independent Film Award for Best Production. It was the first British film to be made under the Dogme 95 rules.
The Dallas International Film Festival, presented by the Dallas Film, is an annual film festival that takes place in Dallas, Texas. It is the largest film festival in North Texas.
The 67th annual Venice International Film Festival held in Venice, Italy, took place from 1 to 11 September 2010. American film director and screenwriter Quentin Tarantino was the head of the Jury. The opening film of the festival was Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, and the closing film was Julie Taymor's The Tempest. John Woo was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement prior to the start of the Festival.
The 64th Cannes Film Festival was held from 11 to 22 May 2011. American actor Robert De Niro served as the president of the jury for the main competition and French filmmaker Michel Gondry headed the jury for the short film competition. South Korean film director Bong Joon-ho was the head of the jury for the Caméra d'Or prize, which is awarded to the best first-time filmmaker. The American film The Tree of Life, directed by Terrence Malick won the Palme d'Or.
The Provincetown International Film Festival (PIFF) is an annual film festival founded in 1999 and held in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The festival presents an array of American and international narrative features, documentaries and short films for five days in June of each year.
The 68th annual Venice International Film Festival was held in Venice, Italy between 31 August and 10 September 2011. American film director Darren Aronofsky was announced as the Head of the Jury. American actor and film director Al Pacino was presented with the Glory to the Film-maker award on 4 September, prior to the premiere of his upcoming film Wilde Salomé. Marco Bellocchio was awarded with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in September. The festival opened with the American film The Ides of March, directed by George Clooney, and closed with Damsels in Distress by Whit Stillman.
The 65th Cannes Film Festival was held from 16 to 27 May 2012. Italian film director Nanni Moretti was the President of the Jury for the main competition and British actor Tim Roth was the President of the Jury for the Un Certain Regard section. French actress Bérénice Bejo hosted the opening and closing ceremonies.
The 71st annual Venice International Film Festival took place in Venice, Italy between 27 August to 6 September 2014. The festival opened with Alejandro G. Iñárritu's film Birdman, and closed with Ann Hui's drama film The Golden Era. Italian actress Luisa Ranieri hosted the opening and closing nights of the festival. The Swedish film A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, directed by Roy Andersson, won the Golden Lion, and Joshua Oppenheimer's The Look of Silence won the Grand Jury Prize.
The 72nd annual Venice International Film Festival took place from 2 to 12 September 2015. Alfonso Cuarón served as the President of the Jury for the main competition. A restored version of Federico Fellini's film Amarcord was shown at the festival. The Venezuelan film From Afar by Lorenzo Vigas won the Golden Lion award.
The 69th Cannes Film Festival was held from 11 to 22 May 2016. Australian director George Miller was the President of the Jury for the main competition. French actor Laurent Lafitte was the host for the opening and closing ceremonies. On 15 March it was announced that Japanese director Naomi Kawase would serve as the Cinéfondation and Short Film Jury president. American director Woody Allen's film Café Society opened the festival.
The 67th annual Berlin International Film Festival was held from 9 to 18 February 2017 with Dutch filmmaker Paul Verhoeven as President of the Jury. Django, directed by Etienne Comar, opened the festival. The Golden Bear was awarded to the Hungarian film On Body and Soul directed by Ildikó Enyedi, which also served as closing film of the festival.
The London Film Awards is an annual awards ceremony started in 2012, recognising the work of independent film and brightest contemporary filmmakers/ screenwriters around the world. The festival honours films and screenplays from over 70 countries around the world, the London Film Awards features over 20 competition categories including Feature Films, Short Films, Documentaries, Student Films, Animation, Television Advertisements, Music Videos, and a screenwriting competition.
The 76th annual Venice International Film Festival was held from 28 August to 7 September 2019. Film director Lucrecia Martel was appointed as the President of the Jury. The Truth, directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda, was selected to open the festival. The Golden Lion was awarded to Joker, directed by Todd Phillips.
Life and a Day is a 2016 Iranian social drama film written and directed by Saeed Roustayi.