At the heart of the American Black Film Festival (ABFF), is its commitment to community, bringing together artists to share their work – challenging, encouraging, appreciating and uplifting one another.
The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) is an annual event dedicated to recognizing black talent and showcasing quality film and television content by and about people of African descent. Dedicated to the belief that diverse artists deserve the same opportunities as their mainstream counterparts, ABFF founder Jeff Friday conceived the festival in 1997 as a vehicle to strengthen the black entertainment community by fostering resource sharing, education and artistic collaboration.
After 24 years, the festival has become a cornerstone of diversity in Hollywood, providing a platform for emerging black artists – many of whom have become today’s most successful actors, producers, writers, directors and stand-up comedians – including Ryan Coogler (Black Panther), Will Packer (Girls Trip), Issa Rae (Insecure), Kevin Hart (Night School), Omari Hardwick (Power) and Steven Caple Jr. (Creed II). Today, the ABFF is widely considered the preeminent pipeline for black artists in front of and behind the camera, and has significantly expanded the range of talent working in the entertainment Industry.
As “the world’s largest community of Black film and television enthusiasts” the ABFF attracts a broad audience of celebrity talent, emerging artists, upscale consumers and industry stakeholders. Approximately 7,000 to 10,000 people travel to Miami Beach each year for the five-day event. The festival opens with the debut of an upcoming Hollywood release followed by a robust schedule of Hollywood premieres, independent film screenings, master classes, panels, celebrity talks, live entertainment, and a variety of networking and hospitality events.
The ABFF’s dynamic program continues to evolve. In 2020, it expanded to include the John Singleton Award for Best First Feature Film and “ABFF Pride,” a curated film section showcasing LGBTQIA content.
With the support of a global network of major entertainment, media and consumer product companies, the festival continues to lead the way promoting diversity in the motion picture and television industries.
The American Black Film Festival is a property of ABFF Ventures LLC (ABFFV), a Los Angeles-based entertainment company founded by its CEO Jeff Friday as a platform to produce live events, television and film focused on African American culture.
MEET THE FOUNDER
AT THE FOREFRONT OF DIVERSITY IN HOLLYWOOD SINCE 1997
Jeff Friday is one of the most innovative entrepreneurs in the film and television industry today. A successful producer, festival founder, film financier, champion of diversity and mentor to many, Friday has established a unique legacy in Hollywood, generating a tremendous amount of goodwill within the creative and corporate communities.
Twenty-four years ago, following his first trip to Sundance Film Festival, an inspired Friday took a blind leap of faith. Departing from his lucrative job as president of the prominent multicultural advertising agency UniWorld, Friday devoted his professional life to the American Black Film Festival (ABFF). Recognized today as the leading film festival of its kind, ABFF remains the premiere platform that introduces filmmakers of color to the industry at large and has created opportunities for people of color outside of Hollywood’s doors by helping them find their inroad. To further ABFF’s legacy, in 2019, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington D.C. acquired ABFF photographs and other archival materials to be included in its permanent collection.
Having curated hundreds of hours of content, Friday developed an acute skill for identifying promising new talent. His work put a spotlight on many of today’s successful new artists, introducing them to the industry when they were unknowns. That spotlight showcased the early work of many of today’s most talented and recognizable artists, content creators, and stand-up comedians.
Friday is a successful producer of several live events, including the Pro-Hollywood BootCamp in partnership with the National Football League. He has financed numerous independent films; created & executive produced television specials — Black Movie Awards (TNT), ABFF Honors (BET) and series — ABFF Independent and Icons, Idols & Influencers (ASPIRE); and recently produced feature documentary Storm over Brooklyn for HBO in partnership with Emmy and Oscar winning production company Lightbox.
Jeff Friday currently serves as CEO of ABFF Ventures LLC (ABFFV), a multifaceted company specializing in the production of live events, television and films focused on African American culture.