The American Black Film Festival annually showcases dynamic new content by and about people of African descent from around the world. The festival has four main categories: Short Films, Narrative Feature Films, Documentaries and Web Originals.

2017 submissions are now closed.

Each year the ABFF commissions several screening committees to evaluate the year’s film submissions based on the criteria below, and the highest scoring entries earn screening slots in each category:

World Premiere Status/Limited Screening History Preferred
Artistic and Technical Merit (quality of script, direction, acting, production value, uniqueness, etc.)


2017 Deadline


Web Originals


Best Web Original



Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary

HBO Short Film Competition


HBO Short Film Award

Narrative Features


Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature Film

  • Best Actor (Narrative Feature Actors only)
  • Best Director (Narrative Features Directors only)
  • Best Screenplay (Narrative Feature Writers only)

ABFF Audience Award (Narrative Features In-Competition Only)


In addition to ABFF’s awards to recognize and reward talented filmmakers, the writer and director from each film accepted into the 2017 festival (ABFF Official Selection Filmmakers), will have the opportunity to participate in the 2017 “ABFF Creators Summit,” in Los Angeles, hosted by Creative Artists Agency (CAA). It is a one-day intensive program designed to provide diverse storytellers with valuable insights into the process of pitching and developing film, television and web-based projects. Participants will also be connected with studio and network executives, agents and industry experts, who will help foster their career and will provide them with advice and knowledge about the entertainment industry.