Short Films: Now in its 22nd year, the HBO® is regarded as one of the most prestigious short film showcases in the country with prizes totaling $30,000. Five filmmakers are selected as finalists and receive a trip (including airfare and hotel accommodations) to the festival in Miami Beach, FL.

Submissions closed


  • Films must have a 20-minute maximum runtime inclusive of credits
  • Entrants must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Films must have been directed by a person of African descent.
  • Competition is open to U.S. and international entries.
  • Films must be in the English language or contain English-language subtitles.
  • Films must have completed principal photography on or after January 1, 2018.
  • Films must not have been previously submitted to the HBO Short Film Competition under its current or any former title, or in any form that is, in HBO’s opinion, substantially similar to or derivative of the current film.
  • Films must not have had any previous exhibition on broadcast or cable (by means of any method or medium) or online.
  • Films submitted to the HBO Short Film Competition for the 2019 American Black Film Festival must not have been previously exhibited on, or licensed for exhibition on, any form of television (i.e., free TV, basic or pay cable, pay-per-view and/or subscription programming services) and prior to the scheduled ABFF screening date within June 12-16, 2019.
  • Filmmaker/Owner/Entrant shall not permit the film to be exhibited, or enter into a license or make any agreement to exhibit the film, on any form of television. These conditions apply to exhibitions or licenses under the film’s current title or any other title, or in any form, that is in HBO’s sole opinion, substantially similar to, or derivative of, the current film.
  • Employees of ABFF Ventures, Home Box Office, Inc. (“HBO”) and any other Time Warner entity (including all permanent and temporary employees) and their immediate family members and/or those living in the same household are not eligible to participate in the HBO Short Film Competition.
  • Each entry must be submitted via, where you must upload your film and completed submission form, by no later than the deadline of February 15, 2019.
  • To complete your application sign the Competition Release Form. Click the link below and email it to by no later than the deadline of February 15, 2019.

Award Eligibility:

  • HBO Short Film Award – Grand Prize $10,000
  • Runners up – Cash Prize $5,000 (4 finalists)