By Daniela Ortega, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – Often referred to as the nation’s largest gathering of black film and television enthusiasts, the 23rd edition of the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) will take place from June 12th until June 16th mainly at the Lowes Miami Beach Hotel at 1601 Collins Ave.
The five-day event extravaganza will include film premieres, industry-related seminars, master classes, celebrity talks and unforgettable parties and networking events.
The ABFF was created in 1997 by Jeff Friday as a way to give exposure and support emerging black artists and create a platform for their art to be seen and heard.
The festival has achieved and surpassed its goal, and takes pride in showcasing the work of famous celebrities of color when they were just starting out. Amongst them are very familiar names such as Halle Berry, Kevin Hart and Kerry Washington.
Today the prestigious five-day event attracts thousands, including local and out-of-town industry executives, talent, celebrities and even high-end consumers and film lovers.
The ABFF has many diverse events and screenings. The opening events include showings of Hollywood movies such as “Shaft,” courtesy of Warner Bros, at the New World Center Performance Hall on Wednesday at 5:30 PM, followed by an introduction of the cast. A “Welcome Reception” at the Bass Contemporary Art Museum will follow the screening.
The ABFF will be non-stop events from morning until night. For instance, these are the highlights for Thursday. The ABFF Industry Expo will take place Loews Miami Beach Hotel from 10AM to 10PM, as well as several indie screenings at the Regal Cinemas 17 & 18 from 11AM to 10:30 PM.
In addition, at 11AM there will be a screening of “The Black Godfather” presented by Netflix, at the New World Center SunTrust Pavilion. High-profile speakers will enlighten attendees with events such as the “Ask HBO” Sessions at the 1 Hotel South Beach at 11AM, and the NBCUniversal Panels at 2:30 PM at the Loews Hotel, amongst others.
The day will close with the 22nd Annual HBO Short Film Competition at 5:30 PM at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel, a Classic Cinema Screening of Inkwell at the Regal Cinemas at 9PM, and the “Legendary White Party,” at 11PM at the Nikki Beach Night Club.
The next three days of the ABFF will offer a myriad of one-of-a-kind exciting presentations, screening, classes and gatherings as well. The highlight of the weekend will be the “ABFF Comedy Wings Competition,” Friday at 9:45 PM at the New World Center Performance Hall, and the “Best of the ABFF” Awards Presentation at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel, Saturday at 9:15 PM, followed by an after-party.
On Sunday afternoon, there will be an event open to the public and free of charge. The “ABFF Community Day,” that will take place at the Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater from 1PM until 5PM.
For the rest of the festival, tickets will range from $20 to $250 dollars. Movie Lovers, Splash and Deco Passes will be available at the Loews Hotel starting Wednesday June 12th, while individual tickets for movies will be available starting Monday June 10th via Eventbrite.