American Black Film Festival: 1st ever webisode challenge comes to South Beach

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The 16th Annual American Black Film Festival not only recognized the emerging film artists of our time, but also stepped out of the normalcy of custom media to launch the first annual Webisode Challenge.  This unique and timely competition is a national outlet that will identify talented writers, directors and producers who demonstrate outstanding promise in creating episodic television for Internet broadcast.

The credibility of the webisode concept has an immense potential for success as more and more people seek the Internet for their primary entertainment source.  Anyone with an idea, some out-of-the-box creativity, a niche for audience attention and some web savvy talent now has a grand platform to share their work. Industry executives are getting it and the founder of ABFF, Jeff Friday believes in its growth. This is what inevitably led to his decision to explore this avenue and include the digital medium in this year’s festival.

“I think that the Internet provides a platform for everyone. If you don’t have the connection it’s hard…therefore the Internet provides that platform for everyone to be successful…so we try to stay ahead of the curve. Our next generation of stars and industry success stories are in digital media, “ Friday said.

What made this particular challenge unique were the requirements that were set for submission. Out of the 90 entries submitted, 4 were chosen. Each of the entrants was required to submit (3) episodes of a webisode series. Each webisode had to be directed, written and produced by a person of African descent and feature a person of African descent in the leading role or have a multicultural cast.  Each of the four competing webisodes had their own flair and unique storyline. The winner received a cash prize of $2,500 and as an additional honor will be flown in to Los Angeles by Warner Bros. Digital Distribution for a pitch meeting and a lunch with one of the distribution and digital executives.

ABFF founder Jeff Friday put his money where his passion was and has shared that he himself will be launching a digital network called Film Life TV with their first show called The Q&A Show; it’s an edgy new sketch comedy online series.

Audience members were delighted to see the sneak peek of the The Q & A Show with the buzz that it has already received rave reviews and has been dubbed In Living Color meets Chappelle’s Show. Creators Quin Walters, a.k.a “Q,” and Addison Henderson, a.k.a “A,” decided to take their acting talents to the web in an effort to bring back to life the original skits, pop culture parodies and satirical take on all things… life. The husband and wife team hopes the Q & A Show will engage and entertain audiences with its unpredictable and outlandish sketches that are relatable and comical. Some of the sneak peek features included: A Celebrity Divorce Court spoof, 61 Minutes: an interview with Sean “P-Diddy” Combs in the year 2053, and a myriad of comedic sketches. The journey for the duo wasn’t so smooth but they were truly an inspiration to Friday, which led him to standing behind such an innovative project.

“ They’re two young actors who met in a Starbucks.  And they were just attracted to each other and sat and had tea, and started talking about Chappelle’s Show. They decided they wanted to do one [a show] and they pitched me the idea. So I executive produced and funded the show.  And now that show is launching on our Film Life TV platform. It’s amazing how things can happen. I really do think the future is television and the Internet,“ Friday concluded.

The full series of The Q & A Show premieres June 24th on



Directed by John Wheatley, produced by Benny Demus

A series with a storyline based on family loyalty and what happens when murder, family relations and friendships become entangled.

Gettin’ Grown TV

Directed by Aaron Greer, produced by Anthony Ferraro

GGTV is a slice of life family friendly series about growing up in the city where some get lost and …some get grown.


Directed by Donnie Leapheart, produced by Redd Claiborne, Rodney Breedlove and LAQuanda Plantt

Osiris is a new 10-episode action/thriller series featuring mystery, espionage and gritty crime fiction

12-Steps to Recovery

Directed & produced by Tony Clomax

12-Steps to recovery is a romantic comedy about a New York City actor and jingle writer who gets dumped by his corporate girlfriend

Wanjira Banfield writes about travel and entertainment for theGrio. You can find her at and follow her on Twitter @wanjirasworld.

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