American Black Film Festival sets date as 25th anniversary approaches

The festival will be both in-person and virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic

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While the COVID-19 pandemic has proved difficult for most film festivals to navigate, the American Black Film Festival has found a way through. ABFF has officially announced their 2021 dates, which will celebrate their 25th anniversary with both an in-person and virtual ceremony.

ABFF will officially run from Nov. 3-7 with the online portion running directly afterward from Nov. 8-14.

The American Black Film Festival has been the premier festival dedicated to “showcasing emerging artists and content made by and about people of African descent.” A five-day event usually held in Miami Beach, the ABFF has been an integral part of Black cinema and the industry at large, awarding people such as Ryan Coogler years before he would go on to direct the Oscar-winning blockbuster, Black Panther. Now, ABFF has announced it will return this year to celebrate 25 years.

BET Presents the American Black Film Festival Honors - Show
ABFF founder Jeff Friday at BET Presents the American Black Film Festival Honors on February 17, 2017, in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The festival is set to return to Miami Beach this November, with “studio screenings, panel discussions, and networking events to elevate timely issues and celebrate Black entertainment, and provide Black and Brown filmmakers a platform to tell their stories and drive momentum toward creating a more equal and diverse media landscape.”

ABFF president, Nicole Friday said in a statement, “We are so excited to return to Miami Beach to celebrate 25 years of storytelling and storytellers, and engage with a global audience around the world through our virtual programming on ABFF Play. ABFF has served as a place of inspiration and a launching pad for so many great filmmakers and artists, and we remain committed to using our platform to catapult a new generation of Black and Brown filmmakers forward.”

Last year, the annual event was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, moving from its normal March date to a virtual ceremony in June 2020. Now, this hybrid model will hopefully serve as a great setup for the festival, as it will continue virtually seven days after the in-person dates, streaming from Nov. 8-14 on ABFF Play.

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber also expressed his excitement for the event in a statement.

It reads, “We are honored that American Black Film Festival has once again chosen our great destination for this event, and confident the Royal Palm Hotel and our city partners will safely host ABFF participants, audience members, talent, and workers to make sure this is another successful event, for Miami Beach.”

For more information, head to, and also follow ABFF on Twitter, Instagram, and use the hashtag #ABFF21 and #ABFF to join the conversation and stay up to date.

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