ABFF announce 2022 official film selections
The American Black Film Festival returns in June with a hybrid ceremony in Miami
The American Black Film Festival is back for its 26th year, and theGrio has the official list of film selections for the festival taking place both in-person and virtually in Miami this June.
As theGrio previously reported, ABFF spends every year celebrating “emerging artists and content made by and about people of African descent.” Now, weeks ahead of the festival, ABFF has announced their official slate, including their opening film: CIVIL, from filmmaker Nadia Hallgren.
The new documentary feature is described as “an intimate vérité look at the life of maverick civil rights attorney Ben Crump.” Per the official press release, “Considered a trailblazer of his field, CIVIL gives viewers an inside look at Crump’s mission to raise the value of Black life. As the civil lawyer for the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Black farmers, and banking while Black victims, Crump challenges America to come to terms with what it owes his clients.”
Nicole Friday, festival producer and president of ABFF Ventures LLC. shared a statement regarding CIVIL saying, “We are thrilled to open the festival with CIVIL, a timely documentary bringing light to issues of social justice and equity in America. We’ve curated an entertaining and thought-provoking lineup of features, documentaries, and web series and I am so excited to share our content with a live audience again.”
As theGrio previously reported, industry veteran Michael Quigley has stepped up as jury president this year, promising to help “expand its Jury and curate a diverse slate of film and television content.” Quigley shared, “I am honored to serve as jury president at this year’s ABFF, the preeminent film festival for discovering and championing Black and Brown filmmakers.”
Check out the full list of selections from the upcoming festival below:
Between Sins *World Premiere
Faced with the responsibilities of an ill mother and estranged daughter, Coy searches for redemption for past sins while trying to avoid the pitfalls that could lead to repeating them.
USA | 83 min
Director: Carlos Miller
Writer: Carlos Miller
Producers: Tyler Cheatham, Carlos Gonzalez, Carlos Miller
Cast: George Taylor, Rigoberto Duval, Carolyn Johnson, Skyla Rain Rowe, Angela Kohn
Bite of a Mango *World Premiere
2020 comes with enough challenges of its own, but as four best friends each attempt to overcome their own trying situations, they are left unsure if the group can survive.
CANADA | 98 min
Director: Ron Dias
Writers: Joanne Jansen, Ron Dias
Producers: Joanne Jansen, Ron Dias
Cast: Jayne Kamara, Ryan Rosery, Orville Cummings, Nathan Taylor
Escaping Paradise *World Premiere
A young couple’s anniversary trip turns deadly in a foreign land.
PHILIPPINES | 91 min
Director: Paul Tanter
Writer: Deji LaRay
Producers: Thomas Q. Jones, Deji LaRay, DeNorvious Pickett
Cast: Deji LaRay, Simon Phillips, Shayla Hale
Feel Like Ghosts *World Premiere
Two recent exes with an undeniable connection confront what could have been if their
cultural differences hadn’t pushed them to new lives on opposite coasts.
USA | 100 min
Director: Kali Baker-Johnson
Writer: Kali Baker-Johnson
Producer: Lola Ridgell
Cast: Nican Robinson, Misha Molani
God of Dreams *U.S. Festival Premiere
Welcome to the future, where dreaming is Illegal.
USA | 104 min
Director: Jurian Isabelle
Writer: Jurian Isabelle
Producers: Jurian Isabelle, Joe Langford
Cast: Ann Nesby, Julia Reilly, Jessie Reeder, Keshawn Pettigrew, Omar Cook
Our Father, the Devil
An African immigrant’s quiet life in a small French town is upended by the arrival of a charismatic Catholic priest, whom she recognizes as the warlord who slaughtered her
USA | FRANCE | 108 min
Director: Ellie Foumbi
Writer: Ellie Foumbi
Producers: Ellie Foumbi, Joseph Mastantuono
Cast: Babetida Sadjo, Souleymane Sy Savané, Jennifer Tchiakpe
Scheme Queens *World Premiere
Four friends who are down on their luck decide to rob a ruthless Rastafarian jewel thief by conning his second in command.
USA | 94 min
Director: Cas Sigers Beedles
Writer: Cas Sigers Beedles
Producers: Cas Sigers Beedles, Ernestine Johnson
Cast: B. Simone, Ernestine Johnson, Brii Reneé, Jacky Oh
A car-jacked mother and entrepreneur is forced to bond with her violent assailant in order
USA | 90 min
Director: Damon Jamal
Writers: Damon Jamal, Dave Eisenstark
Producers: Leah Daniels Butler, Henry Black Butler, Damone Smith, Damon Jamal
Cast: Elise Neal, Demetrius Grosse, Dylan McNamara, Miguel A. Nuñez Jr.
The Threesome *World Premiere
A sex comedy told in three ways.
USA | 92 min
Director: Jamal Dedeaux
Writer: Jamal Dedeaux
Producers: Jaleel Ghafur, Rebecca Haze, Jamal Dedeaux
Cast: Andrea Lewis, Brittany S. Hall, Jerrel O’Neal
You Married Dat
Two happy brides, one dead guy!
USA | 114 min
Director: Dame Pierre
Writers: Byron Manuel, Curtis L. Ellison Jr., Tarek Abdelkhalig
Producers: Timothy Christian, Sherah Rider, Elijah Kelley
Cast: Juhahn Jones, Apryl Jones, LisaRaye, Audra Kinkead, Michael Colyar
A competitive section for nonfiction feature films directed by persons of African descent or centered on the culture and experiences of persons of African descent. Films in this category are eligible to be nominated to compete for the Jury Award for Best Documentary (presented by Amazon, $2,500 cash prize). The following films represent the 2022 official selections in the Documentary Features category:
A Woman on the Outside
Kristal is a young, ambitious Philadelphian driven to keep families connected to their incarcerated loved ones. But when her father and brother return from prison, she confronts the ultimate question: can she reunite her own family?
USA | 85 min
Directors: Zara Katz, Lisa Riordan Seville
Writer: Kiara C. Jones
Producers: Kiara C. Jones, Zara Katz, Lisa Riordan Seville
Cast: Kristal Bush, Nyvae Scott, Kristal Speaks
American Immigrants *World Premiere
Being homeless is an experience, not a person.
USA | 60 min
Director: Ken Miles
Writer: Ken Miles
Producer: Ken Miles
Cast: Jorge Colina, Nathan White
Black As U R: a michael rice film
Micheal Rice’s kaleidoscopic journey through the fault lines of race, gender and
sexuality in America.
USA | 87 min
Director: Micheal Rice
Writer: Micheal Rice
Producer: Edward Radford
Executive Producers: Micheal Rice, Gerald Oxford
Cast: Micheal Rice, Dr. Charlene Sinclair, Michael Roberson
Blind Eye Artist *World Premiere
The origin story of painter Justin Wadlington, blind in his left eye.
USA | 76 min
Director: Ashwin Chaudhary
Producers: Ashwin Chaudhary, Jonathan Korn, Justin Wadlington
Cast: Justin Wadlington, Glenn Fuhrman
Drowning in Silence
A mother goes on a healing journey to investigate the silent epidemic of childhood
drowning after losing her son.
USA | 81 min
Director: Chezik Tsunoda
Writers: Chezik Tsunoda, Claire Ave’Lallemant
Producers: Hill Harper, Joe Beshenkovsky, Chezik Tsunod
Let The Church Say *World Premiere
In a time of racial upheaval and a multitude of woes affecting marginalized communities, a young African American filmmaker journeys to the heart of the Black experience to find the answer to a daunting question: Is the Black church dead?
USA | 70 min
Director: Rafiq J Nabali
Writer: Rafiq J Nabali
Producers: Joe Howell, Nancy Howard, Danielle Nebeliuk
Cast: Jekalyn Carr, Dr. Teresa Fry Brown, Dr. Walter Fluker, Darlene McCoy
Lovely Jackson *World Premiere
America’s longest wrongfully held exonerated prisoner, Rickey Jackson, returns to the prison where his 39-year journey of survival began and guides his younger self from death row to freedom.
USA | 104 min
Director: Matt Waldeck
Writers: Rickey Jackson, Matt Waldeck
Producers: Rickey Jackson, Matt Waldeck, Jillian Wolstein, Ben Hecht, Travis Killian
Cast: Rickey Jackson, Edward Vernon, Pr. Anthony Singleton, Mario Beverly, Devito Parker Jr.
The Young Vote *World Premiere
Filmmaker Diane Robinson follows a diverse group of students and activists during the 2020 election to understand young people’s perceptions of voting and civic engagement.
USA | 67 min
Director: Diane Robinson
Writer: Diane Robinson
Producer: Diane Robinson
Cast: Ariana Tulay, Dariel Cruz Rodriguez, Elena Ashburn, Liz Magallanes, Sophia DeLoretto-Chudy, John King, Bradley Tusk, Jeremy Gruber
A competitive section for short-form episodic television directed by or produced and written by persons of African descent. Each series in this section will compete for the Jury Award for Best Web Series (presented by Comcast NBCUniversal, $2,500 cash prize). The following are the 2022 official selections in the Web Series category:
Bourn Kind: The Tiny Kindness Project
A Black/Jewish artist creates a project of kindness to celebrate connection in his community.
USA | 12 min
Director: Rachel Myers
Writer: Rachel Myers
Producer: Tamika Lamison, Connie Jo Sechrist, Rachel Myers
Cast: Bourn Rich
The zany misadventures of two sisters navigating the ups and downs of life, as artists, in the wild and unpredictable streets of La La Land.
USA | 7:30 min
Director: Kimberly Dooley
Writer: Kimberly Dooley
Producer: Kimberly Dooley
Cast: Kimberly Dooley, Dayna Dooley
I am Mara *World Premiere
Striving to break free from a life of espionage, murder, and destructive family ties, Mara sets out to fabricate a new life for herself, but soon realizes the truth will always reveal itself and all sins must be atoned for.
USA | 14:33 min
Directors: Cody Duncum, Demetrius Feaster
Writers: Candace West, Clarinda D’Cruze
Producer: Candace West, Demetrius Feaster, Clarinda D’Cruze
Cast: Candace Kirstin West, Keith Elgin Douglas, Alek President, Jose Navarro, Virginia Elliot, David Chin
Jonathan’s World *U.S. Festival Premiere
Boy genius sips magical potion, causing him to obtain enhanced capabilities.
USA | 14 min
Director: Tyler D. Lambert
Writer: Tyler D. Lambert
Producer: Tyler D. Lambert
Cast: Tyler D. Lambert
Last Name Unknown *World Premiere
Beyond Hope Youth Shelter’s homeless youth beat the odds, and find their place in society.
USA | 15 min
Director: Dui Jarrod
Writer: Dui Jarrod
Producers: Kevin “Coach K” Lee, Pierre “Pee” Thomas, Dui Jarrod, Chris Hicks,
Cast: Chakeefe Gordon, Erika Norrell, Braxton Jordan, Lindsey G. Smith
Layered, “Stalker” *World Premiere
A series following three black women from Philadelphia, two of them Muslim, trying to break into the media industry while being met with challenges in mental health, faith, and loss due to gun violence.
USA | 12:57 min
Director: Zareefa Abdul-Adl
Writers: Arraiyan DuBose, Aiko Brown, Zareefa Abdul-Adl
Producers: Aiko Brown, Arraiyan DuBose, Zareefa Abdul-Adl
Cast: Mercedes White, LaPorscha Rodgers, Aisha Saran
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