The American Black Film Festival — aka "the world's largest community of Black film and TV enthusiasts" — is back in the house. And this year, Issa Rae, The Proud Family and more are taking center stage.
"I'm honored to be this year's Festival Ambassador," Rae says of her role. "ABFF was the first major festival to showcase my work and they continue to elevate Black creatives from the ground level. It's also fun as hell."
In the past, the festival has launched filmmakers, actors and comedians like Kerry Washington, Kevin Hart and Halle Berry, to name a few. This year marks the 26th American Black Film Festival, spotlighting plenty more Black excellence on both the big and small screens.
One of the buzziest screenings will be a preview of Rap Sh!t, Rae's new HBO Max series about estranged high school friends who reunite in Miami, form a rap group and try to make it in the music industry. There's plenty more to see, too, as this year’s festival features a packed slate of hype-worthy films and series.
Find out everything you need to know about the 2022 American Black Film Festival below.
When is it?
ABFF 2022 runs from June 15 to June 19 at various venues and theaters in Miami Beach. For those who can't make it to Florida, virtual events will take place on ABFF Play's streaming platform from June 20 to June 30.
What's going on?
While there is no set theme for the festival, ABFF sets out to bring together Black artists, executives and filmmakers for five days of screenings, talkbacks, parties and networking. For the first time, the festival this year will be a hybrid of virtual and in-person events. (Last year, the festival hosted a fully online event for their landmark 25th anniversary.)
What's being screened?
Aside from Rap Sh!t, this year’s ABFF will have a number of spotlighted narrative feature and documentary feature screenings. The festival opens with the documentary Civil: Ben Crump, an intimate look at the life of the titular civil rights attorney, who represented the families of George Floyd, Andre Hill and Breonna Taylor. Produced by Kenya Barris, Roger Ross Williams, Lauren Cioffi, and director Nadia Hallgren, Civil: Ben Crump will be released on Netflix on Juneteenth.
Also screening is the documentary Aftershock, which premiered earlier this year at Sundance to great acclaim. The film depicts two bereaved families mourning loved ones who died due to complications from childbirth. The families galvanize activists, birth-workers, and physicians to reckon with the Black maternal mortality crisis in the United States.
Other spotlight screenings include the Disney+ reboot of The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder, and a preview of the Amazon Prime Video TV series A League of Their Own, which, of course, shares a name with the beloved 1992 Penny Marshall classic starring Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna and more. (July 1 marks the 30th anniversary of that movie.)
How can I get tickets?
Tickets are available on-site at the box office or via Eventbrite. Prices range from $12 for a single Spotlight Screening movie ticket to $1,495 for an Industry Pass, which includes access to all of the events and VIP perks. Additionally, community members are invited to a free screening of After Jackie, a History Channel documentary following the second wave of Black MLB baseball players, on June 19 as part of ABFF’s Community Day.
By Charlotte Walsh