ABFF Showcases Diversity in NYC

26 Jun 2014 - By TW Staff

(Above: Tambay Obenson; Melanie Sharee; Dr. Darnell Hunt; Jenny Lumet; Don Lemon; Dan Osheyack; and Jeff Friday at the Hollywood Diversity Report panel at the ABFF)

Recently, the 18th annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF) showcased a diverse creative community through film screenings, panel discussions and more. ABFF founding and premiere sponsor HBO—along with Turner and the Time Warner Foundation—took part in the four-day event, which was held for the first time in New York City.

HBO presented four events, including the HBO Character and Scene Studio, a workshop encouraging emerging writers and directors to think outside the box, and a programming panel called A Peek Behind the Curtain, featuring some of the stars of True Blood, Getting On and Boardwalk Empire. These events aimed to emulate the festival's mission, tapping into the city's expansive and diverse creative community and promoting the universal appeal of Black cinema and talent.

“This is HBO’s 17th year at the ABFF and our longevity as founding and premier sponsor speaks to our commitment to the festival and its role as an incubator, marketer, creative influencer and entertainment brand,” said Dennis Williams, vice president, Corporate Social Responsibility. “Partnering with festivals like the ABFF has allowed us to proudly play an integral part in supporting and empowering the multicultural creative community.”

HBO also hosted the 2nd annual ABFF Comedy Wings Competition and awarded its annual Short Film Award to Muted, written by Brandi Ford and directed by Rachel Goldberg.

The Time Warner Foundation presented a panel that focused on diversity in Hollywood as well as the Master Class series that ran throughout the festival. Master Classes included Bill Duke's Actors Boot Camp and Rob Hardy's Amazing Stories, among many others. The Time Warner Foundation also presented the Grand Jury Award for Best Screenplay to CRU, written by Alton Glass and Oliver W. Ottley III.

And Turner hosted a screening of the upcoming season of Adult Swim's original animated series Black Dynamite followed by a panel discussion. The Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary was presented by CNN Films to 25 to Life, directed by Mike L. Brown.

See photos from some of our ABFF events below.