Helmed the largest gathering of African American film and television enthusiasts, The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) prides itself on creating unique opportunities and partnerships, as well as working to diversify Hollywood. Since its inception in 1997, the ABFF has partnered with HBO, Comcast NBCUniversal, TV One and McDonald’s to develop talent discovery programs for up-and-coming actors, comedians, filmmakers and television hosts. These platforms provide exposure for tomorrow’s rising stars and leaders in entertainment.
“The American Black Film Festival’s Talent Discovery Programs introduce dynamic content creators and artists to a broader audience. These programs are a rich mine for discovering new talent, and offer career springboards outside of the traditional film platform and entertainment industry,” Melanie Sharee, ABFF programming director, said.
Comcast NBCUniversal will partner with ABFF for two talent competitions at the festival this year. The Star Project searches to find the next fresh face for film and television. This highly successful competition has discovered Hollywood’s “next big star,” such as 2011 winner Emayatzy Corinealdi (Miles Ahead, Roots, Middle of Nowhere).
Returning to the festival is Comcast NBCUniversal’s Television Hosting Workshop designed to help emerging TV hosts sharpen their skills and identify dynamic personalities ready for on-air opportunities.
ABFF’s 4th annual Comedy Wings Competition, sponsored by HBO, is a national search to identify outstanding comedic talent — people who demonstrate a natural ability to be funny. The Comedy Wings Competition has been created to showcase talented yet undiscovered comedians and introduce them to the industry at large. Zainab Johnson is a Comedy Wings alum, who has appeared on television comedy shows, tours and film and was a finalist on Last Comic Standing.