MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (FNN News) — The Colony Theatre hosted this year’s HBO Short Film Competition during the 2016 American Black Film Festival Thursday night. Filmmakers and celebrities alike graced the red carpet, including Dule Hill (Psych, Ballers), Jazmyn Simon (Ballers), Jacob Anderson (Game of Thrones), Tobias Truvillion (Empire), and HBO Corporate Social Responsibility Vice President Dennis Williams. Cast and crew on the red carpet included those from finalist shorts “Ugly,” “Flowers,” “On Time,” and “The Big Chop.” Some, like director Derek Dow (“The Big Chop”) are ABFF first timers, while others, like Nikyatu Jusu (co-writer and co-director, “Flowers”) are returning talents–this is Jusu’s third year in the competition.
The nineteenth annual competition was hosted by effervescent media personality Bevy Smith, who has faithfully hosted the competition for over ten years. The competing shorts each delved into painful, relatable subjects.
“On Time,” directed by Xavier Neal-Burgin, was inspired by the true story of the mother in Oklahoma who, for lack of a babysitter and need of work, left her young daughter alone in her car to go on a job interview.
Jusu’s “Flowers” explores what happens when two Brooklyn teens seek revenge on their teacher and their seemingly perfect plan spirals out of control.
“Ugly” follows young Doug, an intelligent outcast who wants desperately to fit in, and through his association with the beautiful Kay, does, but potentially at the cost of his true identity.
Dow’s “The Big Chop” explores the universal importance of self-love and acceptance inspired by the screenwriter’s own emotional natural hair journey, going from Afro to perm to the big chop.
“Gubagude Ko,” directed by Philiane Phang, takes viewers on a young woman’s harrowing journey with a young woman who loses her memory due to corrective rape. As the recovery promises a light at the end of the tunnel, she’s faced with an intense double-revelation that shakes her world.
The HBO Short Film Award will be presented at ABFF’s “The Best of the Festival” Awards ceremony Saturday, June 19, 2016.
Mellissa Thomas is Editor of the Florida National News. The Jamaica-born author and journalist is a decorated U.S. Navy veteran with degrees in Entertainment Business and Film. She also helps business owners, CEOs, executives, and speakers double their income and clinch the credibility they deserve by walking them step by step through the process of developing, completing, marketing, and publishing their first book.