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GRAMMY Museum® Grant Program Awards $200,000 for Music Research and Sound Preservation



An exterior view of the GRAMMY Museum is seen at the GRAMMY Museum preview day at the GRAMMY Museum at Nokia Plaza at L.A. Live on Dec. 2, 2008 in Los Angeles. Charley Gallay/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — The GRAMMY Museum® Grant Program announced today that $200,000 in grants will be awarded to 16 recipients in the United States to help facilitate a range of research on a variety of subjects, as well as support a number of archiving and preservation programs.

“This year marks the 35th year that the GRAMMY Museum and Recording Academy® have partnered to provide much deserved funding for music research and preservation projects across the United States and Canada. During that time, we have awarded more than $8.1 million to nearly 465 grantees,” said Michael Sticka, President/CEO of the GRAMMY Museum. “As an educational and cultural nonprofit institution, we know firsthand how critical grant funding is in order to deliver measurable results and impact through our mission. This is why we’re proud to support these impressive projects that are at the intersection of music and science, and work to maintain our shared musical legacy for generations to come.”

Generously funded by the Recording Academy, the GRAMMY Museum Grant Program provides funding annually to organizations and individuals to support efforts that advance the archiving and preservation of the recorded sound heritage of the Americas for future generations, in addition to research projects related to the impact of music on the human condition. In 2008, the GRAMMY Museum Grant Program expanded its categories to include assistance grants for individuals and small to mid-sized organizations to aid collections held by individuals and organizations that may not have access to the expertise needed to create a preservation plan. The assistance planning process, which may include inventorying and stabilizing a collection, articulates the steps to be taken to ultimately archive recorded sound materials for future generations.

More information about the program can be found at

Scientific Research Grantees

University of Southern California— Los Angeles
Awarded: $20,000
Nostalgia-evoking music can temporarily improve autobiographical memory in individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), but the associated neural mechanisms are unknown. This project aims to use personalized music to identify neural systems involved in music-evoked nostalgia using fMRI, in healthy younger and older adults. Findings will be the basis for music-based AD interventions by demonstrating how music-evoked nostalgia is preserved neurally across the lifespan.

University Hospitals Health System, Inc — Cleveland
Awarded: $20,000
The purpose of this study is to determine the feasibility and acceptability of: 1) a tailored music-assisted relaxation and imagery intervention; 2) biological sample collection; and 3) mobile device patient-reported outcome collection in adults hospitalized for pancreatic surgery experiencing acute pain.

Towson University — Towson, Maryland
Awarded: $10,000
This project will help to determine whether “hidden hearing loss” exists in student musicians and, if so, to use clinically relevant diagnostic tools to detect the disorder early so that music-induced overt hearing loss can be prevented. The project will also assess whether the hidden hearing deficits contribute to increased difficulties in auditory scene analysis/speech sound processing in musicians.

Texas Christian University — Fort Worth, Texas
Awarded: $10,000
Musical training is associated with increased neural prediction response to a critical note that indicates mode in a melody. This neural response suggests an enhanced prediction mechanism in those with musical training and may reflect acquired sensitivity to statistical regularities in the environment. The goal of this project is to investigate whether musical training is also associated with enhanced neural prediction responses in those with dyslexia, who may have deficits in prediction.

Stanford University — Stanford, California
Awarded: $9,066
This project evaluates different strategies to promote empathy between audio engineers and cochlear-implant users empathy-promotion. The goal is to understand the existing empathy structures, identify the most effective promotion strategies, and develop tools and clear techniques to assist both cochlear implant users and audio engineers in creating music that can be enjoyed by a more diverse audience.

University of Miami— Coral Gables, Florida
Awarded: $19,973
This innovative project will explore the use of infant-directed singing (IDS) for self-regulation in infants with prenatal drug exposure. These infants may be at risk for poor self-regulation, leading to difficulty managing arousal and emotions. Through a coaching intervention, mothers will learn how to use IDS to match or modify infant state. Findings will inform clinical practice to improve parenting skills in mothers with substance use issues.

Preservation Assistance Grantees

Bill Doggett — Bakersfield, California
Awarded: $4,961
Bill Doggett will conduct a professional inventory and preservation needs assessment for the Doggett Race & Performing Arts Collection. Under this project, an archival consultant with expertise in audiovisual archives and preservation management will conduct a site visit and physical inspection of the Collection and prepare a Preservation Plan for future action.

T. Christopher Aplin — Pasadena, California
Awarded: $3,000
American Indian Soundchiefs was a Kiowa-owned record label owned by Linn D. Pauahty – the earliest, longest-running such label launched with an ear toward Indigenous aesthetics. This project will help Mary Helen Deer, the Linn D. Pauahty Foundation and Kiowa Tribe review existing Soundchiefs record catalogues; compile and inventory instantaneous disc, 78s, reel-to-reel, and cassettes; and prepare these recordings for future digitization and preservation.

The Kealakai Center for Pacific Strings — Kailua, Hawaii
Awarded: $3,000
The Kealakai Center for Pacific Strings will synthesize a decade of primary data collection, interviews, research, and exhibit production to develop a digital museum and audio archive designed to share the largest untold chapter in the history of modern American music. The website and archive will illuminate the pivotal role that Hawaiian music has played in the evolution of popular music, a legacy of innovation, and global influence that endures today.

Preservation Implementation

Arhoolie Foundation — El Cerrito, California
Awarded: $20,000
The Arhoolie Foundation will digitize Chris Strachwitz rare recordings of performances, festivals and concerts from 1950-2000. Artists include Lightnin’ Hopkins, Big Mama Thornton, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Flaco Jiménez, Ry Cooder, Lydia Mendoza, BeauSoleil, Clifton Chenier, Rev Gary Davis, Mance Lipscomb, Jesse Fuller, Rose Maddox, and others.

The Apollo Theater — New York
Awarded: $20,000
This funding will allow Harlem’s historic Apollo Theater to digitize, preserve and catalog more than 300 hours of video recordings of the theater’s famed Amateur Night program, spanning 1987-2016. These performances exist on obsolete, vulnerable media formats, and have mostly remained unseen since the time of their original recording. Amateur Night has launched the careers of numerous pioneering performers, and has ran at the Apollo since 1934.

Newark Public Radio (WBGO) — Newark, New Jersey
Awarded: $15,000
WBGO will digitize and make available to the public over 800 hours of rare jazz recordings from 1985-91 currently stored on at-risk DAT and Betamax tapes. Recordings include club and festival performances by some of jazz’s most iconic figures, as well as a trove of WBGO-produced, NPR-syndicated jazz programs. Recordings will be available online via the American Archive of Public Broadcasting, and onsite at the Library of Congress and GBH in Boston.

UC Santa Barbara — Santa Barbara, California
Awarded: $10,000
UCSB Library will digitize and make accessible recordings of the groundbreaking radio broadcasts of the CBS Symphony conducted by Bernard Herrmann in the 1930s and 1940s. Herrmann’s early career as a conductor is documented by 70 radio broadcasts on 200 lacquer discs held by UCSB.

Boston Symphony Orchestra — Boston
Awarded: $10,000
The BSO will preserve and make accessible 233 live concert radio broadcasts from 1979-1991 of John Williams conducting the Boston Pops. Recorded on quarter inch reel-to-reel audiotape, these historically significant tapes document his work with such artists as Marilyn Horne, Tony Bennett, John Denver, as well as his own film music yet are currently inaccessible. We will create preservation master files and access copies for public use both remotely and onsite.

Freight & Salvage — Berkeley, California
Awarded: $10,000
The grant to Freight & Salvage will continue preservation of recordings and sustain copyright research. This encompasses 70 percent of 2,500 recordings featuring historic musicianship collected over our 54-year history. Wrapping up the digitalization and documentation of analog formats, they will progress to transferring recordings dated 1989-2020 to include early digital formats, e.g., DAT and CD-R, thus archiving the remaining 30 percent of our collection.

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc. — New Orleans

Awarded: $15,000
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation Archive will digitize, preserve, make accessible, and disseminate approximately 400 audio and video recordings originally recorded on highly fragile formats made between 1989 to 2006. The recordings were made at the world-renowned New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and are comprised of superb interviews and performances in the genres of gospel, Cajun, zydeco, jazz, traditional jazz, Mardi Gras Indian, blues, R&B, international, pop, and rock by legendary and highly influential performers.

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Cannes Film Festival

PHOTOS: The Big Winners from the 2023 Cannes Film Festival



French film director Justine Triet raises the Palme D'Or after her film, "Anatomie d’une chute" (Anatomy of a Fall), is announced the Palme D'Or winner during the 2023 Cannes Film Festival Sunday, May 28, 2023. Photo: Patience Eding for Florida National News.
French film director Justine Triet raises the Palme D'Or after her film, "Anatomie d’une chute" (Anatomy of a Fall), is announced the Palme D'Or winner during the 2023 Cannes Film Festival Sunday, May 28, 2023. Photo: Patience Eding for Florida National News.

CANNES, France (FNN) – The world’s most glamorous red carpet and festival finally wrapped up Sunday. Here’s the list of the big winners from this year’s Cannes Film Festival.


Palme d’Or: Anatomie d’Une Chute (Anatomy of a Fall) by Justine Triet


French film director Justine Triet (2nd from right) and cast at a photocall for the "Anatomy of a Fall" film at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. Photo: Patience Eding/Florida National News.

Justine Triet (2nd from right) and cast at a photocall for the “Anatomy of a Fall” film at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. Photo: Patience Eding/Florida National News.



Grand Prix: The Zone of Interest by Jonathan Glazer


Jonathan Glazer receives the Grand Prix (Grand Prize) for the "The zone of interest" during the 2023 Cannes Film Festival Sunday, May 28, 2023. Photo: Patience Eding/Florida National News.

Jonathan Glazer receives the Grand Prix (Grand Prize) for “The zone of interest” during the 2023 Cannes Film Festival Sunday, May 28, 2023. Photo: Patience Eding/Florida National News.



Best Director: Hûng Tran Anh for La Passion de Godin Bouffant


Director Tran Anh Hung receives the Best Director award for the film 'La passion de Dodin Bouffant' (The Pot au Feu), as he stands next to Pete Docter, Chief Creative Officer at Pixar Animation Studios. Photo: Reuters.

Director Tran Anh Hung receives the Best Director award for the film ‘La passion de Dodin Bouffant’ (The Pot au Feu), as he stands next to Pete Docter, Chief Creative Officer at Pixar Animation Studios. Photo: Reuters.



Prix du Jury (Jury Prize): Les Feuilles Mortes, directed by Aki Kaurismaki


Jury (Jury Prize) for "Les Feuilles Mortes" during the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. Photo: Patience Eding/Florida National News.

Aki Kaurismaki (left) receives the Prix du Jury (Jury Prize) for “Les Feuilles Mortes” during the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. Photo: Patience Eding/Florida National News.



Best Screenplay: Yuji Sakamoto for Monster, directed by Hirokazu Kore Eda


Yuji Sakamoto receives the Best Screenplay Award for "Monster" during the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. Photo: Patience Eding/Florida National News.

Yuji Sakamoto receives the Best Screenplay Award for “Monster” during the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. Photo: Patience Eding/Florida National News.



Best Performance by an Actress: Merve Dizdar in Les Herbes Eches, directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan


Merve Dizdar receives the Best Performance by an Actress award for "Les Herbes Eches" during the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. Photo: Patience Eding/Florida National News.

Merve Dizdar receives the Best Performance by an Actress award for “Les Herbes Eches” during the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. Photo: Patience Eding/Florida National News.



Best Performance by an Actor: Yakusho Koji in Perfect Days, directed by Wim WENDERS


Yakusho Koji receives the Best Performance by an Actor award for "Perfect Days" during the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. Photo: Patience Eding/Florida National News.

Yakusho Koji receives the Best Performance by an Actor award for “Perfect Days” during the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. Photo: Patience Eding/Florida National News.



Palme d’Honneur: Michael Douglas and Harrison Ford


Cannes Film Festival President Iris Knobloch presents Harrison Ford with the Palme d'Honneur (Honorary Palme d'Or) during the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. Photo: Cannes Film Festival.Cannes Film Festival President Iris Knobloch presents Harrison Ford with the Palme d'Honneur (Honorary Palme d'Or) during the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. Photo: Cannes Film Festival.

Cannes Film Festival President Iris Knobloch presents Harrison Ford with the Palme d’Honneur (Honorary Palme d’Or) during the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. Photo: Cannes Film Festival.


Michael Douglas also receives the Palme d'Honneur (Honorary Palme d'Or) during the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. Photo: Valerie Hache/AFP.

Michael Douglas also receives the Palme d’Honneur (Honorary Palme d’Or) during the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. Photo: Valerie Hache/AFP.



Mellissa Thomas and international correspondent Patience Eding contributed to this report. |


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Movie Review: Disenchantment under the sea in live-action ‘The Little Mermaid’



It’s not Rob Marshall’s fault that Disney’s latest live-action retread doesn’t really sing. “The Little Mermaid,” a somewhat drab undertaking with sparks of bioluminescence, suffers from the same fundamental issues that plagued “The Lion King,” “Aladdin” and “Beauty and the Beast.” Halle Bailey might be a lovely presence and possesses a superb voice that is distinctly different from Jodi Benson’s, but photorealistic fins, animals and environments do not make Disney fairy tales more enchanting on their own.

The essential problem is that the live-action films have prioritized nostalgia and familiarity over compelling visual storytelling. They try to recreate beats and shots from their animated predecessors, defiantly ignoring the possibility that certain musical sequences and choices were enchanting and vibrant because they were animated, not in spite of it.

This image released by Disney shows Halle Bailey as Ariel and Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric in "The Little Mermaid." (Disney via AP)

Halle Bailey as Ariel and Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric in “The Little Mermaid.” (Disney via AP)

There was, in the 1989 film, a sparkling awe to everything. The underwater castle. The mermaids. Eric’s ship. Even Ariel’s bright red hair. Combined with the wonderful songs and lyrics by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, it’s not hard to understand why it helped fuel a Disney Animation renaissance.

Anyone who has gone through the recent Disney’s live-action library would be right to approach “The Little Mermaid” with caution. Still, there’s excitement as the camera takes us underwater to give us our first glimpse of the mermaids — even after a somewhat ominous quote from Hans Christian Anderson that begins the movie (“But a mermaid has no tears, and therefore she suffers much more”). You can’t help but be hopeful. But the first mermaid that comes into focus doesn’t so much evoke wonder as it does a flashback of Ben Stiller’s merman in “Zoolander.” The technology is better, sure, but the result is about the same. Worse, as we spend more time with them, following Ariel’s multicultural sisters as they gather around their father King Triton (Javier Bardem), it’s hard to shake a distinctly uncanny valley feeling. It’s like gazing in on a roundtable of AI supermodels with fins.

This image released by Disney shows Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, left, and Halle Bailey as Ariel in "The Little Mermaid." (Disney via AP)

Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, left, and Halle Bailey as Ariel in “The Little Mermaid.” (Disney via AP)

For all its pizazz, everything about this “Little Mermaid” is just more muted. Miranda’s new songs are odd, too, and don’t seem to fit. Prince Eric’s (Jonah Hauer-King) makes sense, maybe even Ariel’s in-her-head anthem after she gives her voice to Melissa McCarthy’s Ursula, but did Scuttle really need a song, too?

Speaking of Scuttle, the cute cartoons that stood in for Ariel’s seagull, crab and fish friends have been replaced with horrifyingly accurate depictions of said animals. Awkwafina’s comedy charms can only go so far while looking like an actual seagull who might be after your chips at the beach. Close-ups of its beady blue eyes are unsettling, though it was probably a good call to go blue over gold, which looks a bit demonic even in the cartoon. Sometimes it seems as though the editor is trying to minimize the unpleasantness by quickly cutting away from Scuttle. Flounder (Jacob Tremblay, who also voiced Luca) doesn’t have this problem as much, mainly because once they go out of the water he’s essentially hidden under the surface. Daveed Digg’s Sebastian gets off easy, looking the most pleasantly cartoonish. But then there’s that Jamaican accent that they decided to carry over (and this in a movie that adds a line about consent to “Kiss the Girl”).

This image released by Disney shows Melissa McCarthy as Ursula in "The Little Mermaid." (Disney via AP)

Melissa McCarthy as Ursula in “The Little Mermaid.” (Disney via AP)

Visibility is a problem for more than just Flounder, too. Sometimes “The Little Mermaid’s” underwater sequences just look too underwater. Things are cloudy and dull and hard to see, once again probably in the name of authenticity, but straining to see what Marshall and the scores of VFX teams have labored on for years is not a pleasant experience. This could be a projection issue — I wasn’t in an especially high-tech theater with color enhancing upgrades. But that also means anyone without access to things like Dolby Vision around the world will have this issue, too. When Sebastian brings out the most colorful fish he can find for the “Under the Sea” number, you even start to empathize with Ariel a little bit. It is the exact opposite of the “ Avatar: The Way of Water ” experience.

“The Little Mermaid,” a Walt Disney Co. release in theaters Friday, is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association for “action/peril, some scary images.” Running time: 135 minutes. Two stars out of four.

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American Black Film Festival Announces 2023 Talks Series



LOS ANGELES, (May 5, 2023) – The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) today announced its 2023 Talks Series lineup, featuring conversations and panels with award-winning directors, producers, top-line talent, music composers and social media influencers, including the 2023 Festival Ambassador Lena Waithe. The annual Community Day rounds out the five-day festival, providing a place for festivalgoers and the local Miami Beach community to experience and engage in encore presentations. The 27th annual ABFF will take place in Miami Beach June 14-18 and will be available to a global audience June 19-25 on ABFF PLAY (

“We are excited to present a compelling slate of conversations from leading storytellers across film, television, music and social media platforms that are empowering and entertaining,” said Nicole Friday, festival producer, president and COO, ABFF Ventures. “The Talks provide the audience with first-hand access allowing them to engage and learn from creatives and industry leaders. That’s the magic of the festival.”

Highlights include opening night remarks from multi-hyphenate Emmy-winner and Hillman Grad founder Lena Waithe, who will share an exclusive onstage look into her journey in a one-on-one conversation, “The Lena Waithe Effect,” sponsored by American Airlines. Tabitha Brown and husband Chance Brown will take the stage with a candid conversation — “That’s Our Business,” delivered by UPS. Kirk and Tammy Franklin (The One) will join LisaRaye McCoy (Asking for a Friend) in a lively discussion presented by TV One Networks. Yvette Nicole Brown and comedian Kym Whitley share gems in “Act Your Age” presented by Bounce TV. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip hop is Xfinity Original Series “Hip House.” Morgan Rhodes (The Color Purple) and Carolyn Owens (Cherish the Day) come together to discuss the world of music supervision in “WBD Access Music Supervisor Panel; and Warner Bros. Pictures will share the “ABFF First Look: The Color Purple – A Bold New Take on a Beloved Classic.” Culminating the festival will be a special screening of MAX’s all-new animated series “Young Love” from Matthew Cherry (Hair Love). Continuing ABFF’s talent discovery program, which finds emerging artists and introduces them to the entertainment industry, is the return of ALLBLK’s “Shoot Your Shot Casting Call,” featuring this year’s guest reader Lance Gross.

Other festival moments include candid conversations about Black culture: Cadillac’s “Creating Cultural Capital;” We The Culture (META) presents “The Creator Cameo: How We The Culture is Powering The Next Generation of Black Hollywood;” P&G’s “Widening the View Black Experience;” Andscape presents “Where Blackness is Infinite. Welcome Home;” “Warner Bros. Television presents “All American: Getting Authentic Black Stories to the End Zone;” and just in time for Father’s Day, Walmart presents “Dear Dad: A Conversation on Black Fatherhood.” Financial empowerment and money management for creators and individuals is discussed in “Creator Economy: From Bootstrapping to Business” presented by Ally. The Motion Picture Association (MPA) discusses “How Social Media Transformed Filmmaking;” ESPN Films shares how the best storytelling transcends sports in “We’re Not Just Sports;” “How to Secure (and Grow) the Bag: Making Your Money Work Harder Than You Do” from Prudential Financial; production in Georgia is the focus of “Production in the Heart of the Peach,” from Fulton Films GA; and “Writers (Un) Blocked: Black Women Writers Tackle Film & TV” presented by META.

On the virtual front, alumni from NBCU LAUNCH’s TV directors and writers programs join “Keeping it Real: Maintaining Mental Wellness as a Creator of Color,” presented by Comcast NBCUniversal; IMDb presents “Use IMDbPro to Navigate and Advance Your Entertainment Career;” and Universal Filmed Entertainment Group’s Global Talent Development & Inclusion (GTDI) team presents “Hitting the Right Note: Creating Access for Emerging Composer Talent in the Industry” featuring Universal Composers Initiative current talent and successful alumni sharing their journeys and highlights of their careers in the industry.

Annual festival pleaser events include: the 26th HBO Short Film Award Showcase, hosted by Bevy Smith, featuring five shorts from emerging filmmakers who compete for the prestigious award; and the Best of the ABFF Awards, hosted by Emmy-nominated actor/author Dondré Whitfield, where the 2023 independent film awards and talent contest winners will be presented.

The live festival culminates on Sunday, June 18 with its annual ABFF Community Day in partnership with the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau as part of its commitment to inform, educate and provide opportunities in the entertainment industry to the local community. The event is free and open to all South Florida residents.

All ABFF live events are held in and around Miami Beach including the New Word Center Performance Hall, the Miami Beach Convention Center, O Cinema South Beach, The Bass Museum and the Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater.

ABFF’s Talks Series complements previously announced programming which includes narrative and documentary official film selections, exclusive spotlight screenings and world premieres, sneak peaks and red-carpet premieres.

Following is the schedule of live and virtual 2023 ABFF Talks Series events to date. For times, locations and more details, visit

ABFF Live Talks Series Events June 14-18, 2023

Thursday, June 15, 2023

How Social Media Transformed Filmmaking
Presented by Motion Picture Association
Thanks to digital and social media, aspiring filmmakers now have an incredible world of educational resources right at their fingertips — and TikTok, Instagram, and other social media platforms are turning younger people into filmmakers every day. But how is social video changing the broader video landscape? Are social platforms creating the next generation of professional filmmakers? And for the indie filmmakers among us, how can you best use social media to get more attention and awareness — and money — for your projects? Join this panel of leading media experts to discuss these questions and much more.
Panelists: Gabriel Alexis, Bryan Wolfinger, Ade Johnson, and Angel N. Livas Moderator: David Hudson

WBD Access Music Supervisor Panel
Presented by Warner Brothers Discovery
Join us for a discussion about the world of music supervision featuring Morgan Rhodes (The Color Purple, Queen Sugar, Space Jam) and Carolyn Owens (Cherish the Day, Unprisoned, Flatbush Misdemeanors), moderated by Naima Cochrane. We will explore how to get music placements, budgeting for music for film/TV, discuss the role of a music supervisor, and much more!

Act Your Age
Presented by Bounce TV
Bernadette, Keisha, and Angela are making the rest of their lives the best of their lives as roommates in a penthouse Bernadette owns in the DMV. This comedic series looks at what it means to be a woman in the prime of her life trying to find love, parenting adult children, living with friends, and redefining what it means to “act your age.” Join us for clips & conversations as we discuss “Act Your Age” with show leads Kim Whitley and Yvette Nicole Brown and series creator and showrunner Alyson Fouse.

We’re Not Just Sports
Presented by ESPN Films
This hosted clips-and-conversation panel will focus on the business of developing and producing documentary series, features, and shorts. The discussion will discuss what producers look for in a pitch and closely examine the distribution trends of the broadcast and streaming business. The panel will also showcase how ESPN Films and 30 for 30 feature the work of today’s finest storytellers from inside and outside the sports world. It will balance creative and marketplace considerations to provide a complete picture of how the best storytelling transcends sports to provide meaningful perspectives on culture, race, adversity, triumph, and the human experience.

The Lena Waithe Effect
Presented by American Airlines
Emmy-winning writer, creator, producer, actor, founder and ABFF’s 2023 Festival Ambassador Lena Waithe is unapologetically transforming the culture in Hollywood with creativity, diversity and wit. A natural born storyteller, with projects including The Chi, Queen & Slim, Twenties, in this intimate conversation, Lena shares her journey to become one of the most respected artists and producers in Hollywood. The audience will experience what comprises The Lena Waithe Effect, including her unwavering commitment to support diverse voices and create art that defies the status quo.
Panelist: Lena Waithe, Hillman Grad

Writers (Un) Blocked: Black Women Writers Tackle Film & TV
Presented by META
What does it take to become a successful screenwriter? Black women writers reflect on their journeys in the film and TV industry, share creative and business advice, and discuss the value of finding their voices—and illuminating the stories of Black women.
Panelists: Tembi Locke, Attica Locke
Moderator: Terri Prettyman Bowles and Michele Prettyman

Hip House
Presented by Comcast NBCUniversal | Xfinity
This year marks the 50th anniversary of hip hop. Join us as we celebrate with Clips & Conversation discussing the new Black Experience on Xfinity Original Series, “Hip House.” Listen as the executive producers and talent from the doc discuss the making of “Hip House” and the impact of hip hop and House within the music industry. The session will feature the iconic DJs, executive producers, and other special guests from the doc.

Shoot Your Shot
Presented by ALLBLK
The ALLBLK x ABFF casting call is back. Once again, one lucky winner will be next to earn a leading role in the upcoming ALLBLK original series, Involved, created by and starring Grammy-nominated singer and actor Omarion. The top five finalists will perform in front of a live audience and the winner will be selected by a panel of industry judges.
Panelists: Brett Dismuke, Leah Daniels Butler, Nikki Love
Guest Reader: Lance Gross

HBO Short Film Awards Showcase
Presented by HBO
Five finalists will compete in ABFF’s Annual HBO Short Film Award Showcase. The prestigious showcase will celebrate 26 years of HBO’s commitment to recognizing the next generation of diverse, artistic, and creative talent at ABFF, including this year’s groundbreaking directors with diverse styles of filmmaking.
Finalists: To Be Announced
Moderator: Bevy Smith

Friday, June 16, 2023

Production in the Heart of the Peach
Presented by Fulton Films (GA) Office
Film and tv producers, actors and directors are flocking to Atlanta/Fulton County to produce their films. With its enticing film tax-credits the State of George has become the hottest location for film projects boosting $4.4 billion in revenue, with the majority of the productions created in the Heart of the Peach, Fulton County, GA. Join the stars of the popular BET + series All the Queens Men to hear why they choose to #FilminFulton and why you should consider bringing your next production to the ATL.
Panelists, Christian Keyes, Eva Marcille, Shaunya Chavis-Rucker and Commissioner Marvin Arrington, Jr.

All American: Getting Authentic Black Stories to the End Zone
Presented by Warner Bros. Television
Television can often times be a conduit for change, especially when it shines a light on important, relatable issues. Leading creative forces will come together for a candid conversation about Black excellence, family dynamics, community impact, and mental health. Join creatives and stars from All American, for a deeper dive into telling Black stories on television, delivering programming for all ages, and more.
Panelists: Daniel Ezra, Bre-Z, Greta Onieogou, Samantha Logan, Michael Evans Behling

POV: Life of a Showrunner
Presented by Comcast NBCUniversal
Prolific showrunners discuss how they develop nuanced and authentic stories, provide a candid POV of what it really means to be a showrunner and talk about navigating their careers in the industry.
Moderator: Gary Gerard Hamilton, Associated Press

Thursdays Are For Lovers At TV One: The One and Asking For A Friend
Presented by TV One Networks
“The One” is a fun, competition dating series, led by celebrity power couple Kirk and Tammy Franklin. The Franklins will share their magic to maintain a healthy relationship with one male and one female single who live an exceptional life, except when it comes to dating and finding love. “Asking for a Friend…” is a modern, self-contained dating show in which two single best friends looking for love, choose blind dates and then double date together, all in one evening. Join our renowned panelists as they share wisdom and inspiration from the lens of their respective series.
Panelists: Kirk Franklin, Tammy Franklin, LisaRaye McCoy, Allison Simmons
Moderator: Michelle Rice, President, TV One

Creator Economy: From Bootstrapping to Business
Presented by Ally
Come join Ally Financial and a powerhouse panel as they discuss equipping the creator economy with financial education to build a firm foundation in support of their craft.
Panelists: Jack Howard, Ronne Brown, and TBD
Moderator: Gia Peppers

Dear Dad: A Conversation on Black Fatherhood
Presented by Walmart
Did you remember it’s Father’s Day weekend? Featuring a celebrity panel of dads, this intimate discussion will aim to shift the narrative around Black men as fathers, highlighting the importance of their presence within the family and the Black community. We will also premiere three short films from emerging filmmakers, Jared Malik Royal, Dior Rodriguez and Rodney Rikai, as they share stories of fatherhood from their own eyes.

The Creator Cameo: How We The Culture Is Powering The Next Generation of Black Hollywood
Presented by: We The Culture (META)
Black art in commercial media has taken several steps forward over the last decade to celebrate diverse talent in front and behind the camera. Rising stars from Meta’s We The Culture (Black Creator Program) discuss how they create at the intersection of the internet and culture, producing inclusive and engaging content on big and small screens for global audiences.
Panelists: LaLa Milan, Ezee, Kimberly Renee, Randy Savvy
Moderator: Michelle Mitchell, Head of Culture, Content and Equity, META

Saturday, June 17, 2023

How to Secure (and Grow) the Bag: Making Your Money Work Harder Than You Do
Presented by Prudential Financial
Prudential Financial Planner Delvin Joyce and a special guest share their stories on money management. Hear tips on how to live well today and plan financially for tomorrow.

Widening the View of the Black Experience
Presented by P&G
Let’s widen the screen, so we can widen the view of the Black experience. Join us for a clips & conversations event featuring six dynamic filmmakers from The Queen Collective, which is P&G’s signature talent development initiative created in partnership with Queen Latifah that aims to accelerate equality for Black women and non-binary filmmakers.
Panelists: Contessa Gayles, Idil Ibrahim, Imani Dennison, Jenn Shaw, Luchina Fisher, Vashni Korin

Where Blackness is Infinite. Welcome Home
Presented by Andscape
Andscape is a Black media platform dedicated to creating, highlighting, and uplifting the diverse stories of Black identity. Magnified by the power and reach of The Walt Disney Company, the Andscape umbrella includes an editorial division, book publishing arm, film and television division, and music publishing group – each united by the shared mission of illuminating the culture and experience of Blackness.
Panelists: EmmoLei Sankofa, Tre’vell Anderson, and Joi Elaine
Moderator: Raina Kelley, Vice President and Editor-In-Chief, Andscape

“That’s Our Business” A Conversation with Tabitha & Chance Brown
Delivered by UPS
From UPS employee to business and media mogul, Tabitha Brown has made a name for herself. Tabitha’s energy is unmatched through her authenticity, love of family, TV appearances, and uplifting social media content. In an intimate conversation with UPS’s Kevin Warren, Tabitha, and her husband Chance will discuss the importance of amplifying Black voices, supporting diverse-owned small businesses, and removing barriers in the TV and film industry.
Panelists: Tabitha Brown, Chance Brown
Moderator: Kevin Warren, EVP and Chief Marketing and Customer Experience Officer, UPS

Creating Cultural Capital
Presented by Cadillac
Filmmakers demand we see the world as it truly is—or truly ought to be. Cadillac is proud to host a conversation with Tarshena Armstrong, Director of Diversity Marketing & Development, General Motors along with noteworthy writers, directors and producers and focus on how films instigate cultural conversations and affect change.
Moderator: Stacey Walker King, Chief Brand Officer, MACRO

ABFF First Look: The Color Purple – A Bold New Take on a Beloved Classic
Presented by Warner Bros. Pictures

Sunday, June 18, 2023

ABFF Community Day 2023
Sponsored by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitor Bureau (GMCVB)
This year’s annual Community Day will present a screening of MAX’s animated series “Young Love” from Oscar-winning filmmaker Matthew Cherry (“Hair Love”). Filled with comedy and heart, “Young Love” is an honest look into the world of the Young family – including millennial parents Stephen and Angela, their daughter Zuri and her pet cat Rocky – as they juggle their careers, marriage, parenthood, social issues, and multi-generational dynamics all while striving to make a better life for themselves. Join the film’s director Matthew Cherry and a special guest.

Virtual Talk Series Events available on ABFF PLAY June 19 – 25, 2023

Financial Health and Wellness: Money Worries and Your Creative Flow
Presented by Ally
Come join Ally Financial and a powerhouse panel as they explore how economic anxiety may be showing up in your life, its impact on your physical, mental, and social well-being, and how to manage it.
Panelists: Demetrius Scott, Financial Education, Ally, Dr. Rose Moten, Founder of Bloom Transformation Center, Jamel Randall, Owner of Trap Yoga Studio & Mindfulness Expert
Moderator: Jack Howard, Financial Health & Wellness, Ally

Hip Hop Destinations: The Conversation
Presented by Andscape
The regional differences in hip hop have always created rich conversation among artists and fans. What makes each locale different factors into what makes the culture great as a whole. With that in mind, we gathered six hip hop luminaries to discuss the finer points of what makes each of their cities an essential piece of the culture’s landscape.
Series featured guests: Fuzzy the Connector, Kim Osorio, Symba, Icewear Vezzo, Miabelle and Baby Jade

Hitting the Right Note: Creating Access for Emerging Composer Talent in the Industry
Presented by Comcast NBCUniversal
This panel will feature current participants and successful alumni from GTDI’s flagship program, the Universal Composer Initiative and highlight their journey as they take the next steps in their careers in the industry. The discussion will aim to showcase some of our emerging diverse talent, as well as provide perspective on how they view access and representation in the industry.
Panelists: Jognic Bontemps, Pierre Charles, Raashi Kulkarni
Moderator: Angela Leus

Keeping It Real: Maintaining Mental Wellness as a Creator of Color
Presented by Comcast NBCUniversal
While inclusion efforts in the entertainment industry have improved, many people of color still find themselves as the only diverse voice in a room. The stress of being “the only” while also striving to have your ideas heard and implemented can greatly impact a person’s mental and emotional health. During this conversation, alumni from NBCU LAUNCH’s writing and directing programs for diverse talent will discuss the nuances of balancing their experiences on set and in the writer’s room and maintaining their mental wellness.
Moderator Dr. Tara Doaty, Sage Wellness Group

Use IMDbPro to Navigate and Advance Your Entertainment Career
Presented by IMDb
IMDbPro, the essential resource for entertainment industry professionals, invites you to join a special virtual webinar to learn more about using IMDbPro to find your next projects, discover people to collaborate with and promote yourself and your career. Explore new features like how to self-submit and manage the display of your demographic information, including gender, race/ethnicity, birth year, and more, to be discovered by fans and industry decision-makers on IMDb and IMDbPro. Try IMDbPro for free at

Since its inception, the highly regarded American Black Film Festival has become a cornerstone for diversity in Hollywood. It has premiered the work and supported the careers of many of today’s most successful filmmakers, actors, writers and stand-up comedians, and is recognized as a standard-bearer of excellence for Black creativity. Continuing its legacy to empower Black artists and showcase a wide range of entertainment content, the ABFF features studio premieres, independent films, master classes, panels, talent showcases, networking and hospitality events.

ABFF sponsors and partners to date are Warner Bros. Discovery and HBO® (Founding), Andscape, Ally, Comcast NBCUniversal, Walmart, Cadillac (Presenting), City of Miami Beach, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB), UPS, TV One Networks, Netflix, Meta, Prime Video (Major), American Airlines, IMDb, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Variety, YouTube Black Voices, Prudential Financial, ALLBLK, Bounce TV, OWN, Warner Bros. Television (Official), A&E Network, BET Media Group, Motion Picture Association (MPA), Confluential Films, Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Fulton Films GA, ESPN Films, Lionsgate (Supporting).

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