The 2024 American Black Film Festival is giving fans a look at its official narrative and documentary features lineup. The festival, as always, takes place in Miami Beach June 12-16. For online viewers, check in at ABFF PLAY June 17-24 to learn more about emerging filmmakers.

This year, narrative features include stars, directors and producers like Renée Elise Goldsberry, Lynn Whitfield, J. Alphonse Nicholson, Jussie Smollett, Vivica A. Fox, Mona Scott-Young, Ben Crump, Akili McDowell, Coke Daniels, La La Anthony, Quavo, Wes Miller, NLE Choppa, Tabitha “Dreamdoll” Robinson.

One of the highlights of the lineup includes Luther: Never Too Much, the documentary about the legendary R&B singer Luther Vandross. The documentary is directed by Dawn Porter and produced by Jamie Foxx. Other prominent producers and directors showcasing documentary work this season includes Quincy Jones, Debbie Allen and Eric “Ptah” Herbert.

Here’s the full rundown of the narrative and documentary features set to screen (descriptions courtesy of the ABFF):

NARRATIVE FEATURES (U.S. & International)

A competitive section for U.S. and international feature-length films directed by and/or

both written and produced by persons of African descent. Films in this category are eligible to be nominated to compete for the following Jury Awards – Best Actor (presented by Ally Financial, $2500 cash prize), Best Director (presented by Cadillac, $5000 cash prize), and Best Narrative Feature (presented by Walmart, $2500 cash prize). The following films represent the 2024 official selections in the Narrative Features category:

Albany Road

On her way to the most important meeting of her career, severe weather forces a New York executive to share a rental car with her former nemesis, her ex-fiancé’s mother, only to discover that the mother is hiding a major secret.

USA | 135 min

Director: Christine Swanson

Writer: Christine Swanson

Producer: Michael Swanson

Cast: Renée Elise Goldsberry, Lynn Whitfield, J. Alphonse Nicholson, Lisa Arrindell, Gary Dourdan, Joe Holt, Rachel Nicks

Black Heat *World Premiere

One night, two parents, out of options, infiltrate a top-level dealer and pimp’s apartment complex to rescue their teenage daughter.

USA | 93 min

Director: Wes Miller

Writer: Wes Miller

Producer: Andrew van den Houte, Wes Miller

Cast: Jason Mitchell, Tabatha “DreamDoll” Robinson, NLE Choppa

Body of Water *USA Premiere

Sometimes you have to take justice into your own hands.

USA | 103 min

Director: Terrisha Kearse

Writer: Steve Fauquier, David Wendell Boykins, Terrisha Kearse, Mico Ramos

Producer: Tara Carbajal, Terrisha Kearse, Keita Don Azu, Seven Bailey, Amber Bolden

Cast: David Wendell Boykins, Dallas Schaefer, Kiya Roberts, Derek S. Orr, Kimberly Bailey

Drip Like Coffee *World Premiere

An unexpected romance evolves between two Brooklyn baristas, Kali, an aspiring coffee professional, and Mel, a budding photographer.

USA | 86 min

Director: Anaiis Cisco

Writer: Anaiis Cisco

Producer: Anaiis Cisco, Ryan Rivard, Mary Pena, Kathryn Boyd-Batstone

Cast: Iman Artwell Freeman, Kashanie Lagrotta Butler, Ralphy Lopez

Freedom Hair

Based on the inspiring, true story of Melony Armstrong, a mother who works at a shelter for battered women decides to start a hair braiding business and must overcome obstacles imposed by a powerful cartel and the state of Mississippi.

USA | 99 min

Director: Dianne Houston

Writer: Dianne Houston

Producer: Stacey Parks, Lana Link, Rob Pfaltzgraff

Cast: Simona Brown, Jeremie Harris, Sophia Bush, and Erica Taze

He Looked Like A Postcard *World Premiere

A poet balancing single motherhood returns to her hometown to rebuild her life and finds love and so much more after receiving a magical postcard under her door. 

USA | 97 min

Director: Qasim Basir

Writer: jessica Care moore

Producer: jessica Care moore, Lasana Hotep,  Gingi Rochelle

Cast: jessica Care moore, Tobias Truvillion, Jaden Anthony Moore, Nicci Gilbert, Donnell Rawlings, Omar Regan

Peripheral *World Premiere

A woman’s husband goes missing soon after moving into their new home, but strange and paranormal events start to occur upon his return.

USA | 88 min

Director: Sulayman Tahir

Writer: Sulayman Tahir, Jordan Tortorello

Producer: Jordan Tortorello, Dallas Hart, Chris Tortorello

Cast: Andria B. Langston, Patrick Walker, Patricia Mizen, D’Kia Anderson, Sami Tortorello

Swoon *World Premiere

A woman wakes tied to a bed, and her captor tries to manipulate her into believing they are a couple.

USA | 83 min

Director: Byron Manuel

Writer: Byron Manuel

Producer: Byron Manuel, Ryan Rojas, JP Ouellette, Cash Oliver, Franco Tavera, George Wriighster, Cameron Duncan, Lily Terrazas, Raul Terrazas, Kassandra Lee Diaz, Rich Morrow.

Cast: Kassandra Lee Diaz, DeRon Cash, Rich Morrow, Efrangeliz Medina, Dean Wil, Herbert Morales, Del Harrison.

The Final Play *USA Premiere

A retired pro basketball player seeks true love and a new beginning, but past traumas threaten his happiness.

USA | 108 min

Director: Tailiah Breon

Writer: Jeremy Pargo, Barshea Lowery

Producer: Jeremy Pargo, Valentina Barton, Tailiah Breon, Ernestine Morrison Johnson

Cast: Jeremy Pargo, Hazel Renee, Jerod Haynes, Navv Greene, Vanessa D. Fant, Brea Joy

The Lost Holliday *World Premiere

After losing her estranged son, Cassandra must deal with grief and guilt while getting to know her son’s daughter and husband, who she knew nothing about.

USA | 96 min

Director: Jussie Smollett

Writer: Jerrell Chesney & Jussie Smollett

Producer: Jussie Smollett, Mona Scott-Young, Tressa Smallwood, Tom Wilson, Joe “Jody” Williams, Janet Smollett, Eddie Mac, Stephanie Gayle, Jerrell Chesney, Anthony Smallwood, Sheila Legette and Vivica A. Fox

Cast: Vivica A. Fox, Jussie Smollett, Jabari Redd, Marquise Vilsón, Brittany S. Hall, Miriam A. Hyman, Londyn Carter, Memphis Cade, Gina Belafonte, Leslie D. Baker

The Odds *World Premiere

A young man stumbles into good fortune but it attracts the wrong attention.

NIGERIA | 93 min

Director: Kewa Oni

Writer: Kewa Oni

Producer: Seun Opabisi, Sean McNichol, Phiona Okunmu, Tunji Jamiu Shoyode

Cast: Molawa Davies, Osita Iheme, Gbemi Akinlade, Kelechi Udegbe

The Waterboyz *World Premiere

In the streets of ATL, two young men cross paths, one trying to make a legit living, the other trying to create mayhem and rule the streets.

USA | 89 min

Director: Coke Daniels

Writer: Coke Daniels

Producer: Coke Daniels, Errol Sadler, Dolapo Erinkitola, Cameron S Mitchell, Brian Sher, Coach K, Pee Thomas, Ben Crump, Tirrell D Whitley.

Cast: Akil McDowell, Alani “La La” Anthony, Quavo Omar Dorsey, Rockmond Dunbar

Young King *World Premiere

As Diondre Howell re-adjusts to civilian life and struggles to cope with the scars of the Iraq war, he increasingly becomes a threat to those he cares about the most – his family.

USA | 94 min

Director: Bryant T. Griffin

Writer: Bryant T. Griffin

Producer: Selena Leoni

Cast: Vince Washington, Tarra Riggs, Kirby Griffin, Vaughn Wilkinson, James Arthur Sims


A competitive section for nonfiction feature films directed by persons of African descent or centered on the culture and experiences of persons of African descent. Films in this category are eligible to be nominated to compete for the Jury Award for Best Documentary ($2500 cash prize). The following films represent the 2024 official selections in the Documentary Features category:

A Time To Yell: More Than A Statue *World Premiere

Former Charlottesville city council member Dr. Wes Bellamy’s impassioned activism reveals the tumultuous journey for racial justice sparked by the controversial removal of Confederate statues and leading to one of modern America’s most divisive conflicts.

USA | 63 min

Director: Eric W. Newman & Daniel B. Levin

Producer: Eric W. Newman, Daniel B. Levin & Daryl Davis

Cast: Dr. Wes Bellamy, Kristin Szakos, Eze Amos, Will Jones, Courtney Commander

Family Tree

In the American South, Black forest landowners fight to maintain their family legacy and create sustainable forests for generations to come.

USA | 97 min

Director: Jennifer MacArthur

Producer: Rupert Maconick

Cast: the Jefferies Family, the Williams Family, Sam Cook, Mavis Gragg, Alton Perry

It Takes A Village: An East Van Story *USA Premiere

The journey of two Ugandan brothers unfolds in East Vancouver highlighting the impact of community in empowering at-risk youth to triumph over adversity.

CANADA| 79 min

Director: Christopher Cho

Producer: Jonathan Mubanda, Christopher Cho, Stephanie Watt-Mubanda, David Mubanda, Wolfgang Klassen

Cast: Jonathan Mubanda, David Mubanda, Theresa Campbell

King Of Kings: Chasing Edward Jones

A European filmmaker searches for the truth about her grandfather, the most famous Policy Kings of all times, who rose to the heights of financial and political prominence in Chicago in the ‘30s, despite discrimination.

FRANCE | 98 min

Director: Harriet Marin Jones

Producer: Harriet Marin Jones

Executive Producers: Quincy Jones, Debbie Allen

Cast: Quincy Jones, Nathan Thompson, Harriet Jones, Timuel Black

Luther: Never Too Much

Dawn Porter offers an in-depth look into the life and career of Luther Vandross as he overcomes personal and professional challenges to become one of the greatest vocalists of all time.

USA | 100 min

Director: Dawn Porter

Producer: Trish D Chetty, Ged Doherty, Jamie Foxx, Datari Turner, Leah Smith

Executive Producers:

Cast: Fonzi Thornton, Robin Clark, Carlos Alomar, Danyel Smith, Jon Platt, Ava Cherry, Seveda Williams, Nile Rodgers, Valerie Simpson, Marcus Miller, Nat Adderly Jr., Jamie Foxx, Lisa Fischer, Kevin Owens, Richard Marx, Clive Davis, Mariah Carey, Dionne Warwick, Max Szadek

Train: The Dick “Night Train” Lane Story *World Premiere

Trace the remarkable rise of Dick Night Train Lane, from the concrete fields of the 1920s to Madden Football stardom, as he transforms from being discarded in a trash can to earning a place in the Football Hall of Fame.

USA | 133 min

Director: Eric “Ptah” Herbert

Producer: Carlos Mendez, Jennifer Karsting, Richard Lane Jr, Richard Walker, Eric “Ptah” Herbert, Mack Tompkins, Andre Mitchell, Devin Mitchell

Executive Producers:

Cast: Eric Dickerson, Ray Lewis, Warren Moon, Dick Lebeau, Rod Woodson, Dick Butkus, Leigh Steinberg, Ct Fletcher, Guy Torry, Fred “The Hammer” Williamson, Henry Leverette

Who In The Hell Is Regina Jones? *World Premiere

Before Rolling Stone, there was Soul Newspaper. Behind Soul, there was Regina Jones. Against all odds, Regina blazed her own path, and at 80 has found herself again.

USA | 99 min

Director: Soraya Selene, Billy Miossi

Producer: Alissa Shapiro

Executive Producers:

Cast: Regina Jones, Matt Jones