The American Black Film Festival honored Denzel Washington on Saturday evening with a career retrospective and discussion which featured the actor in conversation with Chaz Ebert.

Speaking about career highlights, the conversation’s biggest moments included Washington FaceTiming his wife, Pauletta, and two clips from Netflix’s upcoming August Wilson adaptation, The Piano Lesson.

Washington executive produces the film, which stars his son John David Washington and his directed by his other son, Malcolm Washington. One of his daughters, Katia Washington, executive produces as well. Samuel L. Jackson, Ray Fisher, Danielle Deadwyler, Michael Potts and Corey Hawkins round out the film’s main cast.

John David Washington, Jackson, Deadwyler and Hawkins were among the actors featured in the clips.

The iconic actor told the audience that he was on set for a little bit, but went home after two weeks because everything was well-handled.

“I was like, there’s really nothing for me to do here, I’m just in the way,” he said of his son Malcolm as a director. “I’m not saying this because he’s my son, but he’s very talented. He went to the American Film Institute. He graduated number one in his class.”

He also teed up Deadwyler’s performance, noting, “That girl can act…she’s one of one.

The Piano Lesson, “set in 1936 Pittsburgh during the aftermath of the Great Depression,” follows “the lives of the Charles family in the Doaker Charles household and an heirloom, the family piano, which documents the family history through  carvings made by their enslaved ancestor.” 

The two prior August Wilson film adaptations, Fences in 2016 and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom in 2020, were executive produced by Washington and were critically acclaimed, with both receiving multiple Oscar nominations.

The Broadway revival of The Piano Lesson with Jackson and John David Washington ended its limited Broadway run at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre last year, playing 27 previews and 124 regular performances. It is the highest-grossing revival of a play on Broadway and the highest-grossing Wilson production on Broadway ever.

Check out more ABFF 2024 highlights below:

Nicole and Jeff Friday with Ally’s Erica Hughes at the Ally Media Reception

Photo: Kevin Martin Photo
Photo: Kevin Martin Photo

GLAAD’s Queer Lens Brunch

Shar Jossell, Donnie Hue Frazier III, Kayla Thompson, Sidra Smith, Alexandra Grey, DaShawn Usher, Jonica Booth, Jussie Smollett, Alexander King, Soy GIraud and Julian J. Walker | Photo: John Parra/Getty Images for GLAAD

Netflix’s Black Excellence Brunch for ‘The Deliverance’

Photo: Courtesy Photo Provided
Photo: Jason Koerner/Getty Images for Netflix

Panel for NBC’s ‘Found’

Photo: ABFF

Panel for The CW’s ‘All American’ and ‘All American: Homecoming’

Photo by Kelvin Bulluck / Nice Crowd

Nicco Annan speaking during Starz’s ‘Down in the Valley’ screening

Photo: ABFF

NLE Choppa performs at The Legendary All-White Party

Photo: ABFF

Denzel Washington and Issa Rae

Photo: Aaron J. Thornton / ABFF