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2015 ABFF Award Winners

ABFF 2015 WinnersPosted by Wilson Morales

June 15, 2014

Film Life’s 19th annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF) announced the winners of their independent film awards in the Hilton Hotel Grand Ballroom in New York City on June 14, 2015.

Hosted by comedian Chris Spencer, the event started off with a performance by singer V. Bozeman of Fox’s Empire. Among the three songs she sang throughout the night was her signature tune, “What Is Love.”

Also including in the ceremony was a career achievement award, presented by Tracee Ellis Ross, to actress Jenifer Lewis for her illustrious body work on stage, TV and film. Speaking for over 15 minutes, you could hear drop as the audience listened to Lewis discuss her ups and down in the career, including being diagnosed with bipolar but never letting it deter her from being successful.

ABFF 2015 Solvan Naim Best Short Film

Muted - ABFF 2014 winnerMuted - ABFF 2014 winnerThe HBO Short Film Award was given to ‘Stanhope,’ which was written and directed by Solvan Naim and produced by Naim and Akshay Bhansali. The $10,000 grand prize award was presented by Dennis Williams, Vice President, Cultural and Social Responsibility of HBO and Bev Smith, co-host on Bravo’s Fashion Queens.

Starring Malik Lockett, Johnnie Mae, Rob Morgan, Nedra McClyde, and Simeon Buresch, Stanhope is a drama about a teenage inner-city kid from Brooklyn who gets caught up in a web of violence as a paid assassin.

ABFF 2015 Asha Kamali Star Project Winner

This year’s NBC Universal Star Project two grand-prize winners are Asha Kamali, a Howard University alumni and Ramell Peebels from Ossining, New York. The award was presented by Karen Horne, vice president, Programming Talent Development and Inclusion for NBC Entertainment and Universal Television Studios.

Star Project is an international acting competition for emerging multicultural artists. The winners are afforded the opportunity to audition for a leading casting director and one person will be selected to participate in a walk on role on the award-winning NBC daytime drama ‘Days of Our Lives.’

ABFF 2015 Kiki McKnight Best Feature Screenplay

In the TV One Screenplay Competition, the winner was Keronda ‘Kiki’ McKnight of Los Angeles, California for her feature film screenplay entitled, ‘Deadbeat Dad Rehab.’ The $5000 Grand Prize award was presented by Brad Siegel, president of TV One and Essence Atkins.

The award for best documentary was given to ‘Althea,’ directed by Rex Miller. The award was presented by a BET’s Connie Orlando and LaRissa Bates.

The film centers on Althea Gibson, a truant from the rough streets of Harlem, emerged as a most unlikely queen of the highly segregated tennis world of the 1950s.

American Koko

The winner of the ABFF Web Originals was American Koko, created by Diarra Kilpatrick & Miles Orion Feld.

Employees of the “Everyone’s a Little Racist (EAR) Agency” do their best to tackle every race problem that comes through their door, but for lead agent Akosua Miller, the biggest case of all may be her own…

Presented by Jeff Friday and a spokesperson for McDonald’s, the winner of the McDonald’s Lovin’ Video Competition was Richard T. Fields for “Puppy Love.”

The Audience Award, presented by VH1, for Best Film was a tie, given to Knucklehead and Last Night.

Knucklehead - Alfre Woodard, Gbenga Akinnagbe

Directed by: Ben Bowman, Knucklehead stars Gbenga Akinnagbe, Alfre Woodard, Amari Cheatom, Justin Myrick, Nikiya Mathis, and Carla Duren.

When his brother is shot, mentally disabled Langston Bellows (Gbenga Akinnagbe) is left without a protector in Brooklyn’s housing projects. Now under the control of his abusive mother (Alfre Woodard) he must take his future into his own hands. Langston strives for independence from his prior life, from his mother, and from his fractured mind.

Last Night

Written and directed by: Harold Jackson III, ‘Last Night’ stars  Judi Blair, Danny Gavigan, Benton Greene, Nedra McClyde, and Nikkole Salter.

The film is a romantic drama starring Judi Blair, Danny Gavigan, Benton Greene and Nedra McClyde. Sky’s (Judi Blair) last night in Washington DC before moving to North Carolina with her boyfriend (Benton Greene) becomes a whirlwind of emotions when a chance meeting with an attractive stranger (Danny Gavigan) tests her will.

ABFF 2015 Lisa Arrindel Anderson Best Actor

The Grand Jury Prize for Best Performance by an Actor was given to Lisa Arrindell Anderson for her performance in ‘The ‘Sin Seer.’ The award was presented by last year’s winner Keith Robinson and René Syler, co-host of Aspire’s Exhale.

“The Sin Seer” follows Rose Ricard (Anderson), a woman who has the ability to see the sin in people’s souls and detect lies — a gift she uses to solve crimes. But when her latest case opens a door to her past, and that of her new partner (Washington), not even her ability can prepare her for what’s ahead.

Presented by TimeWarner Foundation and director Roger Bobb, the Grand Jury Award for Best Screenplay was given to Harold Jackson III for ‘Last Night,’ with actress Judy Blair accepting on his behalf.

Cadillac along with Dondre Whitfield and Salli Richardson-Whitfield presented the Grand Jury Prize for Best Director to Kenny Young for ‘The Night Before.’ Young will receives film stock valued at $5000.

ABFF 2015 Kenny Young Best Director

Young won also the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature, which was presented by Prudential and actress Naturi Naughton.

Starring Colin Egglesfield, David Faustino, Fred Willard, Anna Hutchinson, Brian White, and Gary Owen, ‘The Night Before’ is a coming-of-age (kind of late) story about a young man in his mid to late 30s who’s convinced his carefree, womanizing bachelor days will go on forever. However, he’s in for a big wake up call when his best friend decides it’s time to tie the knot…

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