The annual festival celebrates its 25th anniversary this year with a hybrid model, with live events held Nov. 3-7 in Miami Beach, Fla., followed by a week of virtual events on abffplay.com (available from Nov. 8-14).
The post marks a homecoming for Packer, who got his start when his independent feature film “Trois,” directed by Rob Hardy, premiered at the festival in 1999.
A longtime supporter of the ABFF, the prolific producer — who has earned more than $1.3 billion at the box office under his Will Packer Productions banner — has served on the festival’s advisory board. Packer has also premiered “Girls Trip,” “Think Like A Man Too,” “This Christmas,” “Takers” and “Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain” during the festival. In 2016, Packer received the Distinguished ABFF Alumni Award at ABFF Honors.
“ABFF is one of the single most instrumental institutions in my career. This is more than just a festival for me,” Packer said in a statement. “Its very existence guarantees there will be more Will Packers making movies from a unique perspective and telling the stories of underserved audiences.”
As this year’s jury President, Packer is set to help the festival expand its jury and curate a diverse slate of film and television content.
Of Packer’s appointment, ABFF Ventures Founder & CEO Jeff Friday, said: “We are thrilled to have our dear friend Will serve as this year’s ABFF Jury President. His relationship with the ABFF family spans more than 20 years and his path to success embodies the festival’s mission – empowering Black creatives to thrive in Hollywood.”
The festival is now accepting submissions in the following competitive and non-competitive sections:
HBO Short Film Competition – A competitive section for narrative shorts directed by or produced and written by persons of African descent. Now in its 24th year, prior winners of this award include Ryan Coogler (“Black Panther,” “Judas and Black Messiah”) and Steven Caple Jr. (“Creed II,” “Transformers”).
Narrative Features (US and International) – A competitive section for feature-length films directed by or written by and produced by persons of African descent.
Documentary Features (US and International) – A competitive section for nonfiction feature films directed by persons of African descent.
Web Series – A competitive section for short-form episodic television series directed by or produced and written by persons of African descent. World premieres selected to this section.
World Showcase – A non competitive section showcasing feature and short films made by and about people of African descent, with projects that fall outside of the eligibility criteria of the festival’s competitive sections.
ABFF Pride – A non-competitive showcase of films that represent queer culture and reflect the LGBTQIA experience.
Full eligibility details for submissions to the 2021 American Black Film Festival are available at www.abff.com/miami.