The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) is the “nations most prominent film festival,” and attracts audiences from across the globe.  This year’s festival will run from June 14-18 in Miami, Florida.  In addition to the best of black film and TV, the five-day festival will offer several master classes led by top tier entertainment professionals offering advice based on their own experiences in the film and television industry.

The classes will include a session from actress Tasha Smith (Why Did I Get Married, Empire) where the focus be on the craft and career of an actor.  NBC senior executive Karen Horne will lead the master class on packaging your TV show idea, and will also will provide a valuable introduction into what it takes to become a television writer.  Veteran producer Stephanie Allain will break down the nuts and bolts of producing a movie, from script development to distribution.

Horne is Senior Vice President, Programming Talent Development and Inclusion for NBC Entertainment and Universal Television Studios where she is responsible for overseeing in-front-of and behind-the-camera primetime diversity efforts for NBC and Universal Television. NBC’s Writers on the Verge Program, the Emerging Directors Program, StandUp NBC, a nationwide talent search, NBC’s Late Night Writers Workshop and the NBCUniversal Short Film Festival are among the many programs she heads while also overseeing NBC’s Diversity Staffing Initiative and working with the creative programming team to identify diverse development. Horne also worked at HBO in Los Angeles as a co-producer for the Emmy Award-winning animated series Spawn.

Allain is a seasoned producer who has been working in Hollywood for over two decades.  She was the studio executive behind classic films in the 90’s such as Boyz in the Hood and Poetic Justice. She then went on to produce films such as Hustle & Flow, Something New starring Sanaa Lathan, Dear White People, and most recently produced Beyond the Lights directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood.  This spring Allain wrapped production on the Hulu digital pilot Crushed, a series revolving around a black family as they find success in the winemaking business in Napa, California, and is currently the executive producer of Justin Simen’s upcoming Netflix series Dear White People.  Allain is also producing Juanita starring Alfre Woodard through her production company Homegrown Pictures, and is attached to the upcoming Misty Copeland biopic Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina.

Smith has starred in several classic films over the past two decades.  She has played roles in multiple Tyler Perry projects, Daddy’s Little Girls, Why Did I Get Married?, and its sequel Why Did I Get Married Too?  She also starred in the comedy series, Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse.  Smith appeared in the comedy-drama film Jumping the Broom, and in 2014, she was cast in a recurring role in the Fox drama series Empire.  In addition to all of her acting credits, in 2015 Smith made her directorial debut with Boxed In, that premiered during the 19th Annual American Black Film Festival.

For more information on how you can purchase your tickets for one or all of these classes click HERE.

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