ABFFV and Lightbox, an award-winning multiplatform media company focused on creating high-quality non-fiction programming to further diversity in the feature documentary arena, have partnered to establish a Documentary Competition open to African American filmmakers and any documentary filmmakers interested in exploring non-fiction stories and themes that speak directly to the Black experience. Selected films will be developed and produced by Lightbox and ABFF Films division and executive produced by ABFF Ventures CEO Jeff Friday and Lightbox co-founders Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn. Selected films will be financed by 21st Century Fox Studios and National Geographic.

Based in London and Los Angeles, Lightbox has produced several acclaimed documentaries that speak directly to the experience of people of color in America, including ESPN’s “Fantastic Lies” about the 2006 Duke Lacrosse scandal and National Geographic’s “LA 92” that marked the 25th anniversary of the civil unrest in Los Angeles following the verdicts in the Rodney King beating case. The company is currently in production on the only authorized documentary about the life and legacy of the late Whitney Houston.


  1. Open to African American documentary filmmakers and others interested in exploring non-fiction stories and themes that speak directly to the African-American experience.
  2. Filmmakers must complete and submit the official entry form, downloadable from www.abffventures.com/films, along with the following two items which complete a single “proposal.”
    • a 1-3 page documentary feature film treatment (.pdf file). Written treatments are to clearly articulate the narrative and creative ambition of the documentary.
    • 2-5 minute “proof of concept reel” (in the form of a standard digital video file, protected by a password). The reel must clearly demonstrate the proposed feature documentary in any manner the applicant feels is relevant. Proof of concept reel may include original or 3rd party footage for the purposes of illustrating the story, themes and style of the proposed documentary
  3. Filmmakers may submit up to three (3) proposals each.
  4. All film proposals must be wholly originated by the applicant and cannot have received any funding prior to submission.
  5. Filmmakers must submit proposals to docs@abffventures.com by no later than July 30, 2017.
  6. Three semi-finalists will be selected, followed by one winner who will receive the opportunity to enter into a development deal with ABFF Films and Lightbox (Fall 2017).