ABFF Ventures and Lightbox, an award-winning multiplatform media company focused on creating high-quality non-fiction programming to further diversity in the feature documentary arena, joined forces in 2017 to support African American filmmakers and any documentary filmmakers interested in exploring non-fiction stories and themes that speak directly to the Black experience. We are proud to announce that the first film to come out of the Documentary Feature Film Initiative, Storm Over Brooklyn, directed by Muta’Ali, has been greenlit by HBO and is currently in production. Read full press release here.

Submissions to the Documentary Feature Film Initiative II are now open through August 31, 2018, and one film will be selected to be developed and produced by Lightbox and ABFF, executive produced by ABFF Ventures CEO Jeff Friday and Lightbox co-founders Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn.

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 most recently, the only authorized documentary about the life and legacy of the late Whitney Houston “Whitney”, along with 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.


  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 submission & release forms, downloadable below, 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 August 31, 2018.
  6. Up to ten semi-finalists will be selected for a second-round pitch interview in-person in Los Angeles or via SKYPE (October 2018), followed by one final filmmaker who will receive the opportunity to enter into a development deal with ABFF Ventures and Lightbox (Oct./Nov. 2018).