‘Peripheral,’ ‘The Waterboyz’ Win at American Black Film Festival (EXCLUSIVE)

Sulayman Tahir’s “Peripheral” and Coke Daniels’ “The Waterboyz” were among the winners of this year’s Best of ABFF Awards, presented Saturday at the American Black Film Festival.

Hosted by Dondré Whitfield, the festival presented winners in the official film selection categories: narrative and documentary features, series and the HBO Short Film Award showcase. This year’s festival takes place June 12-16 in Miami Beach, Fla., followed by a virtual segment June 17-24 on ABFF PLAY.

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“Peripheral,” which saw its world premiere at the festival, tells the story of a woman whose husband goes missing after moving into their new home, and strange and paranormal events that start to occur upon his return. Directed by Tahir, the film won best narrative feature. Andria B. Langston, Patrick Walker, Patricia Mizen, D’Kia Anderson and Sami Tortorello star in “Peripheral,” co-written by Tahir and Jordan Tortorello.

Daniels’ “The Waterboyz” follows two young men crossing paths in the streets of Atlanta: one trying to make a legit living and the other trying to create mayhem and rule the streets. Starring Akil McDowell, Alani “La La” Anthony, Quavo, Omar Dorsey and Rockmond Dunbar, the film also saw its world premiere at the festival. Daniels won best director for the film, which he also wrote. Daniels, Cameron S. Mitchell, Dolapo Erinkitola, Coach K., Pee Thomas, Ben Crump, Tirrell D. Whitley and Brian Sher produced the film.

The HBO Short Film Award, one of the festival’s premier honors, was presented to writer-director Huriyyah Muhammad for her film “Chocolate With Sprinkles.” The short follows a bickering married couple on their 25th wedding anniversary trying to work on their marriage.

“This year’s Best of ABFF Honors represents a wildly impressive array of emerging Black talent and we are thrilled to share their work with our attendees,” said Nice Crowd president Nicole Friday. “We are delighted to welcome Huriyyah Muhammad, one of the five Black female directors from this year’s HBO Short Film Award showcase, to the esteemed group of artists like Ryan Coogler, Reinaldo Marcus Green, Rashaad Ernesto Green, Frank E. Flowers and Steven Caple, Jr., who have won this honor over the 27 years we have been doing this program.”

ABFF, a qualifying festival for the Academy Awards’ short film categories, has offered the HBO and Warner Bros. Discovery sponsored-award for 27 years. The award also comes with a $10,000 cash prize.

The 2024 Jury Award winners are as follows:

Best Narrative Feature (Presented by Walmart): “Peripheral,” directed by Sulayman Tahir, written by Tahir and Jordan Tortorello

Best Actor (Presented by Ally Financial): Vince Washington (“Young King”)

Best Director (Presented by Cadillac): Coke Daniels (“The Waterboyz”)

Best Documentary: “Train: The Dick Night Tran Lane Story,” directed by Eric “Ptah” Herbert

Best Series (Presented by Comcast NBCUniversal’s Black Experience on Xfinity): “Unsolicited,” written by Barshae Lowery, produced by Lowery and Aysia Moore

HBO Short Film Award Showcase Winner (Presented by HBO and Warner Media): “Chocolate With Sprinkles,” written and directed by Huriyyah Muhammad

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