Our Time Has Come Scholars Intern at American Black Film Festival

OTHC Scholars at American Black Film Festival

Film, journalism and music industry students gain professional experience and lifetime memories.

For 27 years, the American Black Film Festival has showcased film and television created by Black creatives for Black audiences. The festival opens with a Hollywood release followed by a robust lineup of studio premieres, independent films, master classes, panels, talent showcases, and a variety of networking and hospitality events, drawing more than 5,000 attendees to create the world’s largest community of Black film and TV enthusiasts. 

The festival is a mecca for anyone interested in Black television and film, and this year, the 28th ABFF was experienced behind the scenes by five Our Time Has Come (OTHC) Scholars who were invited to intern at the weeklong event held in Miami Beach in June.

The students—Nehilah Grand-Pierre ’25, Jada Knight ’25, Jordan Pierre ’23, G’24, Brandon Porter ’24 and Olivia Stepter ’25—participated at the invitation of festival creators Jeff and Nicole Friday, who created the festival and run the entertainment company Nice Crowd. They are also Syracuse University parents; son Edison will be a sophomore this fall.

It was a dream come true for Knight, a radio, television and film major from nearby Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Knight spent the week as part of the registration team, the first point of contact for attendees, allowing her to interact with participants ranging from fans to filmmakers and actors.

It felt amazing to be recognized as a professional in the entertainment industry, even as a college student. There’s something special about bringing hundreds of people together over a common interest, especially when those interests align with my own.”

With graduation less than a year away, Knight says the festival solidified her interest in starting her career in live production, whether it’s working for film/music festivals or live television. In addition to soaking up all the professional knowledge she could, Knight says the internship provided experiences she won’t soon forget. The festival concluded with a closing night yacht party. “Having never been on a cruise before, this was a milestone for me,” she says. “Being on this enormous yacht, mingling with directors, actors, and all the new friends I made at ABFF, was an unforgettable experience.”


The festival was followed by Community Day, held in Overtown, one of Miami’s poorest neighborhoods and historically Black. “We gave away merchandise and held film screenings for community members,” says Knight. “Often, when big events like ABFF happen, the local community can be overlooked. I really appreciated ABFF for giving back and being present, especially since I'm from South Florida.

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