Launched in 2017 and the first of its kind in North America, the Arab Film and Media Institute aims to be a complete ecosystem to cultivate, nurture, and celebrate Arab talent in the United States. Starting with organizing school screenings, and growing into offering filmmaker services and original programming, AFMI is the place for Arab cinema and its fans, and the home of the Arab Film Festival.

Founded in 1996, the Arab Film Festival is the largest and oldest film festival showcasing cutting-edge work from and about the Arab World in North America. With an international standing, AFF is considered one of the most important showcases of Arab cinema outside the Arab World presenting award-winning contemporary films that provide insight into the beauty, complexity, and diversity of the Arab World alongside realistic perspectives on Arab people, culture, art, history and politics.

The 24th Annual Arab Film Festival will take place in the San Francisco Bay Area October 16-25 followed by regional editions throughout the country including Los Angeles.

We can’t wait to watch your films!

The Arab Film Awards* celebrate filmmakers whose original works are distinguished in their respective categories. A pre-screening committee will select four finalists in each category after reviewing all films in the official selection (all films in the official selection are considered "in competition"). A jury made up of important members of the film and academic communities will select the outstanding works from the shortlist and bestow the Award Of Recognition to directors in the following categories:

-Best Narrative Feature
-Best Documentary Feature
-Best Short Film
-Best Debut Feature
-Audience Award

General submission guidelines
1. Films must have been produced between 2018 and 2020
2. All non-English language films must be subtitled in English
3. Fill out the submission form on FilmFreeway (incomplete entries will not be considered)
4. All categories of film are accepted: feature, short format, narrative, documentary, hybrid, experimental, animation, etc.
5. Insert screeners on the FilmFreeway submission form via password protected links
6. Films must be from and/or about the Arab World and/or about Arab persons living in the Arab World or abroad
7. Rough cuts or works-in-progress are accepted and reviewed by the programming committee; however, filmmakers are urged to submit as close to the final cut as possible

After you submit your film
Entrants will be notified of the Festival’s decision on or before August 30, 2020. In the event of acceptance, entrants will receive an official welcome letter verifying selection status.

Submission fees (all fees can be paid via FilmFreeway)
Features: $10
Shorts: $10
Late features: $40
Late shorts: $25

Overall Rating
  • Fatima Matousse

    It was just AMAZING, WONDERFUL, and very INSPIRING.

    November 2018
  • Vikram Ahluwalia

    Very happy that our film was chosen for this important festival and its wonderful selection of films. Thank you!

    January 2018
  • Muna Khalidi

    We attended AFF 2017 in San Francisco to screen "Stitching Palestine" and it was a wonderful experience altogether. There was full attendance, the theatre was beautiful, and the audience was very engaged n the film and the discussion.
    The AFF team were warm and hospitable and extremely helpful. A great festival showcasing films from and about the Arab world.

    November 2017
  • Talal Al-Muhanna

    Though I didn't have the chance to attend, the festival team happily arranged for comp tickets for attending friends & filmmakers, much appreciated!

    November 2017
  • Abdulhakeem Jomah

    The organisers were an absolute dream, great venues and communication. Great diversity in showcasing the best of Arabic cinema and I cannot wait to be part of their wonderful fold again.

    October 2017