The Arab Film Festival Zurich is organized every two years by the association IAFFZ . The next festival will take place from 02.04.2025 until 06.04.2025.

The focus is on films by Arab filmmakers that could not find their way to “commercial” cinema. The program includes short and full-length feature, documentary, animation and experimental films exploring social, cultural and political issues. Discussions with the invited filmmakers also offer the audience the opportunity to discuss films and topics further.

Please note that we can only accept movies from or about the Arab world. We define the Arab world in cultural terms. Unfortunately, we cannot accept movies from or about Iran or Turkey, except if they explicitly deal with issues related to the Arab world as defined above.

The Arab Film Festival Zurich is a place of encounters and dialogue between cultures. Through its internationally understandable language, film serves as a means of communication and understanding, and so the festival should make a contribution to a differentiated analysis of the Arab cultural area beyond media coverage.

The first edition of the festival in 2012 was well received by the audience and the media. Every two years, the Arab Film Festival Zurich presents a representative selection of outstanding current international films from various Arab countries.

The festival team consists of honorary board members of the association IAFFZ and the volunteers who share a great interest in film and in the Arab culture. The program is compiled by Aida Schläpfer Al-Hassani (filmmaker, president of the association IAFFZ and co-director of AFFZ) and Michel Bodmer (co-director of AFFZ).

Best Film
Best Director

Rules and Regulations

1. Organizers
IAFFZ, the association of the International Arab Film Festival
Zurich, is a non-profit organization. Its principal subsidies are
provided by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (Swiss Agency
for Development and Cooperation, SDC) and the Municipal Authorities
of the City of Zürich. Additional financing is provided by other
associations, organizations, institutions and private sponsors.

2. Festival Dates
7th ARAB FILM FESTIVAL Zurich, 02 to 06 April 2025

3. Goals
The Arab Film Festival Zurich aims to promote personal filmmaking of artistic merit; to provide a showcase for major new films of the past two years from around the Arab world; to take account of the new perspectives of filmmaking expression, with a special focus on new film directors and industries deserving of international recognition.

4. Programs
The Festival will screen documentaries, feature films, short films and animated films. We accept all genres.

5. Jury and Awards
Each Jury will operate according to its own regulations. The Director of the Festival may attend the meetings to advise on matters of regulations or procedures, if required.
The Jury, composed of no more than 3 members from the world of cinema and culture, excluding any person involved in any capacity in the production of the invited films or who may have an interest in their distribution, will award the following prizes for the feature films:
a) Best Director
b) Best Film
c) Audience Award

6. Entry conditions
a) All works selected for the Festival must be screened in their original language with English, German and/or French subtitles.
b) Production of selected films must have been completed within 24 months preceding their Festival screening.
c) In order to qualify for selection, films must not have been previously screened in the German speaking part of Switzerland (Zurich, Bern, Lucerne, St. Gallen, Winterthur etc).
d) Works that are solely promotional, educational or scientific in character are not eligible for selection in the Festival.
e) A selection committee (with an advisory brief) made up of film experts will assist the Artistic Directorship in the scouting and selection of works for the Festival.

7. Invitations
a) Each feature-length film participating in the Festival should ideally be represented by its director. The Festival undertakes to provide accommodation for these filmmakers in accordance with its hospitality regulations.

8. Film submission
a) The official entry form, duly filled in online, must reach Arab Film Festival no later than the closing date (see below). DVDs or links to online screeners accompanied by an incomplete entry form (or by annexed material not giving all the information required) will not be considered.
b) Each entry form must necessarily be accompanied by 2 DVDs or a link to a downloadable online screener of the film in the original version with English subtitles, as well as any other documentation that might be of use in selection of the work. For preselection, English-speaking films do not need to be subtitled.
c) Films of any length may also be directly uploaded during the online submission process. If you choose this option, the shipment of DVD copies will not be necessary and the remaining requested material, together with a signed copy of your Entry Form, may be sent by email (
d) It is mandatory for each invited filmmaker to provide the Festival with either 2 DVDs or a downloadable digital copy (which is not password protected) of the original version of his/her selected film with English subtitles, in addition to all the material listed in the entry form.
e) The submission and participation of a film in the Festival imply acceptance of the Rules and Regulations for participation.

9. Closing date for submission and delivery of preselection material
a) Entry forms, screeners, as well as the required accompanying material for the selection of the film (see 8-2) must be sent no later than 01.03.2025 by email to the programming committee or by mail to the following address:

Programming Office
Association International Arab Film Festival Zurich
P.O.B 433
8032 Zürich

Please add the following customs declaration:
“Of no commercial value, for cultural purposes only”.

The date on the postmark or delivery company stamp will be considered the official date of dispatch.

b) The participant is liable for all costs of transportation and customs clearance. The Festival management reserves the right to refuse any shipments entailing additional costs. DVDs and documentation submitted to the Festival will not be returned and are intended for the Festival’s archive.

10. Shipment of screening copies of selected films
a) Screening copies of films invited to the Festival must arrive in Zurich by March 1st 2025, after which date the presentation of a film at the Festival cannot be guaranteed. Exceptions to this deadline may only be granted in writing by the Festival management.
Please be aware of the fact that for shipments to and from Switzerland, customs clearance may involve delays.
b) 35mm prints, DCPs print and electronic supports (standard definition Beta Digital or Beta SP PAL), must be sent to the following address:

Association International Arab Film Festival Zurich
P.O.B 433
8032 Zürich

Please add the following customs declaration: “Of no commercial value, for cultural purposes only”.

Special instructions: goods must be delivered in transit.

Important: for customs and Global Forwarding air freight offices worldwide require a proforma invoice. The title must always be stated on the above-mentioned document. Indicate if the film is in black-and-white or color, and if it is subtitled. At the same time, the sender must send notification of shipment by e-mail ( to the Festival, indicating the film’s title and the digital format or number of reels, as well as the shipping date and forwarding information (Air Waybill/AWB number).

c) Our digital cinema screenings are server-based.
Films will have to be shipped on a physical drive containing only the DCP (Digital Cinema Package) of the selected film, encoded according to DCI or SMPTE standards (and separate *.srt files of any available subtitles). To ensure the best handling of the DCP and the distribution of the KDMs to your film, you need to provide the D-KDM (Distribution Key) to our partner lab: they will generate the KDMs for all playback servers in use at the Festival, open from March 1st 2025. We strongly suggest shipping the DCP as early as possible for a quality check in order to avoid problems during the screenings. Further technical and logistical specifications will be available online during the submission process.
d) The Festival will cover all costs of transportation and customs clearance for both outgoing and return screening copy shipments. It will contact the participant in due time to clarify all the details.
e) As far as possible, the Festival will respect the wishes of participants concerning return shipment of their films. The Festival accepts no liability for any forwarding errors that may result from a lack of instructions, or from erroneous information provided by the participant. In principle, films will not be returned before the end of the Festival. As a rule, films will be returned to participants within two weeks following the end of the Festival.
f) Any claims or queries arising from the return of a film sent to the Festival must reach the Festival by e-mail ( no later than three days after the film has been received; no claims can be dealt with after such time.

11. Insurance of prints
a) All prints will be insured by the Festival during transportation to and from the Festival against any loss or damage that may occur.
b) The liability of the Festival is limited to reimbursement of the replacement costs of a new print, as per the prices declared by the producer. All other costs or liabilities are specifically excluded. Negatives will be treated as standard prints for insurance purposes.
c) The Festival may refuse to allow the participation of any film that fails to meet the technical requirements for a public screening of good quality.

12. Information and publicity material
All documentation material, entry forms and any other correspondence must necessarily be addressed to:
Association International Arab Film Festival Zurich
P.O.B 433
8032 Zürich

Overall Rating
  • كل الشكر لكم
    مهرجان جميل و أفلام جميلة

    December 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for being with us and having your great work at our Festival! we looking forward to your new film in 2024
    Festival Team

  • James Chehab .

    Welcoming, very interesting, and very professional.

    December 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for being with us and having your great work at our Festival! we looking forward to your new film in 2024
    Festival Team