The Arab American National Museum (AANM) is the first and only museum dedicated to telling the story of Arab Americans and their impact in the United States. Opened on May 5, 2005, in the heart of Dearborn – amid the largest concentration of Arab Americans in the nation – AANM's mission is to document, present and preserve the history, culture and contributions of Arab Americans.

AANM proudly hosts an annual Arab Film Festival (AFF), featuring fascinating new titles from one of the most prolific and creative sets of filmmakers in the world. AFF is one of the Museum’s longest-running programs, dating back to its inception. From 2015-2018, the festival joined forces with the large regional festival known as Cinetopia, greatly expanding the reach of AFF films.

AFF showcases Arab and Arab American films for fans of Arabic-language movies and adventurous art-film lovers seeking new perspectives and outside-the-box thinking. Many of these films by both Arab world and Arab American artists are, with few exceptions, unlikely to reach traditional American commercial theaters. Genres include drama, comedy and documentary, in both short-form and feature lengths. Every festival film is subtitled in English, making them accessible to all.

In addition to the annual Arab Film Festival, AANM has a film series launched in August 2018. It is curated with the festival mission in mind. All film screenings currently take place online. Submissions to the Arab Film Festival will also be considered for AANM's Arab Film Series.

AANM accepts film submissions throughout the year. All genres, lengths and themes are welcomed, as is a wide variety of voices and perspectives.

The Arab Film Festival will take place August 12-21, 2022. The film festival will most likely be a blend of online and in-person screenings. We reserve the right to change the dates, length, type of screenings we do, and all aspects of our film festival as we see fit. As everything continues to change with Covid-19, we will monitor and continue to make the best decisions for our festival, audiences and community.

Please review the below terms carefully.

Films should deal with the Arab world or Arab American community in some way. This can be a film involving/directed/assisted by someone from the Arab world or Arab American community; a group living in the Arab world - (ex. Armenians, Kurds, Chaldeans living in an Arab country); or an overarching issue or theme related to the Arab world or Arab American community.

Films will not be turned away just because they do not specifically highlight Arab Americans or Arab world characters. Films that relate to AANM’s mission and the goals of the film festival will receive thoughtful review and consideration in a timely fashion.

All submitted films should have a streaming URL link; contact festival staff if an alternative format is required. All submissions must have English subtitles.

Submissions may be in work-in-progress form; however, films that are not completed must be clearly marked Work in Progress (“WIP”) or Rough Cut with an indication of what will change or what is missing (e.x., sound, missing animation, etc.). You may submit additional versions of the film as they're available until the last date of the deadline.

All submitted films will be reviewed by staff associated with AANM's film program and all filmmakers will receive a response via e-mail about whether their film has been selected or not, via e-mail.

All genres and time lengths of films are accepted for consideration to the film festival. Films that are 45 minutes and under are eligible to be submitted for the short films portion; films 46 minutes and higher will be eligible for our feature films portion. All film submissions must abide by the deadline dates. Any applications/films received after the deadline will be considered a submission for future film programs.

Overall Rating
  • Kandis Golden

    So grateful to this amazing festival for programming our short. Everything was so great!

    November 2021
  • The world needs more Dave Serios! It's because of such programmers that the world gets to see the diversity of Arab films. Huge thanks to the Arab Film Festival and the wonderful team at the Arab American National Museum.

    November 2021
  • shirin sabour

    It is a good festival that supports young filmmakers.

    July 2020
  • Maha Al-Saati

    I have had the honor of attending this small and very warm festival last summer of 2019. Most of the screenings were held in the Arab American National museum in Dearborn MI, although some venues included the University of Michigan campus, Ann Arbour campus and a museum in Detroit (forgot the name) which was well attended by Detroit locals.

    The Arab films I saw were really engaging and I enjoyed them immensely. There were also selections highlighting the Dearborn Arab community which I appreciated as it gave a nice local touch to the festival.

    I often enjoyed having chats with the warm and welcoming Arab community of Dearborn afterwards, sometimes experiencing Arab cafe's and restaurants with them afterwards, and have made many friends during my stay there.

    Dave Serio and the festival team were very friendly and hospitable. Dave responded to my emails promptly and made me feel so welcome.
    The team that ran the Q & A after screenings asked some of the most thought provoking questions, and gave the audience plenty of time for a real dialogue well after the film ended, which is something I really appreciate. I was impressed that the ran a good Q and A for a very intriguing film (I'm sorry I forgot the title :) ) even though the director couldn't make it. This is one of the things I loved about how this event ran as a dialogue starter. I enjoyed these discussions very much!

    Thank you for having me at this festival. It gave a good insight into the Dearborn Arab/Muslim community.

    June 2020
  • Al Rabih Rami

    Unfortunately, I could not attend the event, but everything seemed great! Excellent communication, program and venue. A great festival to showcase the work of the diaspora to the American Audience. I am very happy that my short film "The Dance of Amal" was presented at the Arab American National Museum.

    June 2019