The Arab American National Museum (AANM) is the first and only museum dedicated to telling the story of Arab Americans and their impact on 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 set of filmmakers on the planet. AFF is one of the Museum’s longest-running programs, dating back to its inception. From 2015-2018, the Museum’s 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 quarterly film series that was released in Fall 2018. It is curated with the festival mission in mind. All film screenings take place in AANM’s intimate, 156-seat Aliya Hassan Auditorium. Submissions for the Arab Film Festival may also be considered for AANM's 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.

2020 Arab Film Festival: the early-bird submission deadline is 5 p.m. EDT Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, while the final submission deadline is 5 p.m. EDT Sunday, March 10, 2019.

Film series: Submissions will also be considered for all 2020 screenings.

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 its 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 the 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
  • 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
  • Carlos Cabrera

    First class festival at a first class museum. Dave is a great organizer that truly cares!

    June 2019