FilmAid presents its 12th Annual Film Festival, a celebration of self-expression and determination from talented young filmmakers living in Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps, and a self-confident assertion that refugee voices must be included in any dialogue about their lives and future.

Held annually in Kenya, FilmAid Film Festival strives to fulfill FilmAid’s vision of informing, inspiring and empowering refugees. Every year, FilmAid is able to train, support and empower more than 100 refugee youth to tell their own stories through film, photography, journalism, radio, and digital media education, with the aim of giving young refugees, and their hosting communities, the creative and technical skills necessary to explore issues within their own communities and express themselves creatively.

This unique festival presents a unique opportunity to:
● Showcase short films produced by FilmAid’s media students to an urban audience that is ready to listen and engage with the perspective of refugees.
● Create space for refugees to share their dreams, hopes and aspirations, outside of the negatively portrayed realities by the media.
● Provide a platform for international filmmakers to submit and screen their feature and short films around the theme ‘migration’ in the camps, with the aim of promoting shared artistic communication.

2. Background information

The majority of the world’s refugees reside in Africa. Since its independence, Kenya has been host to refugees that have fled neighbouring countries such as South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, Somalia, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Burundi, mostly due to political crises, civil wars and upheavals. Between 1991 and 1992, as well as 2011 and 2012, Kenya witnessed massive forced migrations from Somalia and South Sudan.

In 1992, the country employed a de facto encampment policy which requires all refugees to reside in camps located in the semi-arid parts of the country: Dadaab Refugee Camp, located in North East Kenya, 50 miles from the Somali border, is one of the largest and longest existing refugee camps in the world; and Kakuma Refugee Camp and Kalobeyei Integrated settlement, located in North-Western Kenya, established in 1992 following the arrival of the “Lost Boys of Sudan”.

Kenya’s encampment policy denies refugees’ freedom of movement and socio-economic rights, which are enshrined in the Refugee Convention and under International Law. This, and the fact that refugees are secluded to some of the most isolated and arid parts of the country has led to massive polarization around the issue of refugees and asylum seekers with Kenyan citizens. It has resulted in the erosion of our collective ability to listen to each other, reason together and find solutions to a crisis that can only be addressed through consensus and collective action.

At FilmAid, we believe that public dialogue is an effective way to achieve creative and collective solutions. Our aim is to gather experts, refugees, activities, influencers and policymakers following the screenings in Nairobi and create spaces for sharing and learning. By creating such spaces, where our student filmmakers share their agenda with influencers and policymakers, we hope that they will push forward an agenda for integration and better living standards, outside the confines of the camps. We believe that cultural change always precedes significant policy change.

In 2018, FAFF was able to reach 43,247 individuals in the three locations. In 2019 we look to maintain and increase this number by increasing our outreach online.

3. FilmAid Film Festival’s Objectives

● Empower and support refugees to tell their own authentic stories in their own voice
● Provide a platform to showcase refugee stories and engage audiences around issues of identity, tolerance and freedom of expression.
● Provide a platform for dialogue on refugee rights and specifically the right to self-expression among Kenyan and international communities promoting awareness and engagement with thought leaders, allies and other groups who can help enhance the protection space for refugees living in Kenya.

4. FilmAid Film Festival 2019 Edition – #FAFF2019

FAFF2019 theme: [Diversity, Inclusion and Strength]
The theme was selected by FilmAid’s dynamis film and journalism class of 2019 through a facilitated working group.

Certificates of recognition will also be issued to the best film overall submitted to the festival.


The deadline for submissions: 15th June 2019.

Applicants MUST be at least 18 years old or have expressed permission to enter this festival from their parents/guardian.

Early entry is encouraged but will not guarantee acceptance.

Multiple entries are allowed from a filmmaker and each entry may be entered in multiple categories.

Year of Production (We only accept films made from 2017 - 2019)

Submissions in other than English must be subtitled.

All subtitles must be embedded into the film.

We accept only secure links to online entries, e.g Youtube or Vimeo. Entries can be submitted directly through our website or through FilmFreeway.

Films MUST be sent in the form of links from 3rd party servers such as Vimeo, YouTube or other secure websites. We do not accept download data or Dropbox submissions. Please provide a password if protected.

Entrants agree that any still image from the film submitted may be used for promotional purposes. Entrants may choose the still image that is used for promotional purposes by attaching it to the application.

The FAFF judges reserve the right to exclude from the festival any short films that they decree incite violence or bigotry (this does not mean that the films cannot contain violence).

Submitted films will be entered into those categories chosen by the entrant.

The winners and runners-up will be announced at the award ceremony.

A panel of judges will identify winning films. The judges’ decision is final.

After judging is completed, only nominees in all categories will be notified.

FAFF does not charge or pay Entrants any fees for screenings or submissions of their films nor does it charge any entry fee for the festival audience.

If the film includes synchronised music it MUST be accompanied by evidence of worldwide copyright clearance within the term that includes at least 30th September 2019, preferably in perpetuity.

If the film includes original music, the Entrants MUST include a copy of the agreement in their application.

FAFF reserves the right to film Behind The Scenes footage from the festival and use the footage as promotional material.

Overall Rating
  • Masoud Ghodsieh

    The FilmAidFilmFestival on of the best film festival

    June 2020
  • Thanks for the opportunite to show my work.

    September 2019
  • Pablo Latorre

    Excelente festival! Estoy muy feliz

    September 2019