Philadelphia Asian American Film & Filmmakers is a non-profit dedicated to supporting Asian & Pacific Islander (AAPI) diasporic* film and media makers. Their premiere event, The Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival (PAAFF), emphasizes artworks that are by, for, and about the Asian & Pacific Islander diaspora experience.

Now in its 14th year, PAAFF has grown to be the largest Asian & Pacific Islander film festival on the U.S. East Coast and the third-largest in the nation. Since 2008, PAAFF is proud to have presented dozens of culturally relevant films to broad and diverse audiences through our main festival program each November and year-round screening series.

*Asian & Pacific Islander includes, but is NOT limited to people from and are descended from areas now known as Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Nepal, Tibet, Mongolia, China, Russia, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Indonesia, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Micronesia, and the Pacific Islands

Jury Awards:
Best Narrative Feature
Best Documentary Feature
Best Narrative Short
Best Documentary Short

Audience Awards:
Audience Choice Best Narrative Feature
Audience Choice Best Documentary Feature

Vijay Mohan Social Change Award

The Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival accepts films and other media that have at least one person of Asian & Pacific Islander descent in a key creative role (director, DP, producer, writer, actor, etc...) and/or are about the Asian & Pacific Islander diasporic experience in the United States and around the world. PAAFF has historically featured works with themes involving, but NOT limited to, Asian and Pacific Islander diasporic cultures, histories, and experiences.

--Feature Film (Narrative, Documentary)
Fiction or non-fiction film of any genre, principally created by and/or about Asian & Pacific Islander diasporic storytellers. Films eligible for this category MUST have a running time of at least 40 minutes and are expected to present at the festival as a Digital Cinema Package (DCP) or as otherwise discussed.
--Short Film (Narrative, Documentary)
Fiction or non-fiction film (including music videos, episodic, etc…) principally created by and/or about Asian & Pacific Islander diasporic storytellers. Films eligible for this category MUST have a running time under 40 minutes and are expected to present at the festival as a Digital Cinema Package (DCP) or as otherwise discussed.

Please submit your film to the most appropriate category. If our programming team believes your film is better suited in another category, our team will communicate with you directly about further considerations.

If your film is submitted to the wrong category, you are responsible for any changes in submission fees. We do not offer refunds.

All submitted works should have been completed in the last 2 years, with some exceptions made if discussed with the programming team.

If you wish to submit a work in progress, please email our team PRIOR TO SUBMITTING to ensure your eligibility.

All non-English language films (with dialogue) MUST have English subtitles. English-language films with subtitles are highly appreciated, but not required.

--Director’s Statement *optional, but encouraged
--Director’s biography
--Cast & Crew list

If your film is selected for exhibition, you are responsible for delivering the exhibition copy and other materials (trailer, press screener, press stills, etc…) by deadline. PAAFF will use these materials for print and online promotion. If you wish to provide other items, such as posters or postcards, this must be communicated to and discussed with the festival staff at least 2 weeks prior to the festival opening.

Signed entry form, screener, and entry fee must be received via by one of these dates:
--EARLY DEADLINE - April 15 | $20 USD for Features, $15 USD for Shorts
--REGULAR DEADLINE - June 1 | $30 USD entry fee (Features) | $20 USD entry fee (Shorts)
--LATE DEADLINE - July 5 | $40 USD entry fee (Features) | $25 USD entry fee (Shorts)

The Festival will provide fee waivers or discounts on a case-by-case basis. We understand the financial restrictions of many artists and are willing to accommodate creators who are in need of some financial relief. As a volunteer-run, arts non-profit, we also operate with limited resources and the entry fees sustain our team’s ability to produce the best possible festival to showcase Asian & Pacific Islander stories. We encourage all artists to evaluate their level of need prior to emailing the Festival and to submit as early as possible for the lowest fees.

--The Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival DOES NOT PAY EXHIBITION FEES.
--PAAFF accepts films of all premiere statuses, including films that have distribution.
--If selected for the Festival, filmmakers are responsible for their own print shipping -costs. PAAFF will pay for return shipping. DVD/Blu-ray screeners will not be returned.
--All final works must be completed and shipped 4 weeks before the festival opening or by the date communicated with the festival staff.
--It is the responsibility of the submission contact to ensure that all requirements are met. The Festival retains the right to disqualify an entry, with no refunded fee, if rules and regulations are not followed.
--The Festival retains the right to disqualify an entry with no refunded fee if the film contact for a selected film fails to respond to email correspondence from the Festival by deadline.

All selections will be notified by the notification date. Please do not call. If you have questions, please contact the Programming Co-Directors, Arzhang Zafar and Kacia Huynh.

CERTIFICATION OF ENTRANT: I, the contact person for the film submitted with this application, agree to the following:

I, the undersigned have read, understood, and completed all eligibility requirements for which I would like this film to be considered. To the best of my knowledge, all of the statements in this application are true.

I have all the rights necessary and am authorized to submit this film to the Festival. Submitted films hereby grant PAAFF the right to screen such film, if selected, as part of the festival without compensation.
This film is not subject to any claims or litigation and is not threatened by any claims or litigation. I release and discharge Philadelphia Asian American Film & Filmmakers, its employees, agents, contractors, volunteers, licensees, successors, and assigns from any and all claims, demands, or causes of actions related to misappropriation or infringement of copyright or violation of any other right arising out of or relating to my film submission. I agree to indemnify and hold harmless Philadelphia Asian American Film & Filmmakers from any and all claims that arise as a result of this submission or screening of this film, should it be selected, as well as from damage to or loss of any submitted materials en route to the festival.

Overall Rating
  • Patrick Nan

    It was a wonderful experience overall and a great selection of films to view.

    February 2021
  • Matthew Goriachkovsky

    The PAAFF staff did an amazing job planning the festival during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual Q&A went very well and I enjoyed meeting the other filmmakers. Great job!

    January 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much Matthew! It was so great to meet you and to have your film at our (virtual) festival!

  • Everyone was incredible and the communication was super quick and helpful from day one. I am so thrilled that I got to participate and be a part of such a welcoming and quality festival. They are a wonderful team and I can't wait to meet them in person some day!

    January 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much for being part of our festival Nicole! You are such a delight and a fantastic filmmaker. We are so grateful to have programmed your film this year and are looking forward to seeing whatever you create next (: Cannot wait to meet you in person hopefully someday soon!

  • Eddie Shieh

    Selena and the PAFF team deserve more than applause having done a superb job bringing the festival online - not only during a pandemic but through one of the most polarizing Presidential elections in history. Yet they were relentless in their communication with filmmakers for screenings, events and digital networking events. They really raised the bar. I hope to be back and in person. Thanks again and be safe!

    November 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Eddie for being part of our festival once again! It is always such a pleasure to have your film in our lineup and to get a chance to connect with you. We're excited to see what film you're working on next, Twin-dad!

  • Joon Kim

    PAAFF's shift to a virtual festival due to the pandemic was one of the best experiences in 2020. They made it a very fun experience for me and my cast.

    The team curated so many quality films and was great about promoting them on social media as well as keeping in touch with filmmakers. Any question I had for them over e-mail was responded to promptly.

    Thank you, PAAFF!

    November 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much Joon! It was wonderful to see you at so many of our virtual gatherings and to hear you talk about your film with your ADORABLE cast. Can't wait for next time!