Founding director Dr Pushpinder Chowdhry conceived the festival in 1998. She recognised the impact films can have on society, particularly those which tackle complex, challenging issues. Over the years, the UK Asian Film Festival has brought the work of acclaimed talents in cinema including award-winning filmmakers.

In 2023 UKAFF will be in its 25th year and will take place between 4th May and 14th May 2023. In 2023 the UK Asian Film Festival will be seeking film submissions from filmmakers of feature films, short films, long shorts, and documentaries, on the theme Celebrating our Stories. We have identified 3 broad topics for our artists:

- Stories of who we are – of shared identity, culture and future,
- British Asian stories – re-imagining our roots and dreaming our future, and
- Celebrating individuality and uniqueness.

The artists can interpret the theme as they wish.

So, if you have a story to tell, we want to see it!

We programme feature films, short films, long shorts and documentaries that have a cultural connection to South Asia or involve South Asian talent in leading creative or production roles.

Depending on the film category (Feature, Short Film, Documentary), the film will be eligible for the 2023 UKAFF awards to be presented at our Closing Awards ceremony. The award categories include (but are not limited to) the following:

Best Documentary
Best Short Film
Best Long Short Film
Best Feature Film
Best Film, Emerging Curated Choice
Best Actor
Best Director
Best Music
Lifetime Achievement Award
Best Cinematographer

The Emerging Curated Choice Award and Best Short Film Award is decided by a youth/student jury.


1. The Festival welcomes unsolicited submissions in accordance with the regulations.

2. We accept feature films (60 minutes or more), short films (under 10 minutes), long shorts (more than 10 minutes) and documentaries (30 minutes or more).

3. Films must have been completed after 1st January 2022. The Festival requires UK premiere status at minimum i.e. it cannot have been screened publicly in the UK prior to the 2023 Festival. When submitting your film please provide details of any public screenings and festivals your film is being show at before the 2023 Festival, if known.

4. Films publicly available online are not acceptable.

5. Entries are open to both UK and international filmmakers based outside the UK.

6. Submissions are open from every genre - including drama, comedy, horror, sci-fi, documentary, animation, experimental work, music video etc. We are particularly excited by an artist’s filmmaking and moving image.

7. Films must have a cultural connection to South Asia or involve South Asian talent in leading creative or production roles. Modern definitions of South Asia are consistent in including Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives as the constituent countries. We have occasionally programmed films from the Middle Eastern region including Dubai and Yemen.

8. Film submission fees are non-refundable.


1. Dates and Venues
The Festival will take place from 4th May – 14th May 2023. The absolute final submission deadline is as dictated on the Festival website at The Festival travels from London to other UK cities including Leicester, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Additional cities may be included. The Festival will offer a new hybrid model offering audience screenings in the cinema as well as online. By submitting your film and upon selection you are agreeing for your film to be screened at any one of our festival venues at any of the cities the festival travels to, any number of times (at least two screenings) and or on our festival’s online screening platform during the course of our 2023 festival dates.

2. Awards
Entries will be assessed and successful submissions will be programmed for screening. Each film entered as a UK premiere will be judged under our festival awards categories i.e. Best Director, Young Curators Choice Award for Best Film, Best Documentary, Best Actor, Best Film etc.

3. Formats & Entry Charges
The film submission fee is £30 for each feature, short film, long shorts, and documentary and is non-refundable. For the selection process the acceptable film format is DCP. The Festival may additionally require DVD (PAL), Blu-Ray and MP4. Once the film is selected the festival team will be in touch to confirm the film format required depending on the venue and/or online requirements. The filmmaker(s) are responsible for the freight of the film to the venue or other location as confirmed by the festival team. The film must arrive in the required format to the confirmed address no later than eight weeks before the festival opening date. The filmmaker(s) if attending the festival will be responsible to take back their film otherwise this will be posted back to them (at the filmmaker(s) cost) by the festival team within a reasonable time after the festival concludes.
Should your film be selected, you will be required to provide a Quicktime ProRes file and high-quality film stills, film synopsis, film talent biographies, and a film trailer.

4. Selection
Only entries received via FilmFreeway will be considered.
The film should have a South Asian connection. South Asian Connections in a broad sense means the following countries India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and the Middle East. The producers of the film i.e. actors, director, or the cultural theme must be from the South Asian community.
You must have completed the work no earlier than two years preceding the date of the submission deadline.
Your film must be a UK premiere and must not have been shown on a digital or online platform at the time of the Festival screening. The Festival programming team reserve the right to pull the film out of the Festival at any time.
The running time of the film must be 60 minutes or more for features, 30 minutes or more for documentaries and under 10 minutes for short films, more than 10 minutes for long shorts and the film must have English subtitles.
Please ensure that you include a synopsis of no more than 200 words as you would like it to appear in the programme. Please note that the Festival reserves the right to amend the copy submitted.
Once selected the filmmaker(s) will be sent the Festival laurel.
Filmmakers wishing to attend the Festival must do at their own travel and stay costs and those in attendance will be expected to take part in a Q&A post their film’s screening. Filmmakers screening their films during the Festival and attending will be provided with passes to all of the Festival events and screenings.
The Festival cannot be held liable for any film and materials lost or damaged.

5. Screening
The screening schedule will be announced after the final submission deadline. We require permission to screen the film at least twice within the Festival. Please note we do not pay license or screening fees.

6. Clearance & Copyrights
All entries must obtain the appropriate copyright clearances (i.e. music, images, etc). Failure to do so will result in the entry being disqualified from the competition.

7. Publicity
We reserve the right to use extracts from submissions for festival publicity and marketing purposes, before, during and after the Festival. Should your film be selected, you will be required to provide a Quicktime ProRes file and a DCP of your film, high quality film stills, film synopsis, film talent biographies and a film trailer.
By submitting your film, you agree that the Festival can use parts of your film (including trailer/teaser/film poster) for promotional purposes. You will be required to promote the screening on your own social media and website platforms. You will endeavor to promote the film screening to encourage audience attendance and ticket sales. You will be provided with the festival laurel and can use this in your own marketing and promotional activity.

8. Categories
The Festival’s primary curational theme is Celebrating our Stories and have identified 3 broad topics for our artists:
- Stories of who we are – of shared identity, culture and future,
- British Asian stories – re-imagining our roots and dreaming our future, and
- Celebrating individuality and uniqueness.
The entry can belong to the following categories: Feature, Short Film, Long Shorts and Documentary.

9. Award Judging Criteria
We are looking for original, creative and high-quality moving image production. Your film will be assessed on narrative structure, cinematography and post-production techniques.
If your film is selected for the Festival, you will have the opportunity to screen your work on an international platform. Tongues on Fire Limited* will promote and market your film at the Festival. However, to maximize your film’s success, it would be helpful if you also generate hype and interest in your project. Please be sure to avoid misrepresentation of the Festival and Tongues on Fire in your marketing.

10. Tongues on Fire Limited Cancellation Terms
In the event of: (a) the film being screened in the UK by any other third party prior to the festival’s scheduled screening of such film, without our prior consent; (b) the film being made available on any digital streaming platform (including but not limited to Netflix and/or Amazon Prime) prior to the festival’s scheduled screening of such film, without our prior consent; (c) any form of misrepresentation, negligence, misconduct or wilful default by the filmmaker; and/or (d) a breach of any term of these Terms and Conditions by the filmmaker (including, for example, the film failing to be delivered to us prior to the deadline prescribed in the Film Submission Form), we reserve the right to remove the film from our festival’s programme at any time and without prior notice to the filmmaker(any such event a “Festival Cancellation”).
It is understood and agreed that the filmmaker shall be liable to pay us 100% of the costs and expenses arising from such Festival Cancellation.

11. Force Majeure
Neither party shall be held liable or responsible to the other party nor be deemed to have breached these Terms and Conditions for failure or delay in fulfilling or performing any term (including cancellation of the commission) when such failure or delay is caused by or results from causes beyond the reasonable control of the affected party, including but not limited to fire, floods, embargoes, war, acts of war, acts of terror, insurrections, riots, virus, disease or infection (including restrictions imposed by any branch of any applicable international, national or local government), civil commotion, strikes, lockouts or other employment disturbances, acts of God or acts, omissions or delays in acting by any governmental authority; provided, however, that the party so affected promptly notifies the other party of the force majeure event or an existing or anticipated inability to fulfil or perform any term of these Terms and Conditions, and takes reasonable efforts to avoid or remove such causes of non-performance.

12. Data Protection
The filmmaker shall comply with all applicable personal data protection regulations and laws.

13. Governing law and jurisdiction
These Terms and Conditions shall be governed by the laws of England and Wales with exclusive jurisdiction in the courts of England.
Please note: All submissions are fully considered and curated by our team of programmers, pre-selectors and review committee. Due to the high volume of entries received, we regret we cannot give individual feedback on a submission. The Festival cannot enter into any discussions regarding films that are not selected for the Festival.
*Tongues of Fire Limited is the operating company for the UK Asian Film Festival