The fourth edition of the Middle East and North Africa Film Festival will take place in Vancouver, BC Canada in late November, 2022.
MENA is Vancouver's first festival dedicated to films from the MENA/SWANA region. We are excited for the chance to continue showcasing stories and experiences from our local community, across Canada and the global diaspora.

*We acknowledge that our festival is based off the unceded, ancestral and traditional and lands of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səlí̓lwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

VISION:

We seek films of any genre, with particular emphasis on original and experimental portrayals of the MENA/SWANA region that challenge stereotypes and bend colonial visions of the region and its diaspora. We welcome submissions from emerging as well as established artists from wherever MENA identities are found and forged.

** COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan 2022: As long as the global pandemic stays with us, we continue to follow the latest health guidelines.. While we maintain a flexible outlook regarding the format and venue of our festival in November, our decision to provide an in-person, hybrid or fully digital platform will be based entirely on the latest community health and safety recommendations as set forth by provincial and federal health bodies and informed with the safety of our immediate community paramount.


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We welcome all genres and all themes with a special attention to those films addressing our relationship to land and climate change, as well as genres our region is reclaiming, such as horror, sci-fi and fantasy.

This year, we also accept children’s films in the hopes of showcasing a kids screening.

AWARDS - as selected by an independent jury of industry and community

Scarlet Pomegranate Award - Recognizing overall artistry, storytelling, technical achievement and beauty

Buraq Award - Recognizing films that break the mold, experiment and help us see the region and its experiences in a new light.

Audience Choice Award - Top rated film chosen by audiences through in-festival balloting.

- We consider no cultural or national identity rooted in the so-called Middle East as canonical. Whether as MENA, SWANA, WANA or any other delimiter of the region, we leave it in the hands of our prospective submitters how they identify with the region.

By the same token, our programming strives to represent heterogeneous regional and sub-ethnic identities within the larger Middle East and North Africa that have often been amalgamated in official narratives of nation-state: be they aboriginal, nomad, sub-national linguistic groupings and other identities that don't fall neatly into any orientalist image of MENA/SWANA.

We also seek immigrant narratives from ethnic and linguistic enclaves across the diaspora: pan-Arabic, West Asian and Persic, religious heterodoxy; as well as personal identities that interface with a post-modern politics: queer, post-colonial, anti-racist and indigenous selfhood.

CATEGORIES

This festival showcases:
Feature films (no more than 140 minutes);
Short films (30 minutes or less);
Documentary;
Experimental and multimedia.

- Works must have a significant (more than half) representation of MENA/SWANA-identifying people in key creative roles OR the subject matter must largely treat the region/identity in some significant way (see above for what we mean by MENA/SWANA).

- Films in a language other than English must have English subtitles.

- All submissions, by established or emerging artists, are welcome and will be guaranteed two screenings during the adjudication process; films by artists 30 and under or who are "breaking into" the industry will be given particular consideration as part of our effort for NEW GENERATION filmmakers to reach a wider public.

- All genres are welcome, and experimental and original portrayals of the MENA/SWANA region are encouraged (see "VISION" above).

- If your film is selected for the 2022 MENA Film Festival, you must submit a DCP file and a ProRes 422 Quicktime backup file. Files must be delivered on an external hard drive or USB flash drive and be received no later than Monday, October 3rd, 2022.

- If your film is selected, in addition to the DCP file, the following material is required for promotional use by Monday, Septembre 5th, 2022.
Minimum of 2 film stills;
Film poster;
A trailer (format: mp4 HD 1920 x 1080);
A logline and a short film description (100 words);
Director’s photo and short bio.

- As a non-profit, we do rely upon submission fees to help cover costs of reviewing and programming films. Keeping our commitment to young artists and community accessibility in-mind, however, we are providing a limited number of *20* fee waivers to filmmakers. While we do not delve into the personal circumstances of each request, we may ask follow-up questions, and we expect that those asking for a waiver are being honest about their circumstance and are aware that receiving a waiver may deprive others of the same opportunity.

To request a waiver, please fill in this form: https://forms.gle/VXXjb6x8Bhh9XLM1A

We will be considering waiver requests and provide a response by February 10th and again on April 10.

FAQ

DO YOU PAY SCREENING FEES?

Yes, we pay every artist a screening fee in CAD as per 2022 CARFAC rates: https://carfac-raav.ca/2022-en/2022-en-1/ as per A.1.9 Media Arts Screenings and Presentations, depending on the format used to broadcast the films.

WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM RUNTIME MENA FILM FESTIVAL ACCEPTS?

Your short film cannot be more than 30 minutes in length, including credits. For features, we accept up to 140 minutes, including credits.

HOW OLD DOES THE FILM HAVE TO BE TO QUALIFY?

All films presented for the 2022 edition must have been completed by January 1st, 2020.

CAN I EMAIL MY SUBMISSION?

No, we only accept submissions via FilmFreeway.

DO ALL SUBMISSIONS GET VIEWED?

Yes, every single film submitted to the MENA Film Festival gets at least two separate viewings by MENA's programming committee.

CAN I SUBMIT MORE THAN ONE ENTRY?

Yes, however, you will have to pay each individual submission.

DO YOU ACCEPT ROUGH CUTS?

Yes, but please make sure to mark the submission as a rough cut and let us know which elements are incomplete (music, sound mix, colour, missing scenes) and give us a firm deadline by which the final film will be completed (no less than 4 weeks before the event).

IF MY FILM IS ACCEPTED AND I LIVE OUTSIDE OF VANCOUVER, WILL THE FESTIVAL PAY FOR MY ACCOMODATION AND PLANE TICKET?

No, unfortunately, as a non-profit organization, we cannot afford these expenses. However, we offer a screening fee for each accepted submission.

DOES MENA ACCEPT SUBMISSION WAIVERS?

As a non-profit organization, we rely upon submission fees to help cover some of the costs of reviewing films. However, we are offering a limited number of submission waivers. To request a waiver, please fill in this form: https://forms.gle/VXXjb6x8Bhh9XLM1A. (See above for more information)

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Very grateful and happy to have been a part of MENA. Let me just say, one of the qualities that stood out to me was the genuine kindness of Arman, Anaïs and Mahtab and their communication with us, such an excellent opportunity to showcase my work. Ran by great people. The screening quality was very high, and the films chosen were all wonderful. Loved it! I highly recommend applying to this fest.

    January 2022
  • Mehdi Sahebdel

    You can experience a good feeling at a regular and really professional festival by submitting your films to MENA film festival. Its team is a unique one which held an outstanding festival.

    December 2021
  • The MENA Film Festival is absolutely one of the best festivals for Arab and Middle-Eastern (and diaspora) filmmakers out there! The programming team is dedicated, passionate, inclusive, and extraordinarily helpful and communicative. They are doing such important work and doing it well! We had the pleasure of attending in-person and it was such an honor to see our short film “The Sailor” on the big screen and participate in the filmmakers roundtable! If you have a film that deals with the Middle East or are from the region this is where you want to be. The 2021 edition was at the VIFF Centre which was an incredible bonus! Thank you, MENA team!

    December 2021
  • Thank you Arman, Anais, Anika, Mahtab and amazing team at MENA. It was a complete pleasure and honour to be part of your film festival this year with Roads of Ithriyah - thank you for giving my feature a world-class premiere! The VIFF Centre was an absolutely perfect location to celebrate so many excellent national and international films by filmmakers from the MENA/SWANA region who have poured everything into their beautiful movies. It was truly wonderful to be able to network (effortlessly, I might add) with such established filmmakers in person and online. And the festival attendance was phenomenal! Thanks in large part I'm sure to your outstanding community outreach, smart marketing, and incredible programming. Thank you again for getting us started on a very high note towards our oncoming festival tour. Shayan, Jay, Panta, myself and the rest of our team are very grateful, and will make sure to tell everyone about your amazing gem of a festival. We are lucky to have you. Shukran! Gracias! Merci!

    December 2021
  • Yza Nouiga

    The MENA Film Festival is an excellent festival! The programming team is dedicated to filmmakers. Thank you for this amazing opportunity!

    December 2021