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 16th year, PAAFF has grown to be the largest film festival celebrating Asian & Pacific Islander art 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 necessarily limited to, people from and descended from areas now known as Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Yemen; and the indigenous peoples of Oceania and the Pacific Islands.

Jury Awards:
Best Narrative Feature
Best Documentary Feature
Best Narrative Short
Best Documentary Short
Best Experimental Short
Best Animated Short
Best Student Short

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 experience both in the United States and internationally. PAAFF has historically featured works with themes involving, but NOT limited to, Asian and Pacific Islander cultures, histories, and experiences.

PAAFF does not and will not accept films from the state of Israel or which have received funding from its government or financial institutions incorporated therein.

--Feature Film (Narrative, Documentary)
Fiction or non-fiction film of any genre, principally created by and/or about Asian & Pacific Islander 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 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.

If selected, all English language films (with dialogue) MUST have an English caption file by the asset collection date set by the festival in acceptance emails. The preferred file type for closed captions is a .SRT.

--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 an 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. Filmmakers in need of financial assistance will be asked to fill out a waiver request form.

--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 Festival Co-Director Arzhang Zafar.

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
  • Van Tran Nguyen

    The PAAFF crew and team are fantastic to work with, they're super enthusiastic and kind. The filmmaker's meetup was a great networking opportunity and the team's generosity made that event and others all the better!

    March 2024
  • This festival rocks! Great communication, fun atmosphere, and INCREDIBLY supportive of artists! Cannot recommend this festival highly enough. We can't wait to participate again in the future!

    December 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thank you, David! We loved working with you and getting to know the directors of House of Enigma! Hope for more opportunities to do it again in the future.

  • Set Hernandez

    Truly so grateful to the team of this festival for their hospitality and providing our team with the Vijay Mohan Social Impact Award. Special gratitude to Joey, Arzhang, and David for receiving our film with such generosity. From the hospitality to the Q&A, thank you dear PAAFF for having us for this year's festival!

    November 2023
    Response from festival:

    You are very welcome, Set! To see the impact that you, Pedro, and the film unseen has made in the world thus far is truly incredible. Congratulations again on winning our social impact award; it is very much deserved!

  • They are young prestige organization with high quality sensitive at selection. We are really enjoyed with cooperation with them

    November 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Madakto Pictures! It was a true pleasure working with your distribution team and company!

  • Sunita Soliar & Statten Roeg

    We were very proud that Spoor was included in the lineup at PAAFF. The team was so welcoming and kind and responsive. We can’t recommend it enough.

    November 2023
    Response from festival:

    Spoor is a brilliant film! We are proud to have it as an official selection! Thank you for the kind words.