2020 San Diego Arab Film Festival Concludes; Audience Choice Awards Announced

The 2020 San Diego Arab Film Festival completed its run on Sunday, June 28.  A hearty “thank you” to all of you who made this year’s edition a success.

This year, for the first time, the Festival went online using the Festival Scope platform, a change that was made because of the COVID-19 pandemic.   We sent emails to all of the registered online attendees and asked for their votes for our Audience Choice Awards for feature and short films.  The Audience Choice Awards went to Adam (feature film from Morocco) and Moderately Satisfied (short film from UAE).

Adam was directed by Maryam Touzani  and was her first feature film.  Adam was Morocco’s official entry to the 92nd Oscars.  Although it wasn’t selected as a nominee in the Oscar’s Best International Film category, it has been well-received at film festivals internationally.

Moderately Satisfied, directed by Jordanian-Palestinian filmmaker Hind Anabtawi who is presently based in  Dubai, was one 6 short films selected from the more than 80 that were submitted to the 2020 Festival.

Planning is already starting for the 2021 San Diego Arab Film Festival, tentatively scheduled for June 18-20 and 25-26, pandemic permitting.

San Diego Arab Film Festival Announces Call for Submission for 2021 Festival

The San Diego Arab Film Festival (San Diego AFF) invites submissions for its upcoming festival scheduled for June 18-20 and 25-26, 2021.  San Diego AFF is seeking narrative, documentary, experimental and animated films, both features and shorts.

San Diego AFF began in 2012 and presents films from and about the Arab world that reinforce the humanity of Arab people and it highlights the dynamism and creativity of contemporary Arab culture.  The Festival strives to show top-quality films that offer honest and realistic portrayals of Arab people and their culture, history and politics without reinforcing negative stereotypes.

San Diego AFF is a project of KARAMA, a 501(c)(3) in San Diego.  For more information about KARAMA, visit www.karamanow.org.

San Diego AFF accepts submissions on FilmFreeway. Click on the links below to access the submission pages.

Schedule of Submissions

Opening Date:  August 10, 2021

Regular Deadline:  January 15, 2021

Late Deadline:  February 15, 2021

Notification Date:  March 15, 2021

Event Date:  June 18-20 and 25-26, 2021

Awards and Prizes

Selected films will be entered into competition for Audience Awards for Best Feature Film and Best Short Film.

Rules and Terms

San Diego Arab Film Festival seeks films from and about the Arab world produced between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2020.  Films must have legible English subtitles unless there is little or no dialogue.


San Diego AFF prefers that submissions be made via Film Freeway, however downloadable links (with passwords) may be submitted to lchristian@sandiegoaff.org.  Selected films must be available in DCP, high resolution .264 or Blu-Ray format with a frame rate of 24fps.  Please include director’s name, country of origin, and a brief description.

By special arrangements, submissions may be made by mail or delivery service with the understandings that San Diego AFF will not bear costs related to shipping and that submitted media may not be returned.  Contact lchristian@sandiegoaff.org for further information.


Regular Deadline:  Feature films, $15; short films, $10

Late Deadline:  Feature films, $25; short films, $20.

Pay fees via Film Freeway at time of submission.

Selected Films

Official Selections will be asked to provide a password protected link for previewing, high resolutions stills and any available press materials for use in publicizing the film and the Festival.

San Diego Arab Film Festival Supported By San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture for the Sixth Year

2020-2021 is the sixth year that the San Diego Arab Film Festival is receiving support from the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.  This recognition and support represents an important milestone for the Festival and for San Diego’s Arab Community: it shows that Arab culture is an important part of the fabric of San Diego!  In addition, on-going support from the Arts and Culture Commission helps lay the groundwork for the Festival’s growth as a dynamic part of San Diego’s cultural life.

Financial support is provided by City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.

San Diego Arab Film Festival is the registered trademark of KARAMA.
It is not affiliated with Arab Film Festival or Arab Film and Media Institute.

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