Middle East

How to submit

Films and Documentaries from a Changing Arab World

We are open for submissions!

For the spring of 2018, BBC Arabic's 4th Festival invites fiction and non-fiction films. In addition, a new category has been added for 2018's festival, digital journalism. All work must reflect on the Arab region today. We would like to hear stories about the society and politics that surround you.

As politics in the Arab world continually progress, we have seen developments in issues surrounding migration and asylum, foreign relations, and economics. Consequently, communities and individuals have been greatly affected. What changes have you seen in Arab society? How have they affected the rest of the world? What kinds of changes are Arabs elsewhere experiencing? We want to hear stories, personal or political, from every angle.

BBC Arabic Festival 2018 is now accepting films that tell real stories, reveal the nuance of the human experience and ask pertinent questions. Our expert panel of judges will be looking for originality, wit and creative interpretation along with clarity, balance and in-depth research in the telling of personal and powerful fiction and non-fiction stories.

If you are a film or documentary maker, producer, journalist or a member of the public and have made a piece of work (a film, documentary or journalism piece) that explores key issues around the Arab world, then the BBC would like to hear from you. We encourage professionals and non-professionals alike to submit their entries.

After the success of last year's Min AlMahrajan (Festival on TV), a number of the 2018 official selection will be invited to air on BBC Arabic alongside special programming produced exclusively during the seven-day event.* Submit your film for the chance to personally present it to a live audience in central London, and air it to our Middle East audience on BBC Arabic TV.

How to submit:

Download and complete an entry form from this link.

Submissions will not be considered without a completed entry form. Forms are accepted in English and in Arabic.

If you are submitting through electronically: email your form and screener link to: bbcarabicfestival@bbc.co.uk

In strict compliance with the BBC Privacy Policy, screener passwords will not be shared with anyone outside of festival personnel.

If you are submitting your film on a DVD or USB: mail your form with your film to:

BBC Arabic Festival 2018

4th Floor, Peel Wing

BBC Broadcasting House

Portland Place

London W1A 1AA


The categories:

Each film can only be submitted to one category. We reserve the right to refuse films that are admitted in more than one category or change the category if the film is not compliant with the criteria.

In compliance with this year's theme, we are seeking films with a social, cultural or political subject focusing on the politics of power in the Arab world since the uprisings.

  • Short Film: fiction, 3 to 40 minutes in duration

As the only fiction category in our festival, we encourage narratives told with wit, humour and artistic interpretation. We also seek out experimental films that use a variety of styles and elements of the audio-visual medium.

  • Short Documentary: non-fiction, 10 to 40 minutes in duration
  • Feature Documentary: non-fiction, 40 to 90 minutes in duration

For both documentary categories, we will reward films that show courage in dealing with difficult subjects, films that challenge power and authority, seek justice or reveal something new about an issue of public interest in the Arab world.

  • Reportage: non-fiction, 0 to 10 minutes in duration

This category will be openly judged, all formats are welcome, and amateurs are strongly encouraged. Rather than production value, we will be looking at the willingness and courage to help expose stories that are underreported.

  • Digital Journalism: web-based piece of journalism

This category included multimedia storytelling incorporating images, video, sound, interactive maps, blogs, and even 'news gaming'. This can also include made-for digital video such as virtual reality and 360 degree films. This does not include web-based 2D film.

Take a look at the Terms & Conditions for a full guide and more details on categories, submission formats and eligibility.

Please note:

  • Films must have been made after January 1, 2016
  • Special nomination is for the 'BBC Arabic Young Journalist Award', given to a non-fiction filmmaker or digital journalist between 18 and 30 years old.
  • Special nomination for the 'Best Work in Journalism' for a non-fiction film or digital journalism piece from the Official Selection
  • *A chosen selection of the Festival programme will also receive an invitation to air on BBC Arabic TV


BBC Arabic Festival is committed to bringing bold voices, telling unique and original stories to a London audience. The official selection, based entirely on public submissions, attracts beginning talent along with established filmmakers, reflecting the current cinematic and journalist interest in the region. The Festival's live element is enhanced by post-screening discussions and audience Q&A's with the directors themselves, alongside BBC journalists and experts in the field. Selected films from the programme are also aired on BBC Arabic TV to its international, Arabic speaking audience of 38 million people.


BBC Arabic Festival held its first edition in 2014. The Festival is keen to build on its strength in seeking original works by beginning talent and screening films by established directors delivering unique stories from across the Arab world. The BBC Arabic Festival's commitment to endorse the training of one winning recipient per year continues. The Festival attracts a growing live audience at its based in the New Broadcasting House in central London, meanwhile extending this audience to its 38 million-people strong TV audience.

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