BBC Arabic Festival 2017

The 2017 BBC Arabic Festival seeks new voices telling bold and original stories about the dramatic political changes that continue to transform the Arab world.

For the spring of 2017, BBC Arabic Festival’s 3rd edition, once again, invites fiction and non-fiction films that reflect on the region today. In its 3rd edition, the BBC Arabic Festival will look back at the hopes, visions and reformations that continue to shake the region.

The unprecedented changes that have taken place over the past few years have unleashed global concern. What changes have you seen in Arab society? How have they affected the rest of the world? What kinds of changes have Arabs elsewhere experience? We want to hear stories, personal or political, from every angle.

The BBC Arabic 2017 Festival is now accepting films that tell real stories 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 power in the Arab world, then the BBC would like to hear from you. We encourage professionals and non-professionals alike to submit their entries.

How to submit:

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

Download and complete an entry form.

Download a PDF document

If you are submitting through electronically: email your form and Vimeo link to:

Download a word document

In strict compliance with the BBC Privacy Policy, Vimeo 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

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 Films: 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 Documentaries: 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, 1 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.

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, 2015


•Special nomination is for the BBC Arabic Young Journalist Award, given to a non-fiction filmmaker between 18 and 30 years old.

•Special nomination for the Best Work in Journalism for a non-fiction film from the Official Selection

•A chosen selection of the Festival programme will also receive an invitation to air on BBC Arabic TV

Take your chances, submit your film for the opportunity to show your work at the 3rd BBC Arabic Festival in central London.


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 Broadcasting House in central London.



About BBC Arabic Festival

The BBC Arabic Festival screens short films and documentaries about the dramatic social and political changes taking place in the Arab world today. After two stellar years, we are proud to have garnered a reputation for presenting bold films by established and first-time filmmakers. Through our open call to the public, we seek a bold and diverse range of filmmaking from across the Middle East, by Arab and non-Arab, professional and amateur filmmakers.

The festival runs as a competition, judged by a panel of journalism and film experts and practitioners, who will present an award to a winner in each category. BBC Arabic offers the Young Journalist Award to a non-fiction filmmaker aged 18 to 30. The Award comprises of a programme of bespoke training, mentoring and equipment. There is also the potential for their next project to be aired on BBC Arabic TV and presented by them at the next Festival. This year, BBC Arabic Festival will introduce for the first time an award dedicated to the overall Best Work in Journalism to a non-fiction submission.

The official selection of the 3rd BBC Arabic Festival will be announced in February of 2017.

We are now open for submissions for the 2017 BBC Arabic Festival. 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 in the Arab world today, then the BBC would like to hear from you. We encourage professionals and non-professionals alike.

The festival will take place at the iconic art-deco Radio Theatre in central London, March 24 to 30, 2017. The winners of each category will be announced during the televised Awards Ceremony on March 30, 2017.

Check our Terms & Conditions to see if your film is eligible; go to our How to Submitpage for a full brief of this year’s theme.

Take a look at previous Festivals in 2014 and 2015.

The Festival takes place at the iconic art-deco Radio Theatre in central London.