Dear AFMI community,

This is one of the most difficult messages I’ve had to write during my tenure as Executive Director, but after careful consideration and days of long conversations with the team and with leaders in the community, the Board and I have decided to postpone the 27th edition of the Arab Film Festival.

We have always found strength in coming together around movies, sharing our stories and narratives; that is still and will always be our mission. But in light of current events and the speed at which catastrophes are unfolding, we feel the need to be present and hold space for each other in a different way. Some of us are mourning, some are angry, some are experiencing anxiety or shock. The Arab Film Festival has always been an annual celebration of Arab cinema and Arab storytellers, unfortunately this does not feel like a moment of celebration.

I understand that not everyone will be happy with this decision. But please let me assure you that the 27th Arab Film Festival has not been canceled, we are simply postponing it to a later date. We have been working tirelessly to present an industry-leading program, with World and US premieres, Academy films and the best of Arab cinema. We simply don’t believe this is the right time.

In the very coming weeks, you can expect the following from our organization:

  • Reimbursement of all festival passes and tickets that have been purchased
  • Free online screenings and resources that aim to amplify the voices of our Arab and Palestinian filmmakers and storytellers

AFMI was founded to foster understanding of our common humanity, and to use the power of film and storytelling to cut through the noise of hate and misunderstandings that so often drown the much-needed stories from Palestine and the Arab world. These days we do need each other’s love, empathy and understanding more than ever.

I am so proud of this organization and incredibly grateful for all of your support. Thank you for being patient, while we too navigate these incredibly difficult times.

Thank you,
Serge Bakalian
Executive Director
Arab Film and Media Institute