Over 20 years ago, we started the Arab Film Festival to challenge hurtful media stereotypes and provide talented Arab filmmakers with a platform to show a real depiction of the Arab world. And our commitment has continued to grow over the years: we expanded into AFMI to fight bigotry and hate with powerful art and storytelling that foster empathy and understanding of our common humanity, and to support Arab filmmakers in the US. We are still a long way from mainstream media that reflects the reality of the Arab and Arab American community, but we have reasons to celebrate the end of 2019.

Can you imagine what we could achieve in 2020?

Top highlights from 2019

  • We launched a series of evenings dedicated to contemporary Arab Documentaries in partnership with the New Parkway in Oakland.
  • We hosted a monthly Movie Nights at Reem’s from January to May 2019 at Reem’s California
  • We successfully wrapped the second year of Takalam: Arab Youth Speaking Up, our summer program for Arab-American youth aged 13 to 18 in Oakland.

Takalam at AFF2019

  • Our Education Program reached over 20 schools. We created AFMI’s Education Program to introduce students and teachers to original, unexpected, and underrepresented stories and voices from the Arab world and the diaspora and to connect them with characters and situations that they can relate to through the work of contemporary Arab filmmakers.
  • Our partnership with CMES UC Berkeley explanded to include 4 curated screenings, talk-backs and a special kick-off event for AFF 2019.
  • We hosted the 23rd Arab Film Festival. After 23 years, the oldest and largest Arab Film Festival in the United States is still going strong, the 2019 edition saw record attendance!
  • We hosted the West Coast Premiere of Elia Suleiman’s It Must Be Heaven – Palestine’s official entry for the 2020 Academy Awards. It was our largest opening night for a Palestinian film.
  • There was a line to get into our legendary festival After-Party – need we say more?
  • Our inaugural Queer Lens Showcase played to a sold-out audience
  • Our year-round programming and co-presentations continue to expand and in 2019 included the Berlinale (Berlin, Germany), Mill Valley Film Festival (Marin), and AFI Fest (Los Angeles).
  • We just wrapped up the second edition of InFocus: Arab Cinema in partnership with the Academy of Motion Pictures and NewFilmmakersLA

In Focus: Arab Cinema

From the very beginning, our non profit organization has been nurtured by a lot of love and hard work. We rely on grants, event-ticket sales, and the donations we receive from people just like you. We try to keep our donation drive to just once a year – will you make a one-time donation or commit to a small monthly gift?
Your donation is tax deductible and every dollar counts. Imagine what we could achieve in 2020 with your help. Donate today to make it possible for us to continue our programs next year. Every dollar counts.