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BBC Arabic Festival calls for films

The 4th BBC Arabic Festival seeks short films, documentaries and journalistic pieces that explore the social and political changes taking place in the Arab world today. Our call is open to filmmakers, journalists and enthusiasts with cameras whose work explores these key issues.

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.

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. 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 your work to a live audience in central London, and air it to our Middle East audience on BBC Arabic TV.

Please read the terms and conditions below carefully before submitting your film. Download the form and see details on how to submit your film in our 'How to Submit' page.

Terms and Conditions

1. For a work to be eligible it must meet the following criteria:

1.1. It must have been made after January 1, 2016;

1.2. The subject matter must concentrate on an exploration of the political and social situation in, or directly affected by, the Arab world.

1.3. The work must be either a short film, documentary, reportage, or a piece of digital journalism and satisfy the criteria for each category set out below.

1.4. Anyone being considered by the judges for the BBC Arabic Young Journalist Award must be between 18 and 30 on 15 June 2016.

1.5. The judges' decision as to the eligibility of individual entrants or their work will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

The BBC is keen to broadcast a selection of the official selection on BBC Arabic TV and will endeavour to do so with the agreement of the entrants.

There is no obligation on the BBC to broadcast the official selection.

2. Entrants must submit:

2.1. An entry form that is available on the website. Submissions will not be accepted without an accompanying completed entry form.

2.2 Submissions can be in any language and are open to residents of any country and of all nationalities.

2.3. All submissions must be sent in their original language, with English subtitling. For the Reportage category, this is preferable but not essential.

2.4. Submissions will not be accepted if sent without English subtitles - this excludes the Reportage category where English subtitling is preferable but not essential.

3. Entrants should clearly mark the category for which their submission is to be judged and the following criteria must be met. Only one category per submission will be accepted. BBC Arabic shortlisting committee reserve the right to refuse an entry or correct the category if it is not compliant with the below criteria

3.2. Short Films must be between 3 minutes and 40 minutes in duration and may cover fiction, experimental and animation films.

3.3. Short Documentaries must be a work of non-fiction and be between 10 minutes and 40 minutes in duration

3.4. Feature Documentaries must be a work of non-fiction and must be between 40 and 90 minutes in length.

3.5. Reportage must be a work of non-fiction and must be between 0 and 10 minutes in duration. The Reportage category will recognise professional and non-professional reporters, journalists and film makers whose reports or video footage of a current affairs story are ground-breaking and reveal something new.

3.6. Digital Journalism will be a web-based piece of journalism. This can include 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.

4. Submission for entries opens on 15th June 2017

5. Entries must be submitted via URL or as a DVD or USB stick to the address provided below. If submitting through URL, your submission must be given the same title as that specified on your entry form so that we can find it on your entry form.

If you are sending your submission as a DVD or a USB stick, please allow enough time to ensure the submission arrives by the closing date of Friday, 20th of October, 2017.

DVD or USB sticks must be clearly labelled with the same title that you specified on your entry form.

Shipping costs of the submitted material must be met by the sender.

DVDs or USB sticks will not be returned.

Submissions should be sent to the following address and must clearly state 'BBC Arabic Festival Submission' on the envelope;

BBC Arabic Festival 2018

4th Floor, Peel Wing

BBC Broadcasting House

Portland Place

London W1A 1AA


Please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for all enquiries relating to the festival.

6. The BBC will only ever use personal details for the purposes of administering the festival. Please see the BBC's Privacy Policy.

7. Closing date for entries is 23:55 on 20 October 2017. Submissions received after this time and date will not be considered.

The BBC cannot accept any responsibility for any problem with the postal service which may result in any entry being lost or delayed. Proof of sending is not proof of receipt.

Entries will not be returned so please remember to keep a copy. As there will be a number of entries, we will not be providing feedback on any entry.

8. Entrants can submit as many works as they wish. Each work can only be submitted for one category respectively.

9. All entries must be the original work of the entrant and comply with the Terms and Conditions. Entries must not infringe the rights of any other party (including privacy rights) and must not be defamatory or unlawful.

The BBC accepts no liability if entrants ignore these rules and entrants agree to fully indemnify the BBC against any claims by any third party arising from any breach of these rules.

10. If an entry is final listed, the entrant will be asked to complete a screening licence to enable the BBC to screen the winning entry and use clips. The final listed entry cannot proceed to the next stage unless the BBC has received a screening licence, which has been completed to the BBC's satisfaction.

Only the final listed entries, also referred to as the official selection, in each category will be screened at the BBC Arabic Festival at the BBC Radio Theatre.

11. Clip Usage for Finalist Entries: the BBC will show clips of winning entries at the awards ceremony at the BBC Radio Theatre and may include clips on BBC Arabic TV and online services.

12. The BBC reserves the right to make changes to the subtitling if it is necessary, should the subtitling not meet with standards expected by the BBC.

13. By submitting their works, entrants agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.

14. Stage One - Shortlisting

The criteria for assessing the shortlisted works will be as follows:

14.1 Short Films (3 to 40 minutes)

These films will bring a fresh, new perspective to the stories being told and issues being explored. Relevance to the festival theme is pertinent to its acceptability past the shortlisting phase. We expect a high production value with well-structured story lines and original, creative visual elements.

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.

14.2 Short Documentaries (10 to 40 minutes in duration)

The short documentary category covers non-fiction films on a social, cultural or political subject with a focus on the Arab world today. These films will be well-researched, creative and balanced investigations into an issue covering the period since the Arab uprisings.

The films should be driven by strong narratives and should reveal an original and authored view of Arab society or culture. This category aims to showcase the talents and skills of film-makers and the creative treatment of reality in the Arab world today.

We aim to showcase journalistic clarity, precision, balance, fairness, in-depth research and detailed analytical skills in documentary investigations. 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. We also encourage creative documentaries in both the short and feature length documentary categories.

14.3 Feature Documentary (40 to 90 minutes)

The Feature Documentary category is for well-researched and accurate long-form visual narrative on an issue pertinent in the Arab world today. The films should have strong production values, a compelling arc and engaging central characters. These films should clearly present an essential purpose. We also encourage creative documentaries in both the short and feature length documentary categories.

14.4 Reportage (0 to 10 minutes)

The Reportage category will reward professional and non-professional reporters, journalists and film-makers whose reports or video footage of a current affairs story are ground-breaking and reveal something new.

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

14.5 Digital Journalism (web-based journalism piece)

The Digital Journalism category is a response to the emerging multimedia form of storytelling. For this category we see made-for-web journalistic pieces. The full story should be told through a combination of images, video, sound, infographics, blogs, time lines and interactive graphics. We also accept immersive film, virtual reality projects, 360 degree-shot films. As part of this category, we also accept 'news gaming' projects. This category does not include web-based 2D film. (These would fall under Reportage. Please see 14.4 above.)

Previously published pieces will be considered. Student projects are encouraged. Entries will be judged based on the project's innovative use of digital tools and new media, as well as the depth of research.

Submissions are welcome from all over the world but must be in either English or Arabic. We will accept work translated from other languages. Any submissions not in these two languages and without translations will not be accepted.

Works will not have been financed or backed by a major media organization

15. All entries will be reviewed by a team of experts from within the BBC (including film editors, journalists, producers and documentary film makers) who will assess the works against the criteria outlined above and select a shortlist of up to twenty (20) entries per category.

16 Stage Two - Judging Panel and Final Winning Entries

16.1 The judging panel will watch and discuss the submissions.

16.2 Five entries per category will then be selected for final screening as part of the BBC Festival. Selected entrants must provide a full dialogue script and other materials specified in the screening licence.

16.3 The scheduling and programming of all winning entries rests with the BBC and its festival management team.

16.4 The finalist entries for the four film categories will be screened at the BBC Radio Theatre, BBC Broadcasting House London.

16.5 The finalist entries for the Digital Journalism category will be presented at the BBC Radio Theatre, BBC Broadcasting House London.

16.6 Finalist entrants will be notified the week of December 1, 2017.

17. BBC Arabic Young Journalist Award

BBC Arabic Service will also award an exceptional young person (aged 18-30) who, in its view, has submitted the most promising and original piece within the Reportage, Short Documentary, Feature Documentary or Digital Journalism categories.

The award should be taken up within the 12 months of the announcement in Spring 2018.

The award will include training, mentoring and access to equipment to create a project in development. There is the potential for this project to be commissioned by the BBC. The project may also be invited to be presented at the following festival and aired on BBC Arabic TV.

18. The names of all entrants whose works will be screened at the Festival will be made public.

Entrants must agree to take part in any festival publicity if required.

All selected entries may be used for private press screenings prior to the festival.

The BBC will invite a number of the selected winners to attend and participate in the festival and reasonable costs of travel and accommodation will be met. All invitees will be responsible for securing their own visas and meeting their own visa costs.

19. The BBC's decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

20. The BBC reserves the right to disqualify any entry which breaches any of these Terms and Conditions.

21. The BBC reserves the right to amend these Terms and Conditions at any stage, including changing or substituting the selection process or the judging panel or the development opportunities for the BBC Arabic Young Journalist Award. In this event, a notice will be posted on the following website:

22. These Terms and Conditions are governed by the laws of England and Wales.


For more information please visit the site :

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