BBC Arabic announces call for entries for its second BBC Arabic Festival

The launch of BBC Arabic’s second Festival in London reflects our continuing commitment to Arabic documentary-making and original journalism.Tarik Kafala, Head of BBC Arabic
Date: 26.02.2015     Last updated: 26.02.2015 at 16.28
Category: World Service
Following a successful first film and documentary festival in 2014, BBC Arabic announced today that it will host its second festival bringing films and documentaries from the Arab world to audiences in London.

The BBC Arabic Festival is currently accepting entries (deadline: 13 May 2015) in four categories; short films, short documentaries, feature documentaries, reportage). This year’s theme, ‘Rulers and Ruled: Power in a Changing Arab World’, will explore the struggles for power and control that continue to shake the region. Film- and documentary-makers, journalists and the general public who are exploring key issues around the Arab world are welcome to submit their work. People of all backgrounds are encouraged to take their chance with a creative or journalistic piece, conveying a unique, underreported story in response to the theme. Full entry details are available on the website:

The BBC Arabic Festival will take place in the autumn of 2015 in the iconic Radio Theatre at the BBC New Broadcasting House in Central London. Last year’s festival brought to London 23 professional and first-time filmmakers from Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Switzerland, France, Italy, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.

Tarik Kafala, Head of BBC Arabic, says: “Last year’s BBC Arabic Film and Documentary Festival was a huge success. It offered talented filmmakers – professionals and amateurs – a stage to share their stories with Arabic-speaking and English audiences alike in London and around world. The launch of BBC Arabic’s second Festival in London reflects our continuing commitment to Arabic documentary-making and original journalism. The festival brings journalistic integrity as well as offering creative interpretation and storytelling on the social and political turmoil in the Arab world. The BBC is a trusted international brand and we are proud to bring untold stories from a very complex region to the rest of the world.”

Liliane Landor, Controller of Languages for the BBC World Service Group, and a judge in BBC Arabic Festival (2014 and 2015) says: “As a judge in last year’s BBC Arabic Documentaries and Film Festival, I was hugely impressed by the quality of entries. The untold stories produced by professional and amateur filmmakers, were truly inspiring. This year we want to build on our excellent start and I encourage everyone with a story to tell to take part.”


Notes to Editors

Film Categories

  • Short Films must be fictional pieces between three and 40 minutes in duration. This can include experimental and animation films. We encourage narratives told with wit, humour and artistic interpretation. We also seek experimental films that use a variety of styles and elements of the audio-visual medium.
  • Short Documentaries must be a work of non-fiction and be between 10 minutes and 40 minutes in duration. 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 and question power and authority, seek justice or reveal something new about an issue of public interest in the Arab world.
  • Feature Documentaries must be a work of non-fiction between 40 and 90 minutes in length. The Feature Documentary category is for well-researched and accurate long-form visual narrative on an issue covering a period since the Arab uprisings. The films should have strong production values, a compelling arc and engaging central characters.
  • Reportage must be a work of non-fiction and must be up to 10 minutes in duration. The Reportage category will recognise professional and non-professional reporters, journalists and film makers.

The final, selected works which feature in BBC Arabic Festival (2015) will be chosen by expert panel of judges.

Judging Panel

  • Liliane Landor, Controller, Languages, Global News
    Liliane started at the BBC with the French service. Liliane is now Controller of Languages for BBC Global News, and is editorially and managerially responsible for all 27 language services on radio, TV and online. Liliane was born in Lebanon and educated in France and Switzerland, of Arab-Cuban descent. She speaks five languages.
  • Safa AlAhmad, Journalist/Documentary Filmmaker
    Safa is a Middle East-based Saudi freelance journalist working in print, television and documentary. Her most recent film, Saudi’s Secret Uprising, won the 2014 Association for International Broadcasting Award for international investigative documentary and is currently shortlisted for the 2015 Index Freedom of Expression Award.
  • Turi Munthe, Index, open Democracy, Bureau of Investigative Journalism
    Turi invests in and advises new media startups. He has been a publisher, editor, policy analyst, lecturer, journalist, curator and talking head. In 2007, he founded Demotix, a global free-speech platform turned news wire that was eventually acquired in 2012.
  • Orwa Nyrabia, Filmmaker/Co-founder of DOX BOX
    Orwa is a highly acclaimed independent Syrian documentary film producer, filmmaker, actor, and writer. He continues to produce documentary films from Syria and the region, most recently the award-winning documentary films Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait (Winner – Best Documentary at BFI London Film Festival 2014) and Return to Homs (Winner – Grand Jury Award at Sundance Film Festival 2014).
  • Jason Solomons, Film Critic
    Jason Solomons is one of the UK's most respected film critics. He currently writes for the Mail on Sunday. He also has a weekly film slot on BBC London 94.9 radio and presents the in-flight entertainment highlights show on board Virgin Atlantic.
  • Martin Chulov, Journalist, The Guardian
    Martin has reported from the Middle East since 2005, and for the Guardian since 2008. He was Baghdad correspondent from 2008 to 2010. As Middle East correspondent since 2010, he has anchored the paper's coverage of the Arab uprisings.
  • Tina Carr, Director, Rory Peck Trust
    Tina is Director of the Rory Peck Trust, supporting freelance newsgatherers worldwide. In 2000, Tina set up the Rory Peck Training Fund, an industry-funded initiative which provides safety training bursaries for freelancers.
  • Gisele Khoury – TV Presenter, BBC Arabic
    Gisele is a prominent journalist and presenter. She is currently the host of BBC Arabic’s weekly programme Al Mashhad, where she interviews heads of state, leading personalities and decision makers from the Arab world.