Middle East

BBC Arabic Festival 2018

Films and Documentaries from a Changing Arab World

The BBC Arabic Festival is an annual, week-long event that screens short films and documentaries about current social and political changes taking place in the Arab world. The festival takes place at the iconic art-deco Radio Theatre at BBC's Broadcasting House in central London. The screenings take place alongside a series of talks, presentations and performances that highlight current events and general urgent questions regarding the Arab world today. The official selection of films also have the potential to air on BBC Arabic television as part of Min AlMahjran (or From the Festival) our special TV programming produced exclusively around the festival.

The BBC Arabic 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 at the televised Awards ceremony. Our 2018 panel of judges include Channel 4 News' Fatma Manji, Doha Film Institute's Fatima AlRemaihi and BBC Documentaries' Commissioning Editor, Clare Paterson. Go to our judges' page to read about our 2018 panel.

BBC Arabic also offers the Young Journalist Award to a non-fiction filmmaker or journalist 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. In 2017, BBC Arabic Festival introduced the Liliane Landor Award for Best Work in Journalism to a non-fiction submission. The award seeks excellence and originality in a non-fiction work.

Reflecting current trends in media development, for 2018, we have introduced a new category: Digital Journalism. Submissions for this category are also eligible for the Liliane Landor Award for Best in Journalism and the BBC Arabic Young Journalist Award. The BBC Arabic Festival is committed to supporting filmmakers and journalists whose work reflects the current state of the Arab world.

We are currently organizing the 2018 BBC Arabic Festival, which will run April 20 to 26, 2018. We will announce the programme for our exciting 4th edition in March 2018.

Please take a look at our first and second BBC Arabic Festival programmes, highlights and winners. The winners for BBC Arabic Festival 2017 can be found on our homepage.


BBC Arabic Festival held its first edition in 2014 as a four-day, London based event. Today, the Festival runs for a full week, doubling the audience in the theatre while continuously developing the live content for BBC Arabic TV, radio and web to a potential 38 million viewers. 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. These screenings are complimented by Q&A's with directors, special presentations and panel discussions on the challenges and developments of film, documentary and journalism production.

The BBC Arabic Festival's commitment to giving platform to emerging and established filmmakers continues, particularly through the BBC Arabic Young Journalist Award, which endorses the training of one winning recipient per year.