Established in 1996, the Arab Film Festival (AFF) is the longest-running and largest festival of its kind in North America, bringing Arab culture to American audiences through film. In doing so, it provides an important bridge between the Arab world, Arab-American communities, and the American public in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Its films and educational programs dispel deeply-held negative stereotypes of Arabs in American popular culture with images that reflect the diversity, talent, and complexities of the Arab world. AFF gives voice to artistic expressions by and about Arabs and Arab-Americans by providing a venue for Arab filmmakers to showcase their work, meet other filmmakers, and make connections for future projects.
AFF is proud to promote filmmakers such as Lyes Salem from Algeria, Arab Canadian Amar Chebib, Egyptian Ibrahim El Batout, Tunisian Ibrahim Lataief, Palestinian Norma Marcus, Shakir Abal from Kuwait, Zaid Abu Hamdan of Lebanon, Moroccans Nassim Abassi and Nour brothers – Swel and Imad – as well as Mohammed Alhmoud and Mohammed Alkhalif from Saudi Arabia.
Grants from the Cultures of Resistance Network in 2008, 2010, and 2011 helped offset the costs of bringing filmmakers from the Middle East and North Africa to the festival.