Submit a Film

About PAFF

The Pan African Film Festival is the largest film festival in the United States dedicated to the exhibition of Black films. Each year PAFF exhibits more than 170 films made by and/or about people of African descent made in the U.S., Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, the South Pacific, Latin America, Canada and Asia. In 2018, 40,000+ people from both the industry and the public attended PAFF. The 27th Annual PAFF will take place in Los Angeles February 7-18, 2019.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences designated PAFF as an official qualifying film festival for live action and animation short films.
USA Today selected PAFF as #3 in their list of 10 Best Film Festivals in the U.S.

Who is eligible to submit to PAFF?

PAFF accepts films and videos made by and/or about people of African descent. (Filmmaker needn’t be of African descent.) Preferably, films should depict positive or realistic images.
Films can be of any genre – drama, comedy, horror, adventure, animation, romance, science fiction, experimental, etc. PAFF accepts features and shorts; narratives and documentaries.
All submissions must be in English or have English subtitles.
PAFF will accept submissions of works in progress. However, your submission must be sufficiently complete to allow our programmers to follow the storyline and be able to make a decision. We will only accept one work-in-progress version of your film, so please make sure it is your best shot. (If you expect your final version to be 90 minutes, a 45-minute rough cut is probably not acceptable.) Also, whenever possible, you should provide an on-screen description of missing scenes. The final version of your film is expected to be ready no later than October 15, 2018.

Does PAFF have a film competition?

Official (Jury) Competition: Best Narrative Feature, Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short, Best Director-First Narrative Feature.
An independent jury panel made up of industry professionals, academics, community and business leaders judge all films in Official Competition.
Films in Official Competition must be copyrighted no earlier than 2017.
Audience Awards: Audience Favorite Narrative Feature, Audience Favorite Documentary, Audience Favorite Short Narrative, Audience Favorite Short Documentary.
Additional Awards: In addition to Official Competition and Audience Awards, there are a number of Programmer’s and Special Festival Awards.

How do I submit my film to PAFF?

PAFF Online Submission Portal
Click on the Online Application link below.
Register – You must first register to submit to PAFF. You will be prompted to provide your email address and create a password. After creating your password, you will be able to enter the application form.
Fill out the Online Application Form – The online application will come up once your registration is submitted. Required information on the application must be filled in. NOTE: Each film submitted must have a separate application with a separate application fee paid.

Submit Your Screener – On the online application, make sure to provide the requested video link information as well as a valid password. PAFF prefers either Vimeo or YouTube as a submission format. Programmers are not allowed to download films into their computers. Video link submissions must remain active until February 19, 2019, or until you are notified that your film has not been accepted. If you change the password to your link, you MUST send a new valid password by email to submissions@paff.org. Failure to do so may eliminate your film from consideration.
Submit Application – When you have completed the application, you must pay the submission fee and hit the “Submit Your Application” button. You will be notified that your submission is completed. If you do not receive confirmation of submission, please go back and make sure that you have completed all required fields. If you need further assistance please contact it@paff.org.

You may also submit your film online using:
*Please note that the fees for the FilmFreeway submission are slightly more expensive than the PAFF Submission Portal.
DVD Screeners:

DVD screeners are accepted by prior approval only. Please contact submissions@PAFF.org to request approval. If you receive permission to send a DVD, you will still be required to fill out the online application and pay your application fee online.

Will my film’s screener actually be previewed?

Absolutely Yes!
All films submitted to PAFF with a usable online link and password (or DVD) are previewed from start to finish by at least one member of the PAFF programming staff. No film can be included for screening at PAFF without having been previewed by one of our programmers.

What are PAFF’s deadlines and entry fees?

The submission deadlines given below are dates that your online application must be completed by and your screener can be viewed. If you are providing an online link make sure it is working and you have provided a valid password. Please Note: If you paid $25 to submit a short film before the Early Deadline and it can’t be viewed due to an invalid password or other defect until after the deadline, you will be prompted to make an additional $10 payment. Also, there may be a lag time between your submission and the viewing, so please make sure your password remains valid. If your screener cannot be accessed, your film will not be previewed until the additional payment has been received.
All submissions are handled equally regardless of when they are submitted. Late and extended deadlines are processed and screened in exactly the same manner as early and official period submissions are handled. The only difference is the higher submission fees. We encourage you to submit your film as early as possible.

Deadlines and fees?

  • Early Submission: June 1-July 11, 2018
    • Features (50 minutes or more): Entry Fees $40.00
    • Shorts (49 minutes or less): Entry Fee: $20.00
  • Official Submission: July 12-September 14, 2018
    • Features (50 minutes or more): Entry Fees $55.00
    • Shorts (49 minutes or less): Entry Fees $30.00
  • Late Submission: September 15-October 15, 2018
    • Features (50 minutes or more): Entry Fees $75.00
    • Shorts (49 minutes or less): Entry Fees $50.00
  • Extended Late Submission: October 16-November 5, 2018
    • Features (50 minutes or more): Entry Fees $115.00
    • Shorts (49 minutes or less): Entry Fees $90.00
  • For Submission after November 5, please contact: submissions@paff.org

When and how will I be notified if my film is accepted?

Notification of acceptance will be emailed to the sender/contact person and the director listed in your application. Please make sure you notify us at miki@paff.org immediately if there are any changes in email addresses.
Selection results will be sent out beginning December 15, 2018. It is a “roll-out” notification process with feature-length films being notified first and then short films. Other than feature films possibly receiving notification first, there is no significance to the order in which notification is given.
All accepted films will be posted on the PAFF Website by approximately January 3, 2019.
You will be notified that your film has not been accepted only after all screening slots have been filled. We do place a few films on a “wait list” in the event a slot opens after selections have been made. You will be notified that your film is on the “wait list.”

When and how will I be notified if my film is accepted?

PAFF’s host theatre is all-digital. The only accepted projection formats for Feature Films are DCP, HD resolution or greater Online Link and Blu-Ray. For Short Films you will be asked to submit an HD resolution or greater Online Link. We may also accept DCP and Blu-Ray for short films depending on programming needs.
If there are any updates for projection formats, you will receive the update with your acceptance notification.
We will accept DVDs only when no other format is available and only as a last resort. DVDs are strongly discouraged because they are unreliable for public presentation due to skipping, stopping and other playback defects.
PAFF will not accept watermarked films for public presentation.