Submit a Film

Submit a Film

PAFF Submission Information & Guidelines

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 150 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 2017, 40,000+ people from both the Industry and the public attended PAFF. The 26th Annual PAFF, which will take place in Los Angeles February 8-19, 2018.

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 2015 list of 10 Best Film Festivals in the U.S.


  • 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, featurettes 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, 2017.


Yes. PAFF Official Competition categories are: Best Narrative Feature, Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary, Best Director-First Narrative Feature, Audience Favorite Narrative Feature and Audience Favorite Documentary. With the exception of Audience Favorites, an independent jury panel made up of industry professionals judges all films in Official Competition. Films in Official Competition must be copyrighted no earlier than 2016. In addition to Official Competition Awards, there are a number of programmer’s and special festival awards.


You send your screener to PAFF through an online link. There is a place in the online application that requests the address of your link and password. DVD screeners are accepted by prior approval only. Please contact to request approval.

  • Online Registration – You must first register to submit to PAFF. Click on the Online Application link below. 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 Online Application Form – All film submission applications and submission payments must be completed online using PAFF’s online application. Each film submitted must have a separate application with a separate application fee paid.
  • Submit Application – The online application will come up. Required information must be filled in. 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
  • Submit Your Screener
    • On the online application, make sure to provide the requested video link information as well as a valid password.
    • Video link submissions must remain active until February 21, 2018, 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
  • All films submitted to PAFF 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.


  • The submission deadlines are dates that your online application must be completed 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 $15 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 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 fee.
  • We encourage you to submit your film as early as possible.


  • Early Submission: June 10-July 10, 2017
    • Features (60 min. or more): Entry Fees $35.00
    • Featurettes (between 40 min and 59 min.): Entry Fees $25.00
    • Shorts (39 mins or less): Entry Fee: $15.00
  • Official Submission: July 11-September 15, 2017
    • Features (60 min. or more): Entry Fees $55.00
    • Featurettes (between 40 min and 59 min.): Entry Fees $35.00
    • Shorts (39 mins or less): Entry Fees $25.00
  • Late Submission: September 16-October 15, 2017
    • Features (60 min. or more): Entry Fees $85.00
    • Featurettes (between 40 min and 59 min.): Entry Fees $65.00
    • Shorts (39 mins or less): Entry Fees $55.00
  • For Submission after October 15, please contact:


  • 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 immediately if there are any changes.
  • Selection results will be available beginning December 1, 2017. It is a “roll-out” notification process with feature-length films being notified first; then featurettes and shorts. 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 December 31, 2017.
  • 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.


  • PAFF’s host theatre is all-digital. The only accepted projection formats for Feature Films are DCP, online link and Blu-Ray. For Featurettes and Short Films you will be asked to submit an online link. We may also accept DCP and Blu-Ray depending on programming needs.
  • If there are any updates for projection formats, you will receive them 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.