African Film Festival Deadlines: January – April 2018

Film festivals are a necessary ritual for anyone looking to tell stories with film. They offer some of the best opportunities to young and old filmmakers by providing a critical audience for your work as well as linking up different segments of the industry, from production to distribution. With an ever expanding circuit on and off the continent, the range of interest, requirements and opportunities available to African filmmaker has also increased. As such, each quarter in 2018, DANDANO will bring African filmmakers a list of festival for African by African and their submission deadlines.

Whether you’re completing the edits on your debut short film or looking for a new audience for your student documentary, the following African film festivals are good places you should consider sending your work too.

New York African Film Festival

Deadline: January 19, 2018

The New York African Film Festival, organized by African Film Festival, Inc. kicks off in May and invites submissions from African filmmakers in all genres for its 25th edition. Films screened at the festival last year included DANDANO favorites, Uprize! and Footprints of Pan-Africanism. The deadline for submissions is January 19. Work should be sent as a private link to Visit their submission page for more details. Festival goers should expect the complete schedule of planned events including screenings, panels, workshops and exhibitions in a few months.

Zanzibar International Film Festival

Deadline: March 15, 2018

The Zanzibar International Film Festival, East Africa’s favorites film festival is calling for submission for its 21st edition taking place in Stone town, Zanzibar from 7th -15th July, 2018. The categories including, documentaries, full length features, student film, TV series, Web Series and a number of special prizes are open to filmmakers from across the world. However, priority will be given to films from Africa and by Africans including the African Diaspora. The theme of the festival is “Speak Up and Make it Heard – Sema na Usikike”. Submissions can be made here via film freeway. The only rules for the festival are that films submitted must be directed or produced from 2016. However, unfinished work can be submitted but must be finished by May 2018.

Zanzibar International Film Festival via Film Freeway

Durban International Film Festival

Deadline: February 29, 2018

The Durban International Film Festival is one of the giants on the African film festival  circuit and is calling for films for its 39th edition, scheduled to take place from 19-29 July 2018. Send your Feature, Short, Documentary and Short Documentary for consideration via a private link to Only films completed in 2017 will be eligible for selection with a special focus on African films. Visit their submission page for more details.

DIFF logo

Encounters South African International Documentary Festival

Deadline: March 1, 2018

Encounters is the biggest documentary festival on the festival circuit, occurring in Johannesburg and Cape Town from May 31 to June 10, 2018. Submissions for the next edition of the festival are officially open and can be completed via this link on their website. The festival will also present three awards including, Audience Award to Best South African Film & Best International Film at the end of the festival. For more info, visit their submission page. Films screened at the last edition include virtual reality film Spirit Robot by Jonathan Dotse, The African Who Wanted To Fly (2016) by Samantha Biffot and This Land (2017) by Miki Redelinghuys

Encounter 2017. Photo by Chris Preyser Photography

The Timehri Film Festival

Deadline: March 15, 2018

Guyanese and Caribbean filmmakers in the Region and Diaspora, the The Timehri Film Festival is calling for short-length narrative, documentary, animated and experimental films, made in or about Guyana, or by a filmmaker of Guyanese heritage. The events will be held from May – June 2018 in Guyana. Submission can be made via Film Freeway. Visit their website for submission fees as well as the rules to follow.

FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS (2010), Dir: Shundell Prasad via Timehri Film Festival website


Written by Hakeem Adam

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