United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF)

We are delighted to announce the 24th UNAFF (United Nations Association Film Festival), which was founded in 1998 by Stanford educator and film critic Jasmina Bojic in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

After moving online in 2020 because of Covid-19, we are extremely excited to return to our regular in-person format this year. In order to provide a safe experience to our audience and our community at large, we have devised Covid-19 protocols in accordance with the guidelines of our County and our State and we count on our audience, staff, guests, panelists and volunteers to read them and help us uphold them.

The 24th UNAFF will be held from October 21-31, 2021. This year’s theme MOVING FORWARD continues our over two-decade-long celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, emphasizing our readiness to resume resolute strides towards lasting solutions. Complete schedule can be seen here: http://www.unaff.org/2021/schedule.html

As one of the oldest solely documentary film festivals in the US, UNAFF has grown and earned the respect of audiences and filmmakers alike for its fearless independence and integrity. In addition to providing early outlets for films, many of which later went on to win major awards and accolades, UNAFF prides itself in creating a community forum with year-round programs facilitating education and dialogue about different cultures, issues, and solutions. 

Over the years UNAFF has screened some of the most acclaimed and talked about documentaries in the industry, including eight that went on to win Academy Awards and thirty that were nominated.

UNAFF presents six awards: UNAFF Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary, UNAFF Grand Jury Award for Best Short Documentary, UNAFF Youth Vision Award, UNAFF Award for Best Cinematography, UNAFF Award for Best Editing, and UNAFF Visionary Award.

UNAFF has won two WAVE Awards for best promotional trailer and was nominated for a CreaTV Award. Also, MovieMaker Magazine listed UNAFF twice as one of the “Top 25 Festivals worth the Entry Fee.” Furthermore, UNAFF won the prestigious Earl W. Eames Award for innovatively combining new technologies with traditional media. As an acknowledgment of the 10th anniversary, UNAFF received the “Community Treasure Award” from Stanford University President John Hennessy for its contribution in promoting dialogue and education about different cultures and issues. At the occasion of its 20th anniversary, UNAFF was awarded a COMMENDATION from the Board of Supervisors of the County of Santa Clara. For the last nineteen years the Mayor of Palo Alto has proclaimed the festival days as UNAFF Week, consistently recognizing the significance that UNAFF has for the community. Also, UNAFF received the Academy Foundation Grant for the UNAFF and Kids program and its Founder and Director received the prestigious UNESCO Fellini Medal.

Through our UNAFF and Kids and UNAFF in Schools programs we have devoted our attention to the young, while the wiser among us continue their lifelong educations through our UNAFF for Seniors program. The UNAFF Panels program provides a platform for some of the best experts addressing challenging topics, and our UNAFF Café maintains a steady supply of interesting films and informal discussions. Utilizing already-defined public spaces dedicated to diverse interests, our collaboration with libraries through the UNAFF in Libraries program brings together documentary films and the love of literature. Our UNAFF Archive offers a plethora of research materials for students of film, politics, and international relations. UNAFF With Veterans brings documentaries to veterans and their families, while UNAFF Women’s Salon is a forum where women can gather informally for active discussions in a supportive and engaging environment.

Our popular UNAFF Traveling Film Festival has taken place in San Francisco, Berkeley, Monterey, Santa Cruz, Davis, Saratoga, Sonoma, Sebastopol, San Diego, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Honolulu, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington DC, New York, Burlington, Bellevue, Miami, La Crosse, Fryeburg, Denver, Houston, Durham at Duke University, Chapel Hill, New Haven at Yale University, Waukesha at University of Wisconsin, Boston and Cambridge at Harvard University, and internationally in Paris, Venice, Montreal, Belgrade, Phnom Penh and Abu Dhabi. 

We hope that the variety of film programs and other related events during UNAFF 2021 will present you with a truly exciting and memorable experience.


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