SAARC Film Festival 2019


SAARC Cultural Centre will be holding the SAARC Film Festival for the 9th consecutive year in 2019 in Sri Lanka.  The SAARC Film Festival has built a reputation as being a very important platform and focal point for the promotion, celebration and enjoyment of some of the best films from the SAARC Region.  A reputed panel of international judges will select the best films and recognise the individuals who are at the very core of this creativity as a form of encouragement and respect to continue producing quality, thought provoking and representational films for the Region.

The SAARC Film Festival 2019 will focus on films created in South Asia and first screened after 1st May 2017.  Directors and artistes of these films will be invited to participate in the workshop, which is conducted to encourage and improve future productions.

Please send in nominations and benefit from the exposure this magnificent event will bring to the industry, artistes, vision and creativity of the directors and movie makers of each valued SAARC Member State.  Most importantly, be present as we showcase a very special part of culture and art within our varying and wonderfully diverse Member States.

As such, the SAARC Cultural Centre looks forward to receiving the valued nominations of Member States at the earliest convenience and no later than the deadlines specified below.  We warmly invite the Member States to join us, as we resume our journey in 2019 to bring South Asian film to the forefront of the international film world.


There will be three film categories open for nominations at the SAARC Film Festival 2019:

  1. Feature Films – Nominations for the Competitive Categories (Maximum of two nominations)
  2. Short Films – Nominations for the Competitive Category (Maximum of two nominations)
  3. Master Films – Non-Competitive Nomination (One Nomination)


  1. All Member States are invited to nominate Two (2) Feature Films (Fiction), and Two (2) Short Films (Fiction) for submission to the SAARC Film Festival 2019 competitive categories.
  2. The qualifying period of screening should be two years before May 2019- ie: any film released or screened after 01st May 2017 or films which haven’t been screened as yet.  This applies to both the Feature and Short Film categories.
  3. A Short Film is defined as a ‘Short Fictional Film’, for any duration UNDER 30 minutes. Documentary Films will not be considered in this category.
  4. As the aim of this SAARC Film Festival is to promote culture and embrace unity amidst the diversity of culture that is shared among the SAARC Member States, films nominated should aim to promote culture, foster friendship and cultural harmony between Member States and not showcase films that would in any way be prejudicial to another Member State.  Films that are prejudicial to another country, or that would highlight issues that would not be in keeping with the aim of promoting the Festival and fostering goodwill in the Region, will be disqualified.  The organisers reserve the right to view nominated films prior to the Festival, and disqualify any film that would go against the very objective of promoting peace and harmony through culture within the SAARC Region.
  5. The Feature films and Short films nominated will be eligible for the Awards detailed below.
  6. All nominated films must be in English or subtitled in English.  Any film submitted without English subtitles, will be disqualified.
  7. EACH Film Nomination must be accompanied by a fully completed Registration form, which is attached to this Concept Note.
  8. All nominated films from the Region will be judged by an international jury of film professionals, and their decision will be final.
  9. All expenses pertaining to sending the film in the required format – as detailed below, will have to be borne by the nominating Member State.
  10. For submission dates and deadlines, please refer Section 9 below.


  1. Under this category we would be honoured to screen films from each SAARC Member State, made by master film makers of the Member State.  As such, each Member State is encouraged to nominate ONE film, nationally accepted as being a master work by a master film maker of that respective Member State.  This would give a broader spectrum to the Film Festival and allow the SAARC Cultural Centre to showcase the depth and value of the ‘classic’ whilst celebrating and encouraging the ‘contemporary’.  In turn it will create an environment which celebrates the wider spectrum of film making, showcasing quality that has endured through the ages and its invaluable contribution to life and culture, through the passage of time.
  2. For submission dates and deadlines, please refer Section 9 below.


Dates:  2nd – 7th July 2019, including the following:

  • 2nd July 2019:   Inauguration Ceremony
  • 5th July 2019:   Film Workshop
  • 7th July 2019: SAARC Film Awards and Closing Ceremony

Venue:  The Cinema Hall, National Film Corporation, Sri Lanka


The following 12 Awards will be presented at the SAARC Film Awards 2019 on the 7th July 2019, selected by a panel of jury members from non-SAARC Member States.  The decision of the panel will be final.

  1. Best Feature Film
  2. Best Director
  3. Best Actor
  4. Best Actress
  5. Best Short Film
  6. Best Screenplay
  7. Best Cinematographer
  8. Best Editor
  9. Best Sound Designer
  10. Best Original Score (Music Composer)
  11. Special Jury Award No 1
  12. Special Jury Award No 2


  1. The SAARC Cultural Centre invites nominations for the participation of Film Directors and other Artistes from the nominated films to be screened at the SAARC Film Festival 2019.  The Directors and other Artistes will participate in a workshop intended to promote interaction within the film community of the Region.  It will also serve as an educational and knowledge sharing opportunity for young film directors, film enthusiasts and film critiques.  They are also invited and encouraged to participate at the SAARC Film Awards Ceremony scheduled to take place on the 7th July 2019.
  2. Each Member State can nominate a maximum of 4 persons, including Film Directors and Film Artistes, to attend the Festival.
  3. As per SAARC Practice, airfare of the nominated Film Directors and all nominated Artistes must be borne by the nominating Member State.
  4. The Nominated Persons (up to a Maximum of 4) will be provided hotel accommodation, local hospitality and transport as per usual SAARC practice by the SAARC Cultural Centre.
  5. For submission dates and deadlines, please refer Section 9 below


1. All films submitted for the Festival (Feature Films, Short Films and Master Films) should be submitted in DCP in 2K/4K (D Cinema) format or Blu – ray format and downloadable data format.

2. Downloadable data format specifications:

  1. Audio, video and subtitles must be contained in a single file and the file size should not exceed 10 GB.
  2. Please submit HD material in the MP4 format (H.264, AAC, Stereo).
  3. Please encode your video data with a constant bitrate and either 24, 25 or 30 progressive frames per second.
  4. The file name must not include any special characters or blank spaces. Please do not, for example, use any file names like “myfilm!@&%$§ *().mov”.
  5. To ensure a high technical quality, the following settings for file compression are suggested:
    • Size / aspect ratio  –  1920 x 1080 px / 16:9 HD
    • Video codec / min. bit rate  –  H.264 high profile 5.000 – 10.000 Kbit/s
    • Audio codec / min. bit rate  –  AAC / 320 Kbit/s sampling rate 48

If the film is available in a different file format or on DVD, a conversion to H.264 is recommended.  File conversion is offered by the software “HandBrake”, which is free of charge and available for all popular computer operating systems.

3. Please ensure that the films submitted are not defective, are in the required format as stated above in Section 8, and are individually labelled, including the running time of each film.

4. As the aim of the Festival is to promote culture, new trends and ideas, there are no restrictions on themes and topics subject to section 3 (IV) above.

5. All films will be subject to approval from the Sri Lankan Public Performance Board prior to screening at SAARC Film Festival 2019

6. Member States must deliver 3 COPIES (Public Performance Board, records and screening) of the final format to the SAARC Cultural Centre as detailed above in Section 8 for the Festival screening, NO LATER THAN 8th April 2019.

7. For publicity purposes, please include a standard Press Kit with the required information, giving special consideration to the following:

  1. 150-word synopsis of EACH film submitted for the Festival;
  2. 3 High resolution (300 dpi) images from each film;
  3. 1 Profile picture of the Director (300 dpi);
  4. Biography of the Director;
  5. Film trailers, clip reels, posters, post cards if available;
  6. Film Reviews – to be sent in together with the names of the nominated films.

8. In addition to the Registration form, please email the information stated above in Section 8 (7) NO LATER THAN 8th APRIL 2019 to:


  1. Titles of the nominated Films in all Categories (Short, Feature and Master) along with their relevant details (as stated above in section No. 8) should be sent through the relevant ministry of the nominating Member State, via their Foreign/External Affairs Ministries, to the SAARC Secretariat Kathmandu, to reach the SAARC Cultural Centre in Colombo, no later than the 8th of April 2019.
  2. Names of the Film Personnel (up to a maximum of 4 Film Directors and/or Artistes) nominated to represent each SAARC Member State, should be sent through the relevant ministry concerned of the nominating Member State, via their Foreign/External Affairs Ministries, to the SAARC Secretariat Kathmandu, to reach the SAARC Cultural Centre in Colombo by the 8th of April 2019.
  3. 3 copies each of the Nominated Films in the specified format please refer section 8 and the relevant publicity material and press kits, should be sent through the relevant Ministry of the nominating Member State, via their Foreign/External Affairs Ministries, directly to the SAARC Cultural Centre, Sri Lanka as detailed in the attached Registration Form, to reach the SAARC Cultural Centre, no later than the 8th April 2019.


The SAARC Cultural Centre wishes to contact the Directors/Producers of the Feature Films and Short Films to obtain permission to screen their films at appropriate official SAARC Cultural Centre events.  Please tick the appropriate box in the application form (attached) if the Directors/Producers are willing to be contacted for permission to screen their films. Films will only be screened with the prior written permission of the Directors/Producers of the films.