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 for discovery and dialogue about different cultures, issues and solutions.
Apart from bringing the best international documentaries to our audiences during the festival days each October, we have developed multiple year-round programs which engage a growing segment of our community. 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, Houston, Durham at Duke University, New Haven at Yale University, Waukesha at University of Wisconsin, Boston and Cambridge at Harvard University and internationally in Paris, Venice, Belgrade, Phnom Penh and Abu Dhabi. Through “UNAFF and Kids” and “UNAFF in Schools” programs we have devoted our attention to the young and to the wiser among us with the “UNAFF for Seniors”. 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. “UNAFF Archive” offers a plethora of research material for students of film, politics and international relations.
UNAFF celebrates the power of films dealing with human rights, environmental themes, population, migration, women’s issues, refugees, homelessness, racism, health, universal education, war and peace. UNAFF has screened some of the most awarded and talked about documentaries in the industry including five that went on to win Academy Awards and twenty-two that were nominated.
Last year UNAFF jurors reviewed 670 submissions. Our final program consisted of 70 films from all over the world. To complement the screenings UNAFF partnered with more than 50 community organizations for seven panels on topics such renewable energy, cyber crime and Internet freedom, interracial marriage and tolerance, looted art, wars in the name of God, torture programs and medical ethics, battle for water over oil, human trafficking and modern slavery, philanthropy and social change.
UNAFF gives five awards - UNAFF Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary, UNAFF Grand Jury Award for Best Short Documentary, UNAFF Youth Vision Award, UNAFF/Stanford Video Award for Cinematography and UNAFF/Stanford Video Award for Editing.
UNAFF has twice won the WAVE Awards for best promotional trailer and was nominated for a CreaTVe Award. In 2010 MovieMaker Magazine also listed UNAFF 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. For the last ten years the Mayor of Palo Alto has proclaimed the festival days as UNAFF Week, consistently recognizing the significance that UNAFF has for the community. Most recently, UNAFF received the prestigious Academy Foundation Grant for the “UNAFF and Kids” program, which will have its fifth presentation this year.
UNAFF is an independent project of the UNA-USA, a nonprofit organization