The idea of the Bahraini Film Festival (Made with Passion) emerged from the Isa Cultural Center's goal of supporting and nurturing creativity nationwide, following the participation of many young Bahraini cinematographers in the festival "The Middle East Now" in Florence, Italy, in early April 2015, with the support and sponsorship of the ICC, and through the Program "A Window on Bahrain", which provided an overview of Bahrain's culture and history with voice and image, with popular music and a review of some customs and traditions, as well as the screening of four Bahraini short films, (Salman Yusuf's Steps and Hadra, Mohammed Rashid's Beshara and Canary Film), which received a decent representation of the Kingdom of Bahrain globally.
The festival started under the dome of the ICC as a Bahraini cinema evening in 2016 and evolved into a festival in 2019, taking place annually in the first weeks of the Holy Month of Ramadan. The Centre has been producing a Bahraini film collection yearly through the award competition, providing technical support through specialized workshops, and honouring pioneers from producers, directors and actors who contributed to the Bahraini film industry. The ICC contributes to the involvement of films and their delivery to international festivals, such as the Seven Hills International Festival in the Hungarian city of Beach in September 2018, in which the film "ALDEEK (The Rooster)" by Salman Yusuf and the film "Eva Dawood" was screened.
Until 2022, the Festival produced nine Bahraini short films, including "Sama", "Camera", "Window", and more than 50 short films during its previous sessions, including Ghadir Mohammed's "Dream", Mohammed Saffar's "Withdrawal", "Sbar" Lawsen Maden, Hashim Sharif's "Ashqar" to Salman Yousef and others.
Although the Festival was stopped in 2020 and 2021 due to the global pandemic, the festival continued to support film production and grants to filmmakers during its pause.
It is worth mentioning that the Bahrain Radio and Television Corporation and the National Press are the main sponsors of the festival through media coverage, along with Nouran Company, which used to be owned the late scenarist Fareed Ramadhan, by delivering training workshops and technical services to support directors in film production.
Due to the festival's tremendous success in the previous years and the prominent presence of the Artistic Centre, in 2022, the festival announced the expansion of the Gulf with the presence of directors from the Gulf film festivals. The production of Gulf films will be accepted starting with the 2023 Festival. This opportunity will allow Bahraini art to spread and interact with Gulf experiences to contribute to the development and renaissance of short filmmaking in our precious kingdom, considering the vital role cinema plays in disseminating cultural knowledge and awareness in societies.