Sharjah children's film festival to celebrate 95 films from 43 countries

The SIFF will also mark the debut of the Green Carpet event that offers an opportunity for the audience to engage with filmmakers

Supplied photos
Supplied photos

A Staff Reporter

Published: Tue 11 Oct 2022, 4:33 PM

Last updated: Tue 11 Oct 2022, 5:20 PM

Ji-Won Lee's Korean movie 'Kids are Fine', marked the opening of the six-day Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth (SIFF), that will celebrates 95 films from 43 countries.

The event was inaugurated by Sheikh Saud bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Director of Sharjah Digital Office, on October 10, in the presence of Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, Director of FUNN and SIFF; Syrian artist, songwriter, and voice actress Rasha Rizq; Emirati filmmaker Fadel Al Mheiri. The keynote address was delivered by English actress Dixie Igrex.

The festival welcomes students from across the UAE during the morning hours from 9am to 2pm, and is open to the public from 4pm to 9pm.

SIFF 2022 hosts 8 inspiring talks led by artists, filmmakers and industry professionals and holds 34 workshops. The festival also hosts jury members from 11 countries including 25 Junior Jurors.

Positive change

In her opening note, Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, said: “Cinema is a prestigious art that broadens viewers’ intellect, nurtures their imagination and elevates their critical and creative thinking. The festival is a global platform that promotes Sharjah and aligns with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to uphold our authentic Emirati identity and Arab culture that call for tolerance, love and peace.”

Sheikha Jawaher noted that the medium’s importance as an effective learning tool led SIFF to promote the role of cinema in inspiring the new generation of changemakers to drive positive tangible impact on their communities and countries.

The festival is also raising awareness of the young generation on global humanitarian issues in line with Sharjah’s and UAE’s approach towards these matters of urgent concern.

Bolstering moral and family values

For her part, Rasha Rizq spoke about her experience as an artist and lauded the festival for its role in bolstering moral and family values. “Throughout my career, I have always believed that the arts play a critical role in supporting humanitarian causes. The arts are key pillars of policies that aim to elevate people and boost their artistic achievements and cultural legacy. It is also an essential tool in supporting environmental issues and raising awareness on the importance of protecting our planet.”

Source of inspiration

Emirati filmmaker Fadel Al Mheiri said: “Films have always stirred my curiosity and grabbed my attention, and I learnt that anything around me that ignites the imagination can be a source of inspiration.”

Power of cinema

Dixie Egerickx spoke about the power of cinema, underscoring that SIFF’s screenings comprise films that promote cultures and bridge the gap between global civilisations. Films are powerful tools that contribute to boosting relations and understanding between peoples, she said.

Kids Are Fine

Director Ji-Won Lee said his film's ('Kids are Fine') uniqueness stems from the fact that the entire cast of children had no prior experience in acting. He called on adults to take the responsibility of providing a nurturing environment to unleash the creativity and capacities of children to enable them to create rich and amazing films in the future.

Green Carpet

The festival also marked the debut of the Green Carpet event that will screen six films and offer an opportunity for the audience to engage with the filmmakers on discussions related to their creative works. Films screened at the Green Carpet event include 'Farha', 'The Neighborhood Storyteller', and 'Paper Flower' at Al Jawaher Reception & Convention Centre, as well as 'The Secret Garden', 'Croissant', and 'The Electrical Life of Louis Wain' at Vox Cinema Al Zahia in Sharjah.

SIFF awards

Films will be competing in 7 categories, including 12 films in the Child and Youth Made Films category, 16 in the Student Film category, 8 in the GCC Short Film category, 8 in the International Short Film category, 28 in the Animation Film category, 7 in the Documentary Film category, and 16 in the Feature Film category.

Eminent Jury

On the panel of jurors for the Student Film category are Amal Al Duwaila, Nadia Rahman and Siona Vidakovic, while the GCC Short Film category features Heba Hamada, Buthaina Alraisi, and Hani Al Shaibani. The International Short Film category is being judged by Masoud Amralla, and Yasir Alyasiri; the Animation Film category by Sara Oulddaddah, Mariam Al Serkal, and Laurie Gordon; the Documentary Film category jurors are Ahmed Eldin, Waad Al Kateab, and Susan Mbogo, and the Feature Film category will be judged by Nawaf Al Janahi, and Aida Al-Hassani.

Junior Jurors

25 ‘Junior Jurors’ will evaluate the Best Child and Youth-made Film category.

Inspiring talks

Eight talks will be hosted by film industry experts, including ‘Refugee Stories in Cinema’, ‘FUNN Programmes’, ‘Palestine: Forging connections through cinema’, ‘Why do we visit festivals’, ‘Distribution for Short Films – Who is Buying My Film?’, ‘How to train future filmmakers’, ‘How to support local and international talents’, and ‘Film Literacy’.

Interactive workshops

There will also be 34 educational and entertaining workshops, including ‘Stop motion Animation’, ‘Basic Video’, ‘How to Learn Filmmaking by Watching Other Movies’, ‘Script Writing’, ‘Simple Steps to Film Directing’, ‘Post Production’, ‘Acting with Mahmoud Al Kattan’, ‘Film Budgeting’, and ‘Drama’.


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