In an interaction with youth at JRCC, Sendi highlighted the unique experience of watching films with the audience at film festivals.
At Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre, the ninth edition of the Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth (SIFF) organised a one-to-one talk with Saudi filmmaker Mohammed Sendi about “Why do we visit film festivals?”.
Sendi said that the emergence of a new medium will not mark the end of an older one, and added the appeal of film festivals will not fade even in the era of the internet and the prevalence of advanced streaming platforms. He noted, “Film festivals offer a unique experience that will never go away”.
At the session moderated by Chadi Zeineddine, writer, producer and director, and in the presence of youth and junior jurors, Sendi stated: “In the post-pandemic world, people are looking for immersive and experiential events, and film festivals offer just that.”
The unique experience of participating in a film festival cannot be replaced by a big screen at home, he added.
Sendi reminisced about his experiences of watching action movies at the theatre in the company of a large audience and also the solitary experience of watching art films all alone in a cinema hall. He said: “One of the best experiences for any filmmaker is watching your film with the audience, and this is a major attraction at film festivals. Forget about critics; in the end, what matters is the audience. There is nothing more beautiful than when your film meets its audience.”
He also acknowledged the opportunities gained through networking connections made during film festivals that pave the way for fruitful collaborations. Sendi has produced several award-winning films including the short film, Eye & Mermaid.
“The main appeal of SIFF is that it makes the younger generation an intrinsic part of the festival and the whole filmmaking experience,” he concluded.