Events included the screening of 'Nezouh' and discussions featuring Egyptian artist Laila Elwi and Egyptian screenwriter Medhat El-Adl.
The 10th Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth opened with an array of eclectic film screenings and thought-provoking discussions, offering valuable insights into the world of cinema. This year’s festival is being hosted at the Vox Cinema halls in City Center Al Zahia and will run until October 28.
The first day of the festival witnessed an impressive turnout of young cinephiles, who enjoyed a diverse selection of films in various languages and actively engaged in a wide range of interactive and educational workshops.
Egyptian artist Laila Elwi spoke about her artistic journey in a session titled An Artist’s Journey. She reflected on her career, which which began when she was only seven years old at Sharq Al Awsat Radio and Cairo Radio. During the session, Elwi discussed her role in the film Me, My Daughter, and Love, marking her debut in cinema, as well as her experiences in the movie For Life. She emphasised the importance of character embodiment and the multifaceted skills required for film and television acting.
Prominent Egyptian screenwriter Medhat El-Adl emphasised the role of passion in successful screenplay writing during the Finding Your Story session. He underscored the significance of answering the question “what happens if…”,as it forms the foundation of any compelling story. El-Adl also stressed the importance of character development, their movements, and their future in crafting a compelling screenplay. The screenwriter noted that writing for children is a particularly challenging endeavour that requires expertise in child psychology. El-Adl also highlighted the need for increased investments in cinema to showcase the strength and significance of Arab art.
Day one of the event also included a dialogue session titled From Festival Screenings to Streaming where Talal Al Asmani from Imagenation Abu Dhabi and Tarek Ghannam from Shooting Stars Film Distribution Company discussed the challenges faced by the film industry in the Middle East, particularly in terms of distribution and financing, post the Covid-19 pandemic. They emphasised the role of festivals as important platforms for showcasing new films, despite the difficulties for distributors and producers in getting their films selected. The discussion touched on the challenges faced by filmmakers in securing broadcast platform rights and adapting to the platforms’ unique requirements.
As part of the festival’s Green Carpet activities, Syrian artist Samer Al-Masry participated in the screening of Nezouh directed by Soudad Kaadan and starring the artist Kinda Alloush. The film’s events unfold in Syria during years of conflict and explores the resilience and challenges faced by the characters amidst the backdrop of conflict and displacement.
This year’s festival boasts an impressive lineup of 81 films from 37 countries, including cinematic offerings from countries participating for the first time. Notably, it features the world premiere of three films and the Middle East premiere of 43 others. The Green Carpet platform showcases four feature films, including Nezouh, Little Nicholas, She is from Another Planet and Valley Road.