Around 132 films from 39 countries have been selected to be screened from a total of 1,454 submissions from 86 countries, across seven categories. Screening venues in Sharjah as well as Dubai have been announced.
Sharjah-based FUNN, which promotes media arts learning among children and youth, has announced the full schedule of the seventh edition of the Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth (SIFF), which will be held from October 13-18.
During a press conference held at Zero 6 Mall’s Cinemacity Imax, Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, Director of FUNN and SIFF, revealed a three-fold increase in the number of films submitted this year. She also announced that a junior jury of children and youth have been chosen to evaluate films made by their peers, in addition to professional jurors who will evaluate the rest of the categories.
The professional jurors comprise critics, filmmakers and actors including Omar Farouk, Basel Khayat, Julian Carrington, and Abdul Rahman Al Aqeel, as well as a selection of Emirati artists.
Around 132 films from 39 countries have been selected to be screened from a total of 1,454 submissions from 86 countries, across seven categories: Best Child- and Youth-made Film, Best Student-made Film, Best GCC Short Film, Best International Short Film, Best Animation Film, Best Documentary Film, and Best Feature Film.
She said 12 of the films being screened would have their international premiere at SIFF, while 75 films will make their Middle East debut. Seven films will have their GCC debut and 11 their UAE premieres.
Sheikha Jawaher also revealed the addition of new screening venues in Dubai at Festival City on September 26 and 27, and at City Walk between October 3-12. In Sharjah, films will be screened at Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre from October 14-18, and at Cinema Zero 6 between September 26 and October 17.
Screenings will be also be held at Arabian Center, Dubai, from October 15-17; Last Exit Al Khawaneej from September 28 to October 13; and La Mer from September 30 to October 2.
SIFF has also lined up a series of panel discussions and workshops on topics covering the film industry, photography suitable for all age groups. In addition, youth can look forward to a number of workshops, events and activities dedicated to them during the festival. She outlined the agenda, in the presence of actor and director, Abdullah Al Junaibi, and Dr. Khalid Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Media City (Shams).
Speaking about the theme of this year’s edition, which is ‘Films inspired by Books’, Sheikha Jawaher said: “Many of the Arabic and international film masterpieces have been inspired by books. Films based on literature classics have the power to connect with audiences across generations. Books will always inspire all forms of arts. Sharjah earned the prestigious World Book Capital 2019 title, because it has worked hard for many decades to build generations of readers and is dedicated to fostering reading and books through educational, pedagogical, cultural and artistic programmes.”
HE Dr. Khalid Omar Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Media City (Shams), the Festival’s Gold Sponsor, added: “The Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth (SIFF) is yet another significant cultural achievement. It is part of our vibrant yearlong Sharjah World Book Capital 2019 celebrations. Honouring this global achievement, SIFF this year is gearing up to highlight the key role of books in nurturing arts, especially cinema, to our young festival attendees.”
“We work in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to build a vibrant community and create an environment where culture, arts and innovation can thrive. This is why we were keen on supporting SIFF. We believe that FUNN’s projects are second to none in the way they promote the learning of media arts for children and youth. Sharjah Media City was established to empower youth, ignite their knowledge-based creativity and innovation, and through these key partnerships, we are able to further our efforts geared towards enriching Sharjah’s cultural legacy,” he added.