All the proceeds from the event will be donated for supporting children in war-torn Palestine.
The opening ceremony of the 10th Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth 2023 (SIFF) took place yesterday under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, the wife of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, at the Sharjah Performing Arts Academy.
Present dignitaries included Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Government Relations in Sharjah, Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, Director of FANN and SIFF, Sheikh Salem bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Director of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, along with a distinguished gathering of artists, directors, and film industry professionals from the UAE and around the world.
During the opening ceremony, Sheikha Jawaher announced the cooperation of SIFF with the Big Heart Foundation in supporting the children of Palestine. The entire proceeds from the festival will be donated to their relief campaign.
In her speech, Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi said: “We celebrate the Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth’s remarkable journey as it enters its tenth year, bringing to life over 80 captivating stories told in various languages and dialects. These stories serve as cultural bridges that connect us to other societies, offering diverse perspectives and unveiling real truths. This reinforces that cinema is a sophisticated tool for enlightenment and education.”
Emirati artist Ahmed Al Jasmi was chosen as the festival’s guest of honor and received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Egyptian artist Jan Ramez was presented with the Distinguished Speakers Award.
The festival opened with Jordanian film Zoo, directed by Tariq Al-Rimawi who said that his film drew inspiration from the story of the Gaza Strip’s zoo, once labeled the world’s worst zoo due to the 2014 conflict.
The opening ceremony was graced by the presence of numerous artists and luminaries from the Emirates, the Gulf, and the wider Arab region. Prominent figures included Egyptian artist Hussein Fahmy, Egyptian artist Laila Elwi, Egyptian screenwriter Medhat El Adl, Syrian actor Samer Al Masry, Kuwaiti Tariq Al Ali, Emirati Ahmed Al Jasmi, and Dr. Habib Ghuloum, among others. The event also featured a distinguished lineup of directors, filmmakers, and professionals from the local and international cinema sectors.
The opening ceremony also marked the introduction of the festival’s jury committees, comprised of accomplished directors and film experts from 11 Arab and foreign countries. and 20 promising young judges who are participating for the first time, ensuring a diverse perspective in the category of Films made by Children and Young People.
The tenth edition of the festival, running until October 28 at Vox Cinema in City Center Al Zahia, promises an extraordinary lineup of 81 films hailing from 37 countries worldwide. Among these, the festival proudly features cinematic creations from countries participating for the first time, including the Kingdom of Bhutan, the Republics of Montenegro and Malta, Togo, and Vietnam. The festival also boasts the premiere of three films on the global stage, with 43 films making their Middle East debut.