The third edition of the annual festival from Sharjah Art Foundation runs from November 14 to 21, 2020 in select Sharjah cinemas and online.
Sharjah Art Foundation’s annual film festival, Sharjah Film Platform (SFP) is opening its third edition from November 14 to 21, 2020, with more than 60 short and feature-length films in the narrative, documentary and experimental categories.
Included in the screening programme are the UAE, Middle East and world premieres as well as recent releases by early-career and established local, regional and international filmmakers.
On the opening night, the festival will present the world premiere of Soha Shukayr’s Once Upon a Revolution (2020), one recipient of the Sharjah Film Platform 2020 Short Film Production Grant.
The directors of the other films receiving this year’s grant, Nadira Amrani and collaborators Pelin Tan and Anton Vidokle, will be giving presentations about their films still in production.
The SFP3 films will be screened in the Foundation’s contemporary open-air theatre, Mirage City Cinema, in the historic Al Mureijah neighbourhood; the recently renovated iconic architectural landmark The Flying Saucer; on the big screens in Cinemacity IMAX, Zero 6 Mall, near University City; and online. Mirage City Cinema is a primary venue for film screenings and a public space that furthers the Foundation’s mission of making art inclusive and accessible to all.
The Flying Saucer, which opened to the public earlier this year after an extensive Foundation restoration project, serves as a community space with a number of contemporary additions, including a café and film screening walls in a multi-activity area where audiences can watch films in comfort. Sharjah’s popular shopping mall, Zero 6, will host screenings in the centre’s large movie theatres.
Films will be available to stream on the festival’s virtual platform, film.sharjahart.org, on the day following their cinema presentations. Online festival tickets are 10 AED per screening. The all-access festival pass is 50 AED for unlimited online film screenings throughout the festival period.
This edition of SFP also includes an online programme of talks that will bring together filmmakers, artists, industry professionals and audiences to explore current and contemporary issues in the film industry.
At the end of the festival, a jury of distinguished directors, filmmakers and critics will announce the winners of the best short and feature-length narrative, documentary and experimental films. The winning filmmakers will receive a monetary prize to support the production of future projects.
Jury for Best Narrative Film: Eve Gabereau (Founder & CEO, Modern Films Entertainment), Alice Kahroubi (Cannes Film Corner) and Kerem Ayan (Istanbul International Film Festival).
Jury for Best Documentary Film: John Akomfrah (filmmaker), Iftikhar Dadi (educator and researcher) and Viola Shafik (film theorist).
Jury for Best Experimental Film: Apichatpong Weerasethakul (filmmaker), Delphine Garde-Mroueh (film programmer) and Mounir Fatmi (artist).
This year’s festival advisory committee includes Sandra den Hamer (Director, Eye Film Institute), Maike Mia Höhne (Artistic Director, Hamburg International Short Film Festival) and Richie Mehta (filmmaker).
The festival will also see the Middle East premieres of out-of-competition films, including The Shepherdess and the Seven Songs (2020) by Pushpendra Singh, awarded Best Director in the Young Cinema Competition at the Hong Kong International Film Festival; Eyimofe (This Is My Desire) (2020) by Arie Esiri and Chuko Esiri, nominated for Best First Feature at the Berlin International Film Festival; Epicentro (2020) by Hubert Sauper, awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival; and Noah Land (2019) by Cenk Ertürk, awarded Best Screenplay at the Tribeca Film Festival.
“There is an exceptional community of filmmakers in the UAE and the surrounding region, and through the establishment of Sharjah Film Platform in 2018, we aimed to build on the Foundation’s longstanding support for filmmakers and help bring their work to wider international audiences,” said Foundation director Hoor Al Qasimi. “The substantial developments happening this year—the inclusion of an online screening component for the festival and the launch of the SFP Industry Hub—allow us to build on our commitment to the film by bringing the work of incredible filmmakers from the region straight into the homes of viewers around the world and by creating new infrastructure to support emerging filmmakers and lay the groundwork for more risk-taking, experimental and exceptional films in the years to come.”