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Sharjah Children’s Film Festival to kick off on Oct.8
BY SALMA ALALEM September 27, 2017
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SHARJAH: The fifth edition of the Sharjah International Children’s Film Festival (SICFF) 2017 will begin on Oct.8, with an unprecedented participation of 124 films from 31 countries. The USA, UAE and France have submitted the highest number of entries with 45, 33 and 29 films respectively, most of which will be showcased for the first time in the UAE and around the region. The films will be screened in the presence of 70 international film directors and will dazzle the audience all the way through the conclusion of this year’s event on Oct.13.

The details were unveiled at a press conference organised by FUNN Establishment – Sharjah Media Arts for Youth and Children – on Tuesday at the Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort and Spa, where Sheikha Jawaher Bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, Director of FUNN and SICFF, spoke of the event alongside Dr Habib Ghuloom, Emirati actor, director and member of SICFF’s judging panel and Ola Al Haj Hussin, Corporate Citizenship Manager, Crescent Enterprises – SICFF’s Gold Sponsor. The conference was attended by an elite host of Emirati and Arab superstars, actors and directors, along with representatives from local and regional media.

Sheikha Jawaher Bint Abdullah Al Qasimi said that the celebrations in advance of this year’s SICFF have exceeded all expectations. “The world’s most prestigious and prolific filmmaking nations – represented by renowned directors – are participating in the event, many of them showcasing film premieres. This reflects their belief that children’s films in Sharjah and the UAE have an increasingly impressive international status and that the festival is growing each year in terms of the number of submissions and the quality of the entries, with the UAE, USA and France submitting the largest number of films.”

Sheikha Jawaher Bint Abdullah Al Qasimi stressed that with such a large number of premieres at this year’s festival, all film lovers will have the chance to enjoy a new cinema experience in keeping with SICFF’s aims to bring pioneering filmmaking to the region since it was founded in 2013. Among the premieres are ‘Albion: The Enchanted Stallion’, ‘The Little Vampire’, ‘Window Horses’ and ‘The Big and Little’.

The festival features seven categories, namely: Best Short GCC Film; Best Student-made Film; Best International Short Film; Best Animation Film; Best Documentary Film; Best Feature Film; and Best Child-made Film. Sheikha Jawaher Bint Abdullah Al Qasimi said that in keeping with the commitment of the festival to organise quality events through constant assessment and development, at this year’s edition there will be a dedicated jury for each of the festival’s seven categories, summing up to 19 members of renowned artists, directors, producers, critics and other film specialists.

The participating films will be screened at Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre (JRCC) and Novo Cinema at Sahara Mall in Sharjah, which is open for school students in the morning. The SICFF training workshops will also be held at JRCC, and once the festival concludes, the workshops will continue in Kalba, Dibba Al Hisn and Khorfakkan from Oct.15-31, and in Al Dhaid, Al Madam, Al Hamyria and Al Bataeh from Nov.5-16.

“The Sharjah International Children’s Film Festival aligns with the directives of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council Ruler of Sharjah, and Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs (SCFA). This vision has inspired the initiatives and festivals that stir children’s imagination and nurture their creativity, establishing an environment where cultures meet and differences vanish through the power and energy of visual arts,” said Sheikha Jawaher Bint Abdullah Al Qasimi.

“As one of the leading events committed to developing children’s films in the Arab world, SICFF is consistently reinforcing its presence on a global artistic and cultural platform. The festival is committed to organising quality events and attracting key industry figures through a process of constant review and progress, consequently enhancing FUNN’s message to support the skills of children and young adults, and provide them with the opportunity to discover and hone their talents,” she added.

Deepest emotions

Dr Habib Ghuloom stressed that the arts reflect the deepest emotions in humankind and illustrate a highly advanced level of consciousness and intellectual maturity. He said all art forms, including the film industry, have the ability to unite people and transcend physical and spiritual borders.

“The progress and development of film in recent decades has helped us look at media in a new light, enhancing the realities of cinema and the film industry. Among those extraordinary developments is SICFF and its remarkable achievements in Sharjah, where FUNN continues to stimulate, inspire and encourage new generations, as well as develop their awareness and stir their imagination through cinema.

“SICFF plays a pivotal role in fostering a love of film in children, the fundamental building blocks of our society, and we take pride in honing their skills and talents by nurturing their knowledge and leading them towards creative and innovative fields. We also recognise that the UAE as a whole provides an exceptional environment for these children and young adults to express their dreams and aspirations.”

For her part, Ola Al Haj Hussin said: “The Sharjah International Children’s Film Festival (SICFF) is a unique platform that allows young talent in the UAE to express their creativity to the rest of the world, and to exchange ideas and cultural knowledge. At Crescent Enterprises, we firmly believe in the transformative role of creative arts in encouraging innovation and building our entrepreneurial ecosystem. We are proud to support SICFF’s efforts in fostering talent among youth and nurturing a future generation of artists.”
 

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