‘Born a King’ star to attend Sharjah film fest for kids - GulfToday

‘Born a King’ star to attend Sharjah film fest for kids


The film, about Prince Faisal’s trip to London when he was 13 years old, premiered in the UAE last month.

From The Jungle Book’s Neel Sethi to The Room’s Jacob Tremblay, top young actors from around the world have made celebrity appearances at every edition of the Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth (SIFF).

Eighteen-year-old Abdullah Ali, who has played the lead role in Saudi Arabia’s first big feature film, ‘Born a King’, is coming to the film festival this year, which begins today, Sunday. At the opening of SIFF’s 7th edition, Ali will talk about his cinematic experience in a film aimed at introducing the younger generations to the character of King Faisal, and its impact on the history of Saudi Arabia and the Arab and Islamic world for more than half a century.

The film, about Prince Faisal’s trip to London when he was 13 years old – a trip which laid the foundations for the formation of Saudi Arabia – premiered in the UAE last month.

Ali plays the role of the young Saudi prince in the film, and has become a regional and global symbol for his country’s recent breakthrough expansion of the entertainment industry.

Saudi Arabia, after France, topped the list of countries participating in the festival that will screen a total of 132 films from 39 countries at the Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre (JRCC) in Sharjah, and other locations in Dubai and Sharjah. Among these are 12 world premieres and 11 UAE premieres.

SIFF, organised by FUNN – Sharjah Media Arts for Youth and Children – is the region’s only festival designed to bring international films and new media content exclusively to children and youth. The festival seeks to inspire young talents to pursue filmmaking by learning from the industry’s most creative and inspirational filmmakers who come to the event.

SIFF 2019 is one of the most anticipated cultural events being organised by Sharjah this year in celebration of its recognition by Unesco as World Book Capital 2019. The film festival’s main focus this year will be on book-inspired cinema, to show young audiences the role of literature in shaping and nurturing the arts, especially films.

Sheikha Jawaher Bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, Director of FUNN and SIFF, said: “We are excited to raise the curtain on the seventh edition of SIFF, which has grown to become one of the most anticipated events in the region for audiences and filmmakers alike. We launched a platform six years ago with a goal to educate children and youth of UAE about film and cinema, inspire their imagination and promote intellectual development through their consumption of quality content. Today, the festival has transformed into this exceptional artistic space capable of changing the local and Arab film scene, through its offerings.

Al Qasimi added: “The event follows the directives of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, which stresses on the meaningful inclusion and representation of children and youth in society, and his belief that enlightened individuals play a key role in the development of their societies. To this end, we call on the UAE’s young community to come enjoy SIFF and experience the power of cinema to unleash their creativity. Come explore the infinite creative possibilities offered by the filmmaking industry.” 

Speaking about the theme of this year’s film festival, she said, “Many of the Arabic and international film masterpieces have been inspired by books. Films based on literary classics have the power to connect with audiences across generations.  Books will always inspire all forms of arts.”

She added, “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.”

The SIFF director announced a three-fold increase in the number of films submitted this year. A total of 132 films from 39 countries have been selected from a total of 1,454 submissions from 86 countries, across seven categories.

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