FUNN, the Sharjah-based foundation dedicated to promoting media arts for and among children and youth in the UAE, revealed that the 3rd Sharjah International Children's Film Festival (SICFF) will see a qualitative leap in terms of the size and quality of the films and parallel events, to enrich the local film scene, marking a new beginning for the child movie industry in the Middle East.
Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, Director of FUNN and Director of SICFF, emphasised that the unique development and continuous success of the festival would not have been possible without the generous patronage of 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, and her support for the idea of SICFF, which aims to promote media literacy among children and young people and encourage young talent in its quest to create a promising generation of young filmmakers.
The announcement was made at a press conference, which was held yesterday (Monday) at Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry to unveil the details of the 3rd edition of the Sharjah International Children's Film Festival (SICFF), which will take place from October 18th to 23rd.
The conference was held in the presence of Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, and a number of representatives of organisations sponsoring the festival, including Ola Al Haj Hussin, Corporate Citizenship Manager at Crescent Enterprises, the Gold Sponsor of the festival, members of the 2015 SICFF jury, as well as media representatives.
In her speech during the conference, Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi said: "the 2015 SICFF will see a number of unique additions and developments in terms of the topics and quality of participating films, expanding the geographical range of film screenings, as well as the introduction of new events and training programmes and workshops held alongside this year's edition to enrich the local cinema scene and provide it with young creative talents”.
She added: "Every year, we are eager to introduce new initiatives and events, in form and content, to make each edition of the festival bigger and better, in keeping with our commitment to continuously working hard to nurture young talent and encourage professional moviemakers in the child film industry across the UAE and the region to produce high quality films that serve children’s issues and interests, breathing new life into the region's movie scene while developing SICFF to become one of the world's top children's movie events."
Ola Al Haj Hussin, Corporate Citizenship Manager at Crescent Enterprises, the Gold Sponsor of the festival, added: “Crescent Enterprises strongly believes that the arts have the power to shape society. By inspiring innovative thinking, and opening minds to global cultures and creativity, we contribute with our partners to the provision of key requirements for future societies. We are delighted to partner for the second year with SICFF which has firmly established itself as a leading stage for celebrating the youth-related arts and talent, and we are proud to contribute to these efforts.”
Sheikha Jawaher said the 2015 festival will witness the participation of 175 films from 20 different countries, indicating a remarkable growth in the number of participating films compared to 112 films shown during last year. She pointed out that most films focus on issues and topics on children's interest while introducing the audience of cinema to how people see things and events happening around them, including the turbulent conditions in war-torn countries and place of refuge.
With regards to film screenings, Sheikha Jawaher said that the film screenings will be held in the morning and evening at two main venues in Sharjah, namely Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre, and Novo Cinemas at Sahara Centre. The festival will see for the first time the outdoor film screenings at the Sharjah Art Foundation.
On film screenings outside Sharjah, the SICFF Management decided to broaden the geographic scope of film viewings, which will be held for the first time in seven cities, compared to five venues last year, namely Al Dhaid, Khorfakkan, Dibba Al Hisn, Kalba, Al Madam, Al Hamriyah and Al Batayeh.
The film festival will began on October 18 and will continue for six days before it moves to the emirate's seven cities where film screenings will be held in Khorfakkan on October 28th and 29th, then in Dibba Al Hisn on November 4th and 5th, Kalba on November 9t, Al Madam (November 12th), Al Dhaid (November 15th and 16th), Al Hamriyah (November 18th and 19th), and finally in Al Batayeh on November 22nd and 23rd, pulling the curtains down on the third edition of SICFF.
On events designed to be held alongside the festival, this year's new is the Feedback Screening, exclusively for Children filmmakers, SICFF Jury members and film critics. It will include the screening of Child Made Films that are not accepted, and are not included on the SICFF 2015 film programme. The screening of excluded films aims to help children, who made these films, to improve the quality of their films and avoid the mistakes they have done while directing their film, and to get feedback from filmmakers, SICFF jury members, and film critics.
The 2015 SICFF programme will include "Make a Move, Make a Change", which is a special screening of films made by refugee children in Lebanon, and other films made by street and disabled children in Sudan where children tell their stories and express themselves through these films. The films were made during a stop motion animation workshop presented by Diaa Malaeb, a Lebanese animator with the support and coordination of "Save the children, War Child Holland", UNHCR, Child rights institute-Sudan and Nabba.
Another new event during this year's edition is the Filmmaking Camp, a one-week advanced filmmaking workshop which will be organized for talented students who are expected to take the challenge of producing a film within a week. This is besides a number of training courses and workshops on filmmaking.
The festival, the brainchild of FUNN and the first of its kind in the UAE and the region, aims to improve children's and youngsters' understanding of the movie industry and promote their awareness of the techniques that take place behind the silver screen, while unlocking and nurturing their creativity, paving the way for the creation of a new generation of creative filmmaker.