Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, Director of Sharjah International Children's Film Festival – SICFF, has emphasised that the former edition of SCIFF achieved an impressive success as regards the number of participants and audience.
"Based on these achievements, we began preparations early to organise the next edition of the festival, which is expected to be bigger in volume, contributions, film displays and associated events," she said.
Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, who is also the Director of FUNN, the Sharjah-based organisation dedicated to promoting media arts among children and youths in the UAE, added that the coming edition of SCIFF to be held in 2016, will include more associated events, workshops, and training programs. In addition, programs will be extended to involve university students and teachers in order to promote educational use of films and media, within the framework of the endeavour to launch a new beginning of the children film in the Middle East.
She pointed out that SCIFF achieved great success in its earlier editions thanks to the generous patronage of H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs. She asserted that the festival translates the vision of Her Highness into sponsorship of young talents in order to create a promising generation of young Arab filmmakers. It also seeks to encourage professional directors and those working in the field of children films in the UAE, and the Gulf region at large, to produce qualitative films that address children's issues and interests. This will help to develop the SCIFF so as to become one of the best children's film demonstrations in the world.
The 3rd edition, which was held from 18 to 23 October, witnessed participation by 175 films from approximately 48 countries, including films that had won international awards. The circle of participating film displays was extended to cover seven cities in the Emirate of Sharjah, namely Al Dhaid, Khor Fakkan, Kalba, Al Madam, Diba Al Hosn, Al Hamriya and Al Batayeh, in addition to the main displays in Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre, Novo Cinemas in Sahara Centre, as well as the external displays that were held for the first time at Sharjah Art Foundation, Almajaz Waterfront and Al Qasba.
The film displays that were organised in Sharjah city, and the other films that were displayed in the seven cities of the Emirate of Sharjah, won great interaction from the public who were eager to watch the films and follow up the SCIFF proceedings. This was reflected in the increase of visitors to over 23 thousand, in comparison with 2014 edition. A number of visits by SCIFF bus were organised to some external areas, like Almajaz Waterfront, Zabeel Park, Box Park and some schools in Sharjah and Dubai in order to introduce the students to SCIFF and increase their awareness of the importance and role of the cinema in the creation of emotional awareness, enhancement of cultural exchange among nations and the inculcation of the culture of respect for others.
Moreover, the 3rd edition of SCIFF included setting up a training camp for filmmaking that lasted for one week. Talented students engaged in film direction in an intensified workshop that was concluded by a short film produced by the students. Besides, a large number of programs, training courses, interactive activities and specialised filmmaking workshops were organised.
SCIFF also included a special display of a number of films that were produced by children refugees in Lebanon, along with other films that described the suffering of a number of street children and children of special needs in Sudan who spoke about their own lives and experiences. These films were produced in the context of the Cartoon Workshop, using the motion pause technique introduced by the Lebanese Artist, Dia Malaeb, who is specialised in cartoons, in cooperation and coordination with ‘Save Children' Organisation of the UNITED Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and Children Rights Institute in Sudan and Nuba.
Among the major events in which SCIFF participated in 2015 was its outstanding presence in the 12th edition of Dubai International Film Festival that was held from 9 to 16 December. The aim was to benefit from the experience of Dubai Festival, which is an important platform for filmmakers and Arab talents to become prominent on the international level.
In July 2015, SCIFF delegation participated the 68th edition of The Cannes Film Festival in order to acquaint the international audience with the achievements of the prosperous filmmaking industry in the UAE, as well as to see and benefit from the international film experiences so as to develop the UAE promising film experience.