Organisers of the Sharjah International Children's Film Festival (SICFF 2018) have announced the agenda of the sixth edition of the festival dedicated to bringing young people and movies together, which begins on October 14.
Themed “Think Cinema”, the six-day cinematic extravaganza, which continues until October 19 will play out at the Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre (JRCC), and will bring 138 films by local, regional and international directors to the festival audience.
This will include its longest-ever list of premiers with 54 films, consisting 12 international, 34 Middle Eastern, 7 UAE and 1 Gulf premiers. The organisers also revealed details of the workshops and first ever panel discussions to be held, the SICFF awards panel and also discussed how the festival will spotlight films with refugee children.
The details of SICFF 2018 were revealed at a press conference in Sharjah on Monday, held at Cinema City in Zero 6 Mall and hosted by festival organiser, FUNN – Sharjah Media Arts for Youth and Children.
The event will also feature an extensive programme over 40 specialised workshops, interactive sessions, and appearances by celebrated industry professionals, including filmmakers, directors, cinematographers and artists – all designed to ignite the imagination of young film enthusiasts, act as a platform where they can have new creative experiences, and increase their know-how of films and the media arts in general.
During the press conference, FUNN reiterated its commitment to encouraging young filmmaking talent in the UAE, enhancing film and media arts literacy, advancing the artistic taste of youngsters and inspiring them to know more about cinematographic techniques and skills. FUNN also asserted that it will keep children and young people in the region up-to-date with the most important and latest movies targeting them, in order to enable them to participate in shaping the future of this vital industry in the Arab world.
Unveiling the details of SICFF 2018, Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, Director of FUNN and SICFF, said: “The festival will bring together an impressive galaxy of promising talents from around the world who have chosen SICFF as a platform to showcase their work and introduce their countries’ cultures to a global audience.
“With our longest-ever premiers list comprising 54 films, SICFF’s selections this year will lay special focus on the plight of refugees. We take immense pride in offering Sharjah’s screen to these films – an emirate that is recognised globally for its leading efforts to develop culture and creativity in people. Our festival could not have seen the light of day if it weren’t for the patronage and unfailing encouragement offered by His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and his wife, Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi.”
She added: “We believe that art is key to enriching the personalities and perceptions of young people, and that the ideas presented in films are strong catalysts that fire up children’s imaginations and develop their ability to discover beauty.”
Panel Discussions for the first time: The SICFF director revealed that the festival is organizing panel discussions for the first time. They will be delivered by internationally-acclaimed industry experts and professionals. Among them is Walt Disney Animation Studios’ animator, Brian Ferguson, who will speak at a session titled ‘Disney World between the Past and the Present’.
Another session, ‘Filmmaking with Refugees’ will bring together animation artist Simon Medard from Studio Camera, etc., and Lebanese filmmaker, Diaa Mulaeb, who will highlight the role of films in documenting the plight of refugees. The session, ‘Cinema now and then’ will host Emirati author and scenarist, Hamad Al Shehabi, and Bahraini filmmaker, Mohammed Ibrahim, a board member at the Bahrain Cinema Club and Head of the Special Film Screenings Committee. Journalist and movie critic, Mansura Abdul Amir has also confirmed participation.
Emirati actor, producer and director, Abdullah Al Humairi will shed the spotlight on the important topic of the impact of social media on the film industry, the challenges in filmmaking via social media platforms. Al Humairi was at the press conference, where he said: “As we approach the sixth edition of SICFF, which furthers the cultural vision of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, and his wife, Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi, we look forward to phase in Sharjah’s and the UAE’s efforts to promote the power of visual arts, particularly film, and offer it to the young generations as a way of enriching their lives.”
He added: “Since its inception in 2013, SICFF has opened a window for Emirati and Arab children to look through it into various cultures. The festival, the first-of-its kind event dedicated for Arab children, aims to nurture a new generation of creative artists who can enrich the Arab cultural landscape with creative work.”
Mariam Al Serkal, Chairperson of the Majid Kids TV, said: “Majid Kids TV, under the umbrella of Abu Dhabi Media (ADM), is dedicated to providing purposeful content suitable for young audiences. It takes the elements of innovation, diversity and entertainment into consideration to reach out to all segments of community.”
“We have partnered with SICFF as the festival’s objectives are in perfect alignment with ours. We seek to ensure that children and young adults are offered the training they need to contribute to the world, by enabling them to face the past-paced cultural and intellectual changes” she added.
Majid Kids TV is bringing three interactive initiatives for young audiences at SICFF, which will engage them with backstage TV personnel, introduce them to the techniques of cartoon and animation, and participate in auditions at the Majid Studio to test their vocal capabilities and learn about the techniques of voice-over performance. Finally, The Lost Diamond Mystery activity will help improve their problem solving and critical thinking skills.
40+ workshops: Stop motion for special needs people, cinema tricks, 3D films, special effects, photoshop, and more.
SICFF 2018 is organising over 40 workshops to open up the wonderful world of movie-making to creative young minds. The ‘Stop Motion for Special Needs’ workshop will be delivered by Sahar Abdullah, an expert in the field. Visual effects artist and crew member of the Walt Disney film, “A Wrinkle in Time”, Sebastian Reichhold, will present a 3D films workshop. He will also be speaking at a session to reveal the specialised techniques that went into making the film.
The ‘Introduction to Photoshop’ workshop will be hosted by Mahmoud Al Hassan, member of the Emirates Falcons Photography Society, and Ryan Palis will bring cool photography tricks to the young audience. Filmmaker Ghassan Abdullah will be teaching cinema tricks, and Farouk Hassan, a specialist in cinematic visual effects, will conduct a workshop on special makeup effects.
Refugee children under spotlight: The festival will screen a selection of short films based on the lives and struggles of refugees in a number of countries such as Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Sudan and Ethiopia. Some of these films have been directed by filmmakers with support from UNICEF and UNHCR, while some others have been directed by refugee children themselves.
International participation in SICFF Awards: The US has the maximum number of entries competing for the SICFF Awards, followed by France and Russia. The festival features seven award categories, including Best Short Arab Film, Best Student-made Film, Best International Short Film, Best Animation Film, Best Documentary Film, Best Feature Film, and Best Child-made Film.
Submitted films will be evaluated by an independent jury featuring Arab and international film experts, critics and media personalities, renowned artists, directors and producers. Some of the names include Saudi documentary films producer Hana Makki, Bahraini actress Haifa Hussein, Palestinian filmmaker and producer Hani Abu Assad, film animator Brian Ferguson, movie critic Mansura Abdul Amir, and animator Simon Medard.
Local and international sponsors: The festival sponsors include Crescent Enterprises and Gulftainer (Gold Partner), Tilal Properties (Silver Partner), Government of Sharjah and Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (Bronze partners), OSN, FUJIFILM, INSTAX, Sharjah Airport and Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Support sponsors), Emirates, BMW AGMC (Official Carrier) and Majid Kids TV (Official Children TV Partner).
Festival partners: SICFF’s media partners include Sharjah Media Corporation (Media Partner), and Sharjah Government Media Bureau (Strategic Media Partner). Al Majaz Waterfront, Last Exit Dubai, Al Zorah, Cinema City IMAX and JRCC (Venue Partners), Centro (Hospitality Partner), and the Union of Arab Photographers, Emirates Photographers Society, Ajyaal, Nikon School and Third Eye Photo and Media Production are education partners.