The fifth edition of SICFF to Kick-off on October 8
- UAE, USA and France submit the largest number of films
- 50 workshops including Walt Disney artists and Game of Thrones visual effects team
- 70 directors walk the red carpet
- 19 members in each judging panel
Sharjah, September 27, 2017: The fifth edition of the Sharjah International Children's Film Festival (SICFF) 2017 will begin on October 8, 2017, 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 October 13, 2017.
The details were unveiled at a press conference organised by FUNN Establishment – Sharjah Media Arts for Youth and Children – this morning (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, as well as representatives from local and regional media.
Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi said that the celebrations in advance of this year's SICFF has 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 emphasised 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 15-31 October, and in Al Thaid, Al Madam, Al Hamyria and Al Bataeh from 5-16 November 2017.
“The Sharjah International Children's Film Festival aligns with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad 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 imaginations 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.
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 artforms, 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 to 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 efforts in fostering talent among youth and nurturing a future generation of artists.”
The fifth edition of SICFF will host 50 training workshops featuring a number of topics on cinema and visual arts. The ‘Game of Thrones' workshop will address how to create and develop 3D characters. It will be conducted by Thomas Kotchera, a visual effect artist at Pixomondo, which was contracted to create the visual effects in the massive hit series from HBO. Another workshop themed ‘Storyboarding and Basic Character Drawing' will be conducted by Josh Staub, Visual Effects Departmental Supervisor at Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Dan Benett, Los Angeles International Children's Film Festival.
A specialist session, ‘The Aesthetics of Photography' workshop will be conducted by Adeeb al-Ani, President of the Arab Union of Photographers.
With the theme ‘Still Motion', another workshop will educate participants on the fundamentals of animation and the different styles and methods of assembling a series of still pictures in one frame, and the importance of organising the shots so that the movement of the characters will appear consistent. The workshop will be conducted by Kawthar Adnan, a specialist in creative animation pictures from Bahrain.
The ‘Time Lapse' workshop will explore the technique of manipulating time and frame rates, and will be conducted by Tatiana Poliektova from Russia and Filippo Rivetti from Australia, who are both nominated for SICFF awards. Another workshop themed ‘Special Effects and Poster Design for Differently-abled People' will be organised under the sponsorship of the Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF).
The FUNN Establishment aims to nurture future generations of creative artists in media and film and promote new works made by the UAE's young filmmakers at international film festivals and workshops worldwide. Its larger goal is to foster talent through events locally and internationally and to form a close-knit network of talented young people who can share experiences and expertise on a global scale.