Sharjah Art Foundation
Screening of A Night of Knowing Nothing, 2021. Director: Payal Kapadia. Sharjah Film Platform 5, Mirage City Cinema, 2022. Image courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation. Image Credit: Shanavas Jamaluddin

Sharjah Art Foundation announces the programme for its annual film festival Sharjah Film Platform (SFP), returning this December to spotlight independent cinema and experimental filmmaking. The festival’s sixth edition features a diverse range of screenings, including nearly 40 short and feature-length international films competing for the Sharjah Film Platform Awards, as well as special screenings of notable works from and around the region.

Each film screening will be followed by an in-person Q&A session with the filmmaker. A series of talks and panel discussions, focused on ideas of solidarity and resistance, will be presented in parallel with the film screenings.

Running from 8 to 17 December 2023, SFP6 will take place at the Mirage City Cinema, the open-air theatre in Sharjah’s historical quarter and the Sharjah Institute of Theatrical Arts. This edition of SFP will also screen films at VOX Cinemas in City Centre Al Zahia, offering premium experiences to independent cinema enthusiasts in the region.

More details on this year’s programme follow below.

In competition film screenings

SFP6 will feature nearly 40 films competing for awards in short and feature-length fiction and documentary categories. All eligible films were produced within the last two years and are making their UAE premiere; several of these films have already garnered international acclaim. Opening with Khaled Jarrar’s documentary Notes of Displacement (2023), the lineup also includes Cannes Film Festival award-winner Goodbye Julia (2023) by Mohamed Kordofani, and Locarno International Film Festival award-winner Mulika (2022) by Maisha Maene, among others.

For this year’s edition, an international group of industry professionals individually nominated 10 films in documentary or fiction categories, with the final selection determined by the Foundation. This year’s nominators include: on

In addition to the nominated films, this section of the festival also includes the world premieres of four films that were awarded the Foundation’s Short Film Production Grants.

Sharjah Film Platform Awards will be awarded to four films, based on genre and length: Documentary Feature, Documentary Short, Fiction Feature and Fiction Short. Winners will be deliberated and determined by an international jury comprised of industry professionals.

Special sreenings

SFP6 also includes special screenings of the fiction feature Inshallah a Boy (2023) directed by Amjad Al Rasheed’s and the documentary feature Machtat (2023) by Sonia Ben Slama, both of which articulate women’s struggle.

This section also includes the Director in Focus programme, which foregrounds established filmmakers who have contributed to the film culture of the region and beyond. This year, Sharjah Film Platform honours Senegalese filmmaker Safi Faye (1943–2023), who was the first female African director to garner international fame. Faye made her directorial debut with the short film La Passante (The Passerby) (1972). Her debut film—award-winning Kaddu Beykat (Letter from My Village) (1976) which premiered at the Berlinale Forum in 1976—is considered the first feature film by a female director from sub-Saharan Africa. In 2017, she was inducted into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The festival will celebrate her legacy by showing three of her films: Fad’jal (Newcomer, Work!) (1979), Kaddu Beykat (Letter from my Village) and Man Sa Yay (I, Your Mother).

Public programme

Running alongside the film screenings is a diverse programme of talks that extends dialogue around the films and the industry at large. The programme includes an extensive slate of director Q&As and talkbacks, panels and discussions as well as opportunities to meet the directors and creative teams.

Partners and supporters

Organised by Sharjah Art Foundation, SFP6 has been made possible with the generous support of Ministry of Culture and Youth, Sharjah Media City Free Zone (Shams), Air Arabia and VOX Cinemas.