Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth
Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth Image Credit: Supplied

The 9th edition of the Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth (SIFF) will be held from October 10 to 15 at the Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre and will bring 95 diverse stories that shape children's lives.

During a press conference held in Dubai on September 19, SIFF stakeholders said the festival will observe the theme ‘Think Film’ and will feature a series of discussion panels and activities, including a Green Carpet event showcasing six select films.

A number of titles, premiering for the first time in the Middle East and showcasing universal stories that encapsulate the themes of childhood, will also play out during this festival.

Director of SIFF, Sheikha Jawaher Bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, pointed out that 30 films will mark their Middle East debut, while 11 films will have their premiere in the GCC region. She also added that the event will be a platform for festival goers to to attend several discussion panels focused on the film industry and targeting youth and children. These include ‘Why do we visit festivals’, ‘Palestine: Forging connections through cinema’, and ‘Who’s Buying My Film?’.

Sheikha Jawaher Bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, Director of FUNN and SIFF
heikha Jawaher Bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, Director of FUNN and SIFF Image Credit: Supplied

A number of educational and entertainment activities will also be held at the FUNN Port, including ‘Explore Studio’ where participants will learn filmmaking by watching other movies. At the ‘Experience Station’, children and youth can create their first film while an interactive session titled ‘A short film inspired by me’ will be held at the ‘Entertain Zone’.

Eminent guests and speakers

A distinguished group of guests and speakers, including actors Syrian singer-songwriter Rasha Rizk, English actress Dixie Igrex, Emirati director Fadel Al Mheiri, and Syrian journalist and filmmaker and SIFF juror, Waad Al-Kateab. In addition, SIFF will host a 19-member jury committee, which includes Omani actress Buthaina Alraesi, Emirati filmmaker Hani Al Shaibani, Kuwaiti writer Heba Hamada, Emirati director Nawaf Al Janahi, and Emirati writer Masoud Amralla.

“Films are born from an idea that transforms into a vast and comprehensive world of its own. Filmmakers have given humanity an invaluable heritage and a legacy of works that have been entrenched in people’s minds throughout the ages ... As a member of the GCC short films category jury committee, I appreciate the efforts of SIFF to highlight youth’s cinematic capabilities. The festival and its awards have helped discover talents and supported their passions to produce vibrant works that both appeal to the public and receive the nomination of jury committees,” said filmmaker Hani Al Shaibani at the press conference.

Green Carpet

SIFF will also organise a Green Carpet event that brings together filmmakers with their audiences to discuss their creative works. Films screened at the Green Carpet event include ‘The Secret Garden’, ‘Croissant’, and ‘The Electrical Life of Louis Wain’ at Vox Cinema Al Zahia, and ‘Farha’, ‘The Neighborhood Storyteller’, and ‘Paper Flower’ at Al Jawaher Reception & Convention Centre.