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Two time Academy Award nominee and Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu Assad (Omar, Paradise Now, The Mountain Between Us) will sit on the Sharjah International Children’s Film Festival (SICFF) competition jury, organisers announced on Monday.

Plus, a crew member from the Hollywood fantasy adventure film A Wrinkle in Time (2018) will hold a workshop on the specialist techniques that went into the creation of the movie.

The sixth edition of SICFF will run from October 14 until October 19 at Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre (JRCC).

SICFF IN NUMBERS

The six-day event, themed Think Cinema, will raise the curtain on 138 movies, including 54 premieres. Panel discussions have been introduced for the first time, in addition to more than 40 workshops on filmmaking and the media arts.

The festival will screen a selection of short films to shine a light on the plight of refugees in countries such as Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Sudan and Ethiopia.

SICFF’s longest list of premieres to date includes 12 international, 34 Middle Eastern, seven UAE and one Gulf title.

Festival organisers FUNN — Sharjah Media Arts for Youth and Children made the announcement on Monday morning in the UAE.

“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,” said Shaikha Jawaher Bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, Director of FUNN and SICFF.

PANELS AND WORKSHOPS

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ animator, Brian Ferguson, will speak at a panel session titled Disney World between the Past and the Present. Studio Camera animation artist Simon Medard and Lebanese filmmaker Diaa Mulaeb will speak at Filmmaking with Refugees, highlighting the role of film in documenting their plight. Emirati author and scientist Hamad Al Shehabi, movie critic Mansura Abdul Amir, Bahraini filmmaker Mohammad Ebrahim, and Emirati actor-director Abdullah Al Humairi will also sit on various panels.

Meanwhile, Majid Kids TV will put on three interactive initiatives for young audiences at SICFF, to engage them with backstage television personnel, introduce them to cartoon and animation techniques and participate in Majid Studio auditions to explore voice-over work.

A Wrinkle In Time crew member Sebastian Reichhold will give a workshop on specialised techniques that went into making the film, which stars Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon and the up-and-coming Storm Reid.

Dozens of workshops will also include a Stop Motion for Special Needs and Introduction of Photoshop session.

IN COMPETITION

Entries competing in the SICFF are predominantly American, followed by French and Russian entries. Categories include 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.

Jury members include the aforementioned Abu Assad, Saudi documentary film producer Hana Makki and Bahraini actress Haifa Hussein.

SICFF launched in 2013 to help foster creative talents of children and youth regionally and around the globe.

*SICFF is Dh21 to enter, all inclusive of workshops, panels and film screenings.