The Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth (Siff) has announced an 18-member jury for their 2019 edition.

Featuring Arab and international artists and film experts, the jury will be evaluating entries in Siff’s seven competition categories: Child and Youth Made Film, Student’s Films, GCC + UAE Short Films, International Short Films, Animation Films, Documentary Films and Long Feature Films.

The festival is organised by Funn — the Sharjah-based organisation that promotes media arts learning among children and youth, and will be hosting its seventh edition from October 13 to 18 at Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre (JRCC) in Sharjah.

This year’s jury comprises a diverse group of artists, film directors and social media influencers from 10 countries — UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Egypt, Japan, France, Canada, UK and Syria.

The evaluation criteria will include assessing the film’s idea, objectives, implementation standards, creativity and innovation, presentation, techniques and organisation.

This year’s Siff, held under the theme ‘Films Inspired By Books’, will take place across seven screening venues in Sharjah and Dubai.

A total of 132 films from 39 countries have been selected from a total of 1,454 submissions from 86 countries.

Here are the juries for the seven categories:

Student’s films

Saudi director, Ahmad Al Shayeb, who has to his credit several short documentaries; Emirati actor, short film maker and author, Yaser Al Neyadi; and filmmaker and YouTuber from Bahrain, Omar Farooq, will be the student’s films will be evaluating entries in the student’s films category.

GCC + UAE short films

This category’s jury comprises award-winning actor from Saudi Arabia, Abdul Mohsen Al Nemer; Emirati actor-director, Abdullah Al Junaibi, who won Best Director at the 14th Dubai International Film Festival in 2017; and popular Kuwaiti actors, comedian and director Abdul Rahman Al Aqel. Al Aqel’s theatre performances are hugely popular in GCC and Arab regions.

International short films

Michiko Tachimotom from Japan, president of a multimedia plan for children ‘colobockle’; film critic, Khalid Rabai, who has been working in the fields of cultural journalism and film critique since 1991; Nawaf Al Shobaili, author and actor from Saudi Arabia who is famed for his roles in ‘Wasati’ and ‘Will Somyati Go to Hell?’. Syrian actor Bassel Khayat will bring his experience from both silver and small screens to the jury.

Animation films

Dr Naif Al Mutawa, a Kuwaiti clinical psychologist and award-winning writer; Mohammad Fikree, an Emirati filmmaker and composer; and Carlos De Carvalho, artist, graphic designer and award-winning short films maker from France will be evaluating entries to this category.

Documentary films

Jurors responsible for submissions in this category include award-winning Egyptian journalist, film critic and professor of Media Criticism in Cairo University, Tarek Al Shenawy; Nadir Nahdi from UK, founder of BENI, a YouTube channel highlighting young people from diverse backgrounds; and Julian Carrington, the Distribution Manager at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.

Feature films

Yousry Nasrallah, an Egyptian film maker and film critic; and Nahla Al Fahad, Emirati director and executive producer touted as one of MENA region’s leading documentary makers, will come together to decide the winner of this category.