A delegation from the Sharjah International Children’s Film Festival (SICFF) has recently participated in the 68th Cannes Film Festival in France, which concluded last week, with the aim of familiarising international audiences with the burgeoning film industry in the UAE and making use of the global cinematic experience, to contribute to developing the film industry of the UAE.
SICFF was represented by Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, Director of FUNN Foundation, and Director of SICFF, Mariam Al Mualla, Senior Events Coordinator, and Fatima Musharbek, Senior Film Festival Coordinator.
The SICFF team was part of a large UAE delegation that included the Dubai Film and TV Commission, Dubai International Film Festival, Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marking, Abu Dhabi Film Commission, and twofour54, the commercial arm of the Media Zone Authority-Abu Dhabi, who all shared the UAE Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival.
Speaking about her participation, Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi said, “Our participation in the Cannes Film Festival, one of the world’s most important film festivals, was a great chance to connect with different international filmmakers, producers, distributers, and production companies and institutes, and the team was able to discuss future plans with representatives from various international film festivals and institutes, which will lead to productive results in the coming years.”
She added, “The Cannes Film Festival offered us a precious opportunity to make the best use of such a global movie extravaganza that provides us with an ideal platform to promote local film festivals, particularly the Sharjah International Children’s Film Festival, while networking and connecting with industry leaders, including filmmakers, directors and producers. This will help enhance the UAE presence in world film forums.”
On the sidelines of its participation, the SICFF team attended screenings of a number of complete and incomplete (in production) children’s films, both animated and feature, and conducted a range of meetings with filmmakers, producers, distributors and production companies.
The team met Lieutenant Colonel, Faisal Alshammari, Vice President of the UAE Ministry of Interior Cinema Awards Committee, and discussed promising future plans with a focus on the MOI Cinema Awards, as the SICFF team is considering adding this award in the near future, especially due to the fact that it is made to honour Child Protection films.
The SICFF team also met different UAE filmmakers such as Nawaf Al Janahi, Nayla Al Khaja, Ali Mustafa, and Khalid Al Mahmood, as they discussed the status and promising future of the UAE film industry.
SICFF’s other activities included attending a several reception gatherings in Cannes such as the Doha Film Institute Reception, where representatives met Qatari filmmakers, producers and the Giffoni Film Festival team. The team also attended a lunch hosted by the Dubai International Film Festival, where they met Abdulhameed Jumah, Director of DIFF, along with different filmmakers, producers, and production companies.
SICFF representatives attended an exclusive screening in Cannes organised by the Dubai Film Market in partnership with the Marché du Film, titled ‘Discover the Next Big Arab Films’, which included five work-in-progress films from the Arab world. They also witnessed the premiere of the feature film ‘Carol’, starring Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara and Kyle Chandler. Rooney Mara received an award for Best Actress for her role in ‘Carol’ in the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.
The SICFF team introduced their festival to members of the Arab Cinema community, and encouraged Arab filmmakers to start producing films for children.
The Palme d’Or was awarded to Jacques Audiard for his film ‘Dheepan’, while Lebanese filmmaker Ely Dagher won the Palme d’Or award for his short film ‘Waves ’98’ at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.