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4th edition of the Sharjah Children's Film Festival opens
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 25 - 10 - 2016

Sheikha Jawaher bint Andullah Al Qasimi, Director of FUNN and SICFF inaugurated the 4th edition of the Sharjah International Children's Film Festival today at Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre.
The Middle Eastern premiere of the animated comedy film ‘Trolls', a product of DreamWorks Animation and director Mike Mitchell, opened the festival.
The opening ceremony was attended by Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs, Chairwoman of the Media Zone Authority-Abu Dhabi and twofour54.
Several celebrities also attended including internationally-acclaimed singer and songwriter Sami Yusuf, Egyptian comedy actor Mohamed Henedi, a multitude of filmmakers, members of the jury, and young fans who walked down the green carpet of the festival.
The attendees witnessed a new chapter in the success story of Sharjah, consolidating its status as a beacon of science, culture and art.
The vision of Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and the directives and support of the festival patron,Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi has led to this contemporary haven for cultural development.
This year's festival, which runs until October 28th, features121 films from 33 countries that were carefully selected out of 425 films from 59 different participating countries.
The submissions ranged from short films, feature films, animation, documentaries, and silent films.
The participating motion pictures are primarily aimed at children of different age groups, from under seven to eighteen. The films will be screened at various venues in the Emirate of Sharjah, including JRCC and NOVO Cinemas at Sahara Centre among many other convenient locations.
In her speech, Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, Director of FUNN and Director of SICFF, stated that in a span of only four years, the festivalhas flourished into an internationally-recognised film festival demonstrated by the remarkable participation of 59 countries worldwide.
She said, "The incredible success of this film festival could not have been achieved without the constant support and vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of Supreme Council for Family Affairs – her immeasurable support, ideas and noble goals have contributed to the preparation of a new generation of talented moviemakers in the UAE."
"We are dedicated to developing this festival every year so that it becomes a nucleus for Arab cinema that lives up to the aspirations of our youth and supports their ability to compete globally. This can be achieved by developing the cinematic arts and producing creative films that convey authentic images and positive messages of love and peace to the entire world," she added.
Al Qasimi added that the numerous collaborations at this year's SICFF support important causes, intending to help the youth in the community. She elaborated, "In May of this year, we are proudly partnering with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to support school feeding activities for Syrian refugees in Jordan's Zaatari Camp. The FUNN team screened2015 SICFF films in the camp and also helped camp residents and the UNWFP in preparing snacks for 800 children attendees. Through this effort, we facilitated access to food for children in the Zaatari camp and look forward to repeating this model of partnership with WFP to benefit children worldwide in the future."
In this year's festival, there will also be a special focus on films that depict the lives of Syrian refugees in Lebanon with 11 films made by refugee children scheduled to be screened. "The screening of these refugee films aims to help disenfranchised children that produced films by providing constructive feedback from critics and established professionals in the field. This will encourage them to blossom into stellar filmmakers who show the true reality of their experiences through a film's lens," she remarked.
Jawaher Al Qasimi revealed a newconcept for the fifth edition of next year's SICFF. To allow for unique perspectives of the judgment of the films, the Festival is looking to create a jury composed solely of children and youth. This responsibility gives importance to the opinions of the young generation by granting them a crucial role in the festival. — SG


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