Robust line-up of screenings, talks, and workshops lined up at Sharjah Film Platform

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The countdown to Sharjah Film Platform 3 has begun with only nine days left until the launch of this annual film festival scheduled to take place from November 14–21, 2020.

The Sharjah Film Platform (SFP) provides a vital platform for emerging and established filmmakers from across the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and around the world.

The 2020 edition of SFP presents a robust line-up of film screenings -- featuring over 60 short and feature-length films from around the world -- online and in cinemas in Sharjah, including award-winning films as well as new and never-before-seen films.

The 2020 Edition Includes Middle East Premieres and critically acclaimed films, awards presented by a distinguished jury and a new initiative supporting film in the MENASA region.

Alongside these screenings, SFP3 features an exciting program of talks and discussions on topics in contemporary film led by acclaimed filmmakers, and awards for the best documentary, experimental and narrative films.

There will also be fun hands-on workshops for adults and children.

Middle East premieres

The festival will see the Middle East premieres of the films The Shepherdess and the Seven Songs (2020) by Pushpendra Singh, awarded Best Director in the Young Cinema Competition at the Hong Kong International Film Festival; Eyimofe (This is My Desire) (2020) by Arie and Chuko Esiri, nominated for Best First Feature at the Berlin International Film Festival; Epicentro (2020) by Hubert Sauper, awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival; and Noah Land (2019) by Cenk Ertürk, awarded Best Screenplay at the Tribeca Film Festival.

New initiative - the Industry Hub

This year, the Foundation is broadening Sharjah Film Platform programming with the launch of the Industry Hub, a new initiative that aims to support film production and distribution in the MENASA region.

The SFP Industry Hub program consists of four initiatives: Script Lab, an immersive online scriptwriting course; Pre-Production Strategies, a professional training course on how to prepare for a film shoot; Pitching Forum, a coaching and pitching event for Emirati scriptwriters, who will have an opportunity to compete for Dh 100,000 to turn a script into a feature film; and Virtual Film Distribution Market, a new online initiative in which SFP filmmakers can showcase their films to prospective buyers, distributors and programmers.

Running from October 25, 2020 to 16 January 16, 2021, the Industry Hub is supported by SFP3 industry partner Sharjah Media City (Shams).

Silvina Der Meguerditchan, ‘The Wishing Tree,’ 2017. Digital video, Color, sound; 35 minutes. (Courtesy of the Artist)
Silvina Der Meguerditchan, ‘The Wishing Tree,’ 2017. Digital video, Color, sound; 35 minutes. (Courtesy of the Artist)

“There is an exceptional community of filmmakers in the UAE and the surrounding region, and through the establishment of Sharjah Film Platform in 2018, we aimed to build on SAF’s longstanding support for filmmakers and help bring their work to wider international audiences,” said SAF President and Director Hoor Al Qasimi.

“The substantial developments happening this year -- the inclusion of an online screening component for the festival and the launch of the SFP Industry Hub -- allow us to build on our commitment to film by bringing the work of incredible filmmakers from the region straight into the homes of viewers around the world and by creating new infrastructure to support emerging filmmakers and lay the groundwork for more risk-taking, experimental and exceptional films in the years to come.”

This year’s advisory committee to the festival are Sandra den Hamer (Eye Film Institute Director), Maike Mia Höhne (Artistic Director, Hamburg International Short Film Festival), and Richie Mehta (filmmaker).

Award ceremony

At the conclusion of the festival, SAF will present awards to outstanding films in the experimental, documentary and narrative categories.

The jury members include John Akomfrah (filmmaker), Kerem Ayan (Director, Istanbul International Film Festival), Iftikhar Dadi (teacher and researcher), Mounir Fatmi (artist), Eve Gabereau (Founder and CEO, Modern Films Entertainment), Delphine Garde-Mroueh (film programmer), Alice Kahroubi (Cannes Film Corner), Viola Shafik (film theorist) and Apichatpong Weerasethakul (filmmaker).

Films will be screened at The Flying Saucer, Sharjah Art Foundation’s iconic space-age landmark; the open-air Mirage City Cinema in the historic Al Mureijah neighborhood; and CINEMACITY IMAX in Zero 6 Mall near University City.

The films will also be available to watch online from the comfort of home.

Tickets are now available on the festival’s online platform and at the box office in all the screening venues.

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