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Sharjah Art Foundation announces winners of the Sharjah Film Platform 4

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Sharjah Art Foundation has announced the winners of the Sharjah Film Platform 4 (SFP4) awards for outstanding short and feature length films in the experimental, documentary and narrative categories at the annual festival’s closing ceremony on Saturday.

The films submitted for competition were selected from an international open call as well as first and second time filmmakers were juried by leading filmmakers and industry professionals.

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Sharjah Film Platform 4 featured screenings of over 50 films, including world and regional premieres, talks, and masterclasses with award-winning filmmakers as well as workshops for children.

This year’s festival also included two special programs: ‘Director in Focus’ highlighting the work of award-winning Palestinian director Michel Khleifi, and ‘Her Journey,’, presented in partnership with Istanbul Modern, exploring complex, women-centric stories in Turkish cinema through 10 feature-length, documentary and short films.

Competition winners

‘Fire in the Mountains’ by Atjipal Singh won in the category of Best Narrative Feature Film:. The jury celebrated the director’s use of well-crafted storytelling noting that, “the director is painting a portrait of an isolated community where a woman is confronted with corruption and sorcery while struggling to make a better life for her family.”

‘Myth of Manila’ by Janus Victoria was judged the Best Narrative Feature Film. Speaking about the film, the jury appreciated, “the blending of documentary-like scenes with social realist drama in this film that uses dark humor to speak about superstition and the alienation of a woman in Manila during the pandemic.”

‘Dance With A Bullet’ by Dhyaa Joda won the Best Documentary Feature Film award. The jury found this film an unusually strong portrait of a young man forced to leave his homeland and start again in another land commenting that, “it offers a new perspective on the impact of war and migration on the soul. It’s a visually beautiful film, full of emotion and the beauty of dance, which captures the tragedy of the country itself and the pain suffered within each family.”

‘Galb’Elchaouf ‘ by Abdessamad El Montassir won the Best Documentary Short Film award. This film impressed the jury as, “a technically impressive, poetic and thematically coherent short which made full use of the short form. It evokes the mystery and magic of the Sahara Desert, which hides a tragic struggle for freedom. The film-maker captures the connection between the human struggle and the land, and he makes us feel that the desert itself is crying for his people.”

‘The Timekeepers of Eternity’ by Aristotelis Maragkos was judged the Best Experimental Feature Film. The jury were captivated by the appropriation of the 1995 Stephen King TV movie ‘The Langoliers,’ describing the film as, “a visual experiment that turns into a paper nightmare. Combining animation with black/white footage, the strong editing and its visual effects make it a unique cinematic work.”

‘The Sky Oscillates Between Eternity and Its Immediate Consequences’ by Nadim Choufi won in the category of Best Experimental Short Film. The jury described it as, “A visually striking film which takes the complexities of the present to envision a future. The film has a compelling narrative construct and is a daring experiment about the notion of time.”

The jury also awarded Honourable Mentions to: ‘I Bit My Tongue’ by Nina Khada (Documentary Short), ‘Zahorí’ by Marí Alessandrini (Narrative Feature), and ‘The Clocks’ by Ecem Arslanay and Yiğit Tanel Kaçar (Experimental Short).

The jury members were Bani Khoshnoudi (artist and filmmaker); Akosua Adoma Owusu (filmmaker); Talal Derki (filmmaker); Lamia Joreige (artist, filmmaker); Bettina Steinbrügge (Director, Kunstverein In Hamburg); Halil Altindere (artist, filmmaker); Mike Goodridge (film producer); Renata Santoro (Head of Programming, Giornate Degli Autori); and Hala Lotfy (filmmaker).

A jury of filmmakers and industry experts also announced the winner of this year’s Pitching Forum – Yaser Al Neyadi for his script ‘From 8 to 6.’

Al Neyadi was awarded Dh.200,000 to support the production of his feature-length Arabic language screenplay.

The Pitching Forum is a part of SFP’s Industry Hub, which returned for its third year and is supported by Sharjah Media City (SHAMS). The Industry Hub offers filmmakers opportunities to develop their projects, receive production funding and secure vital distribution support for completed films through the Virtual Film Distribution Platform.

Read more: Saudi Arabia’s Film Commission launches strategy to develop film and cinema sector

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