65 films will mark their Middle Eastern debut at 9th Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth

SHARJAH, The Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth (SIFF) 2022 has announced a whopping 65 Middle Eastern (ME) premiers that will treat movie lovers to a gorgeous blend of facts and fiction at the region’s only film festival designed exclusively for younger generations, with daily screenings from October 10 - 15 at the Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre (JRCC) as well as popular cinemas in Sharjah and Dubai.

In SIFF’s Child and Youth Made Films category, 10 shorts from Belgium, the UK and Nepal will make their ME debut. Films like ‘Goodbye Earth’ and ‘Say No to Plastics’ feature in this category, and are brilliant cinematic reflections of young directors about the harm adults are causing to the planet as they pursue their selfish motives and interests.

Amongst the 9 Student Films that will be screened in ME for the first time on the SIFF 2022 platform, several high-quality animations from France and an award-winning 2-minute stop motion short ‘Elevator Alone’ by young Greek animator Anastasia Papadopoulou will take viewers on a myriad of journeys encompassing interesting subjects like human behaviour in public vis-a-vis when we are alone, the importance of family bonds, and intergalactic fantasies.

Hailing from countries like Kyrgyzstan, Russia, USA, Uganda, Italy, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, France, 6 International Short Films have made the SIFF 2022 ME premiers list, and showcase moving themes like a child’s determination to learn and succeed against all odds in a film titled ‘Salvador Dali’; and a young misfit who is bullied for being a nurturer in ‘Chicken’. ‘The Silent Echo’ follows a passionate group of teenage musicians in an isolated town in Nepal who bring more than talent to the table to raise funds to participate in a competition; while the Italian production, ‘Sissy’ deals with the theme of loss.

The lion’s share of SIFF 2022 ME premieres has been taken up by 24 Animation Films, which reflects the increasing number of young animators, filmmakers and directors worldwide who are turning to latest film and production technologies to bring their craft of visual storytelling to life. Films from Netherlands, Canada, South Korea, Iran and other nations populate this category and cover a diversity of themes including our increasing dependence on technology, cultural diversity, and workers’ rights, among several others.

Three thought-provoking and touching documentaries are also part of the film festival’s ME premier offerings. For instance, the 2021 production by Iranian director Mahdi Zamanpour, ‘Water, Wind, Dust, Bread’, follows Abolfazl - a young stateless boy who is without both hands, but compensates for this drawback with his big zeal for life. Living in Iran’s remote border region with his companion, an eight-year-old girl named Setayesh, Abolfazl’s friendly disposition is perfect for his occupation of overseeing tourists who visit the area for eco-tourism.

Also on the list are 12 productions in SIFF’s Feature Films category. Presenting an interesting mix from Europe, Asia and beyond, films like ‘Croissant’ from South Korea which revolve around young people caught between reality and ideality as they chase their aspirations, dreams, and desires; and ‘Moon Rock for Monday’ - an endearing story of a terminally ill 9-year-old girl Monday who bumps into a felon, Tyler, and instead of being scared, she forms a beautiful friendship while on a chance adventure together.

Director Maythem Ridha’s Iraq-UK production ‘Ali and his Miracle Sheep’ is the sole ME premier entrant in the GCC Short Film category of SIFF this year. The 26-minute short takes viewers on a thought-provoking journey with Ali, a 9-year-old mute who brings his sheep, Kirmenta, for sacrifice on a 400 kms trip over Iraq's war-ravaged landscapes. Along the way, this miraculous sheep unravels several truths about itself and the realities of a war-ravaged nation.

The 9th annual edition of SIFF, organised by FUNN - Sharjah Media Arts for Youth and Children, will screen 95 films from around 43 countries worldwide. The festival's packed cultural agenda also includes appearances by known industry names including Rasha Rizk, Dixie Igrex, Fadel Al Mheiri, and Waad Al Kateab; discussion panels focused on the film industry targeting youth and children; and SIFF’s first-ever green carpet event which will host 6 special film screenings and bring together filmmakers with their audiences to discuss their creative works.

Source: Emirates News Agency

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