Filmmakers from around the world come together at the Sharjah International Film Festival | Atalayar


The prestigious British director Marc Munden felt as soon as he arrived in Sharjah that something important had to happen at the emirate’s International Film Festival. “It’s a pleasure to see so many young directors here,” said the winner, among a long list of awards and accolades, of the International Emmy for Best Drama Series in 2014. His latest production, The secret garden, was one of six films selected by the organization to premiere in the Arab world. For Munden it was “a fantastic opportunity to discover another culture, share the film with a new audience and test their reaction”.

The Brit was right, something happened in Sharjah. A cast of filmmakers from all over the world gathered here this week with a clear mission: to inspire the hundreds of Emirati children and young people who flocked to cinemas. “By doing this, we are creating a film culture. It is a big step for children to have the opportunity to get closer to this world,” Jordanian screenwriter and director Darin J. Sallam told Atalayar after the presentation of her film, Farhaone of the most promising films of the poster.

PHOTO/NNC- Jordanian director Darin J. Sallam presents his film Farha at the Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Young People (SIFF)

Sallam, who has extensive experience in international events, is positive about the message Sharjah authorities are sending by promoting this type of youth-focused cultural event. “I’m sure many will want to become filmmakers or pursue any industry-related profession after the festival,” she said minutes after emphatically answering questions from a group of young people about her film, which is set at the start of the Nakba (catastrophe) that sparked the Palestinian diaspora in 1948.

Berlin-based Bolivian animator, illustrator and director Matisse González experienced something similar. “I have never seen so many children watch my films,” she enthuses, before explaining how the young girls approached her to ask her questions. “They came to talk to you, ask you for technical details about the film and even debate”, she insists. Like most of the guests, this was his first experience in the Emirates. It was its premiere at the Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Young People (SIFF).

PHOTO/ATALAYAR- Filmmakers Giulio Vita and Matisse González talk about the International Film Festival for Children and Teenagers (SIFF)

Giulio Vita has more shooting. This Italian-Venezuelan filmmaker created a film festival in Calabria that caught the attention of Sharjah authorities. “We met at a festival in France. They’re very curious, they want to know what’s going on in the industry because they want the rest of the world to know about them, but they also want to know about the rest of the world. world”, he explains in a conversation with Atalayar. So I invited them to the festival and they liked it because we have a section for children with Unicef ​​Italy. Thus begins a collaboration that has lasted for two years now.

“I make them a pre-selection of short animated films, especially European ones. I offer a hundred productions, I make them a list with the parameters they give me, very clear and precise parameters. Without explicit content, of course, geared towards children”, specifies the Italo-Venezuelan, who is also asked for the “variety”. This element was particularly visible throughout the festival, not only in the short films category, but also in documentaries and animations There have been productions of all kinds.

PHOTO/ATALAYAR- Awards ceremony of the ninth edition of the Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Young People (SIFF), Sharjah, 15 October 2022

Vita highlights “the prestige” that comes with “working in the arts and being part of the creative class” in the Emirates. “There are plenty of opportunities for Emiratis who want to get started,” she said. Sallam insists on something similar, and that for Sharjah “it is important” to organize this type of event and to promote cinema among young people in order to raise awareness. The emirate has focused on developing culture by creating an international film festival which over time is gaining momentum. “I would love to come back, of course. It’s up to the task,” says Munden.


The International Film Festival for Children and Young People (SIFF) held its closing ceremony on Saturday evening with an awards ceremony at the Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Center on the outskirts of Sharjah. It was the culmination of the ninth edition of the event. The jury, divided into two, one composed of professionals and the other of Emirati children, awarded prizes to the most outstanding productions in the categories of animation, short films, feature films and documentaries, both international and national. Thus ended this year’s festival, which is growing by leaps and bounds.


About Author

Comments are closed.