Sharjah International Film Festival looks to inspire and educate young people

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The lights went up in style for the 10th edition of the Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Young People, which marked three world premieres, as well as the regional premiere of 43 films.

With representation from 37 countries the festival’s Director, Sheikha Jawaher Bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, told Euronews why the festival is unique. 

“We’re not looking at it as a red carpet kind of propaganda, you know, lights and, you know, action and superstars walking on,” she explained. 

“It’s mostly about inspiration, education, how to teach those children in the film industry, how to become from scriptwriters to directors to actors.”

Sheikha Jawaher Bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, Director of FANN and SIFF

This year’s opening film was an animation called Zoo from director Tariq Al-Rimawi and the subject matter couldn’t be more pertinent. It’s the story of a young boy set against the backdrop of conflict in Palestinian Territories. 

“From my perspective, animation and film in general is not just for entertainment. It’s also to deliver messages of love, peace and hope, especially about like for those children who live in a certain area, especially in Gaza and Palestine,” says Al-Rimawi. 

Tariq Al-Rimawi, Film Director

The festival organisers were in agreement that they should not dumb down on subjects. “They [children] ask a lot of questions, so the films that they watch should answer these questions… we do not sugarcoat it anymore because if we do, they’ll watch it somewhere else,” added Sheikha Al Qasimi.

The festival exposes the cultures of the world and offers audiences an understanding of how these cultures, religions and backgrounds live together. There’s a strong emphasis on encouraging local

UAE filmmakers to contribute and to make films for young people. In addition, attendees are invited to learn of a variety of professional skills in a series of expert-led workshops which run on the periphery of the week-long festival from discovering the art of storytelling to special effects makeup classes

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