Sharjah Film Platform's 2021 line-up includes 50 screenings and an AR Rahman masterclass

Hybrid festival will screen more than 50 films as well as host public talks and sessions across nine days

The Sharjah Film Platform will be a hybrid event with online and in-cinema screenings. Photo: Sharjah Art Foundation
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Sharjah Film Platform, the Sharjah Art Foundation’s annual film festival, taking place this year from November 19-27, has announced its line-up of more than 50 films, including world and regional premieres. The fourth festival will also host public talks and masterclasses with award-winning filmmakers, workshops for children, and its industry hub that supports the development and distribution of new films.

SFP4 will feature in-cinema screenings of films, submitted either through the festival’s open submissions process or by invitation, culminating in the presentation of awards in the experimental, documentary and narrative categories.

The programme opens with the screening of two films supported by the foundation’s Short Film Production Grant: The Myth of Manila (2021), a film following the trials of a reporter in pandemic-hit Manila by 2021 winner Janus Victoria, and Notes for a Film about Gilgamesh (2022), a work in production by 2020 winners Pelin Tan and Anton Vidokle.

The festival will adopt a hybrid model this year, with several of its films made available simultaneously online while screening in cinemas across Sharjah, including the Sharjah Institute of Theatrical Arts and the open-air Mirage City Cinema in Al Mureijah Square.

The foundation’s Collections Building will host workshops designed to give children hands-on experience with filmmaking essentials while an accompanying film will screen at the Flying Saucer building in Dasman.

Two curated film programmes will also be presented this year: 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 ten 10 feature-length and short films.

Among the cinematic luminaries offering public talks and masterclasses at 2021’s event will be Academy Award-winning composer AR Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours); filmmaker Mohamed Al Daradji, whose multi-award-winning Son of Babylon screened at Sundance and the Berlin International Film Festival, and Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker James Longley (Angels Are Made of Light, Iraq in Fragments, Gaza Strip).

The platform's Industry Hub, a programme offering filmmakers opportunities to develop their projects, also returns for the second year.

Successful participants can receive production funding, support, and vital distribution opportunities through the Pitching Forum, an open call competition for feature-length screenplays; the Script Lab, a professional scriptwriting course, and the Virtual Film Distribution Market, a platform dedicated to supporting regional and international film distribution for short and feature-length films across genres.

The 2021 Industry Hub is supported by SFP4 industry partner Sharjah Media City.

The foundation has also announced 2021’s Short Film Production Grant winners – Maaria Sayed and Mariam Al Serkal for Unveiling Selma (2022), a story about an Emirati woman rediscovering her womanhood; Randa Maroufi for L’Mina (2022), an imaginative depiction of a former mining town in Morocco; and Janus Victoria, whose completed The Myth of Manila opens this year’s event.

Tickets are available online for this year’s programme, ranging from free talks to classes, and starts at Dh20 for a single online screening and Dh120 for a full physical and online festival pass.

The Sharjah Film Platform runs from Friday, November 19 to Saturday, November 27. More information is at

Updated: November 10, 2021, 9:27 AM