Sharjah Art Foundation launches programme to boost film production in the UAE

The SFP Industry Hub will be part of the annual film festival Sharjah Film Platform

For young and aspiring filmmakers, taking an idea from script to reality can be daunting. As part of its annual film festival Sharjah Film Platform (SFP), Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) has launched a free programme to help creatives through the process – the SFP Industry Hub.

The foundation held the first SFP in 2018, aimed at advancing film production in the UAE and region through its yearly event that features screenings, talks and workshops.

The SFP Industry Hub includes four main initiatives, each targeting a key step in film production, including Script Lab, a three-week online scripting course, and Pre-Production Strategies Course, which covers preparation for film shoots. Both initiatives are free, though limited spaces require applicants to register in advance with draft scripts.

The Pitching Forum provides professional coaching to filmmakers on how to pitch their film scripts to industry professionals. It will include a live event where participants have the opportunity to present their work to local industry judges. The forum was part of last year’s SFP, and gives a chosen Emirati scriptwriter Dh100,000 to pursue production on his or her feature film.

The final initiative is the Virtual Distribution Market, which is only open to selected filmmakers for this year’s SFP. The participants’ films will be included in a catalogue shown to regional and international industry professionals, including sales agents, distributors, broadcasters and arthouse cinemas. This opens up opportunities for filmmakers to connect with rights holders who might be interested in acquiring rights to their films.

“The SFP Industry Hub supports the work of filmmakers at all stages of their careers through guidance and mentorship focusing on different phases of the production cycle, from scriptwriting to film distribution,” said Noora Al Mualla, director of learning and research at Sharjah Art Foundation, in a statement.

“Through this new professional programme, we hope to give local and regional filmmakers additional resources to sustain their individual practices and catalyse filmmaking in the contemporary art community.”

This year's SFP will take place from Saturday to Saturday, November 14 to 21, in Sharjah. Now in its third iteration, the event will feature more than 60 local, regional and international short and feature-length narrative, documentary and experimental films, which will be screened online and at SAF's open-air Mirage City Cinema.

More information on how to apply to SFP Industry Hub can be found at