The Sharjah Art Foundation's third annual film festival, the Sharjah Film Platform, will kick off its programme this month, with more than 60 titles scheduled for screenings.
The line-up, which comprises showings online and in cinemas, will include award-winning films such as The Shepherdess and The Seven Songs (2020) by Indian filmmaker Pushpendra Singh, winner of Best Director in the Young Cinema Competition at this year's Hong Kong International Film Festival.
Also screening at the festival, which will take place from Saturday, November 14 to Saturday, November 21, is 2020's Eyimofe (This is My Desire) by Nigerian twins Arie and Chuko Esiri, which earned a Best First Feature nomination at the Berlin International Film Festival, as well as Epicentro (2020) by Austrian filmmaker Hubert Sauper, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
Sharjah Film Platform will open with the premiere of Soha Shukayr's Once Upon a Revolution, a short film supported by the foundation's production grant, and will also present the work of other beneficiaries from this year's grant, including Nadia Amrani, Pelin Tan and Anton Vidokle.
"There is an exceptional community of filmmakers in the UAE and the surrounding region, and through the establishment of Sharjah Film Platform in 2018, we aimed to build on SAF’s longstanding support for filmmakers and help bring their work to wider international audiences," said Hoor Al Qasimi, director of the Sharjah Film Platform, in a statement.
In addition to screenings, the platform has also launched a new initiative called Industry Hub that aims to support film production and distribution in the Menasa region.
Running until Saturday, January 16, 2021, the initiative will include four main components: an immersive online scriptwriting course; a professional training course on how to prepare for a film's pre-production; a coaching and pitching event for Emirati scriptwriters, who will have the opportunity to compete for Dh100,000 ($27,000) to turn a script into a feature film; and a virtual distribution market, at which filmmakers can showcase their work to prospective buyers, distributors and programmers.
"The substantial developments happening this year allow us to build on our commitment to film by bringing the work of incredible filmmakers from the region straight into the homes of viewers around the world and by creating new infrastructure to support emerging filmmakers and lay the groundwork for more risk-taking, experimental and exceptional films in the years to come," Al Qasimi added.
Screenings will take place at the foundation’s open-air Mirage City Cinema, the emirate's recently renovated Flying Saucer and Cinemacity Imax at Zero 6 Mall in Sharjah, while online screenings will be hosted on the foundation's dedicated website.
The Sharjah Film Platform will also have an online programme of talks and panel discussions with filmmakers and industry professionals, which are free to the public.
The festival will close by awarding the best films in the experimental, documentary and narrative categories, as judged by an international jury of industry experts.
Tickets are available on the festival's website and at screening venues. Talks and workshops, which are free to attend, will also be available on the festival's website but registration is required.
Tickets cost Dh10 per online screening, Dh20 per screening at one of the venues, and an online all-access festival pass is Dh50.
To book tickets and see the full programme, visit film.sharjahart.org