New awards and workshops mark third Children’s International Film Festival

The Children’s International Film Festival in Dubai begins on April 28 and concludes with a Gala Awards Ceremony on May 7.

A scene from the German film My Friend Raffi. Courtesy MFA + Filmdistribution
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The Children’s International Film Festival returns for its third edition next week in Dubai, with screenings, workshops, a filmmaking competition and more.

It begins on April 28 and concludes with a Gala Awards Ceremony on May 7.

The programme for the event, held in partnership with Dubai Film and TV Commission, Dubai Customs, Nikon and Vox Cinemas, features 56 shorts and feature films from around the world.

Highlights include the German film My Friend Raffi, which sees a hamster take the place of puppies and kittens as a beloved pet in this family adventure; Irish short Rip It Up & Start Again, about an ageing postman's struggles to reach out to his true love; and the wonderfully German-sounding Schwammerlbert (it is actually in English), an animation in which a mushroom seeks a hat. The screenings are at Vox Cinemas, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai.

In preparation for this year’s event, about 20 Nikon School Filmmaking Workshops were conducted for more than 800 students across the country, covering key moviemaking skills.

As well as traditional awards in categories such as best film, actor, director and the annual Nikon prize for Best Movie Poster, the festival has introduced a new category in its filmmaking competition based on Dubai Customs' theme of Together for Better Protection. As part of this, a three-day filmmaking camp was organised for pupils from Kings' School, Al Barsha, where students made a short film, The Flames.

“Our partnership with the Children’s International Film Festival once again this year is key, as the festival is an excellent platform for our future filmmakers to showcase their creativity and talent,” says Jamal Al Sharif, chairman of Dubai Film and TV Commission. “Over the past few years, we have seen a number of innovative films created, and this year is no different. The response from students has been overwhelming, with so many young individuals taking part in the festival.”

The festival founder and director Jyoti Jain, added: “[CIFF] has not only educated and inspired young people in this country, but is also touching lives – many students have already decided to pursue a career in media, production and allied fields.”

• Visit for more information and the full schedule