Sharjah International Children’s Film Festival (SICFF), running from October 23 to 28 at JRCC and Novo Cinemas, boasted its most impressive line-up of films yet, showcasing the depth and breadth of cinema from around the world. The selection this year covered over 69 titles mainly from India, the US, Germany, the UK, Britain and Portugal, and the film festival provided viewers an opportunity to watch shorts, full-length movies and documentaries from independent filmmakers across the globe.
The films showcased at SICFF 2016 were not only intellectually stimulating, but also created meaningful experiences for the viewers. The festival covered different aspects of human behaviour, feelings and emotions through the use of subtle cinematic techniques and production methods. However, it was the films’ beautiful amalgamation of culture and new beliefs that provoked the most interest among audiences.
Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, Director of FUNN and of SICFF, explained, “Films are not just about entertainment; they allow us to see the world through the perspective of others, and this not only creates empathy but also speaks to our own lives in a variety of ways. While some of the films may surprise and entertain us, others may inspire us to seek the morally-right approach. This year’s programme, a trove of best-in-class movies with cult, curious and
hidden gems, reveal a cinema culture that is not just evolving, but also growing. There is more imagination and invention and it’s a delight to see such quality cinema being showcased at the Sharjah International Children’s Film Festival. What started as a local, home-grown concept has transformed into a world-wide platform, with talented filmmakers coming to realise the potential SICFF has to offer.”
All the films screened this year demonstrated confidence and proficiency in the elements of cinema. However, it was Laura Seixas’ ‘Belonging’ – which reflects the true meaning of friendship and the importance of communication – that touched the hearts of the audiences. ‘I Am Sami’, by Kae Bahar was another heart-warming film that captures the struggles of a young boy living in a war zone.
‘Imaginapped’, directed by Stian Hafstad from USA, beautifully explores the depth of human emotions through the adventures of a girl’s imaginary friend. ‘Prince Alfred’ by Mingus Ballhaus fascinated the audience through its intriguing story-line that highlights the tale of a boy who misses school because he overslept, followed by his adventurous journey to town.
Kristof Deak’s ‘Sing’ from Germany is an inspirational story about moral dilemmas and choosing between right and wrong. The narrative revolves around the life of a ten-year old student named Zsofi, who conceives an ingenious plan to teach his teacher a lesson. ‘Sophie’s Misfortune’, directed by Christophe Honore from France, and which will premiere in the Middle East, depicts the story of a mischievous young girl called Sophie who delights in disobeying her mother.
In addition, an array of films from India had a remarkable presence at SICFF. A total of 17 Indian films were screened, portraying a series of delicate, funny and poetic stories about family, friendship, dreams and ambitions of young heroes. Films like ‘Little Big George’ by Priyanka Tanwar, ‘Best Friends Forever’ by Sandeep Modi, ‘I Say Bhallaji’ by Supavitra Babul, and ‘Mission Sunday’ by Rukshana Tabassum, show that the Indian film industry is thriving and ever-enthusiastic about showcasing titles at SICFF.
This year’s festival received a total of 425 submissions from 59 countries, with 121 films from 33 countries due to be screened.