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SICFF 2017 Assists Young Adults With Developing A Finer Taste In Cinema
(12 October 2017)

The often-inexplicable quandaries of adolescents find expression on screen


Much like taxes and gluttony, teen films are a certainty of life. The fifth edition of the Sharjah International Children’s Film Festival (SICFF) crossed the halfway mark today with special screenings of a variety of short and feature films representing the life and culture of young adults.

Featuring in an itinerary of 20-plus screenings, were touching films that depicted the world of adolescents, and were built on themes that an adolescents life revolves around – friendships, career aspirations, kindness, honesty, acceptance of loss, the thin line between right and wrong, and just growing up.    

From SICFF’s ‘Short Arab Films’ category, “Men Youmha” by young Egyptian director Mai Salim was an adventure of a young woman who aspires to make a career in the world of cinema. In a beautifully narrated visual tale of her patience and resilience in the face of the many obstacles she faces, the film answers the question about how far she is ready to go to fulfil her dream.

“The impact of movies on teens has been well studied, and the one thing clear is that cinema has long-lasting effects on the way these impressionable adolescents view the world. At SICFF, our keenest desire is to bring the young film audience throughout the UAE, which is a sizeable number, closer to the kind of cinema that will shape their view of the world, their values and beliefs in the most open and progressive ways,” said Sheikha Jawaher Bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, Director of FUNN and SICFF.     

All the way from Bulgaria came in Theodore Ushev’s short animation “Blind Vaysha”. In a fascinating depiction of the birth of Vaysha, the girl who sees the future with one eye and the past with the other, the existential metaphor on the different realities that young adults often find themselves grappling was conveyed.

In another short animation from director Anne Baillod, “The Little Match Girl”, tells us the story of a poor little girl, hungry and cold, tries to sell matches on a snowy winter evening as everyone gets ready to celebrate Christmas. The film is about recognising people’s circumstances which can be so different in one given moment, and is a lesson in kindness and empathy.     

Multiple award-winning Norwegian director, Kajsa Naess’ “It Was Mine” dealt with the crucial topic of intellectual growth through reading – how can it change the perceptions and ignite young minds. The film goes deeper, focusing on technique required for more rewarding reading experiences, and the role of books in building friendships. The film is based on a short story by Paul Auster, an American writer and director.

SICFF 2017 is hosting 70 directors and filmmakers from around the world, with the United States leading the programme with 45 films, followed by the UAE with 33 films and then France with 29 films. All screenings are being held at the Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre in Sharjah.  

The closing ceremony of the festival will be held on Friday, 13 October. 

Through SICFF and its other initiatives, FUNN – Sharjah Media Arts for Youth and Children aims to nurture a future generation of creative artists in media and film, and promotes new media works and films made by children and young filmmakers of the UAE at international film festivals, and conferences worldwide. Their larger goal is to foster talent through these festivals, conferences and workshops locally and internationally, and form a close-knit network of talented young people who can share experiences and expertise on a global scale.

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