Sharjah, The Gulf Observer: The Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth concluded its milestone tenth edition, held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of H.H. the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs (SCFA).
The spectacular closing ceremony took place at the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park yesterday (Friday) and was graced by prominent figures from the world of Arab cinema and drama.
At this grand finale, the festival celebrated the exceptional talents of filmmakers and directors across seven distinctive categories. The coveted title of “Best Feature Film” was awarded to “Nezouh,” directed by Soudade Kaadan, while the “Best GCC Short Film” accolade was claimed by “Sukoon,” Directed by Ahsan Minhas and Marwan Bakri. The heartwarming film “Hope,” created by Kanto Randresy, Oualid Laouer, Lucie Jean, Maxime Pitrou, and Henry Mbouen, clinched the “Best Students Film” award. In the realm of young cinema, “Conscience,” directed by Mujtaba Al-Hejji, earned recognition as the “Best Child Made Film.”
In the international category, Amir Honarmand’s “Silkworm” was hailed as the “Best International Short Film,” and Marjolaine Perreten’s “Pebble Hill” triumphed in the category of “Best Short Animated Film.” Kaisa Naess’s enchanting creation, “Titina,” was crowned as the “Best Animated Feature Film.” Special mentions were accorded to “Cat Kiss” by Hwang Soo-bin and “Aleise” by Abdullah Saharti.
In her address, Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, Director FANN and SIFF, emphasised how the festival’s offerings had fostered creativity and inspiration among the younger generation. She expressed her heartfelt sentiments: “As we reach the culmination of the festival, we honour the artisans and storytellers whose films we passionately followed. Over five days, we were transported by more than 80 inspiring stories from around the world, all converging beneath the vibrant and creative cultural sky of ‘Sultan’s Sharjah.'”
Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi reaffirmed the festival’s unwavering support for the children of Palestine by donating its proceeds to the “Big Heart” campaign, dedicated to aiding the children of Gaza and Palestine facing the hardships of conflict.
She expressed her profound gratitude towards the dedicated teams and volunteers who worked tirelessly to ensure the resounding success of the tenth edition. She commended their unwavering commitment, cooperation, and enthusiasm, highlighting the delightful choices they made throughout the festival.
The awards ceremony featured the honouring of various partners and supporters who contributed to the festival’s triumph, including Sharjah Media City “Shams” (Gold Sponsor), Al Hilal Enterprises, and Gulftainer (Strategic Partners), VOX Cinema, Al Zahia Theater (Quarter Qarn), Sharjah Academy for Performing Arts, and Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park (Site Partners), City Center Al Zahia (Official Partner), Bee’ah Group (Silver Partner), and Sharjah International Airport.
Other supporters included Sharjah Media Office (Strategic Media Partner), Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (Official Tourism Partner), “LEAP” (Artistic Partner), EGMC – “BMW” (Official Carrier of the Festival), Lasirene Salon (Beauty Partner), Centro (Hospitality Partner), and the Ministry of Culture and Youth, “Oulad,” and “Grand Store” (Supporting Partners). Educational support was provided by Nikon, and Etoile La Boutique / Ralph Lauren served as the festival’s fashion partner.
Peter Richards, Group CEO of Gulftainer, expressed pride in sponsoring the 10th Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth, reinforcing their commitment to Sharjah’s cultural vision and the promotion of talent, diversity, and inclusivity.
Fuad Mansoor Sharaf, Managing Director of the UAE Shopping Malls at Majid Al Futtaim Properties, highlighted their pleasure in hosting the festival for the second year at City Centre Al Zahia and VOX Cinemas, aiming to inspire creativity and support talents in art, media, and film.
Ignace Lahoud, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Entertainment, emphasised the transformative power of arts education and film, expressing pride in partnering with the Sharjah International Film Festival to amplify the voices of the next generation of film-makers.