Sharjah Art Foundation today announced the winner of the SFP3 Industry Hub Pitching Forum, which took place during a live half-day event at the Foundation’s Bait Obaid Al Shamsi in Arts Square on Friday, 20 November 2020. Filmmaker and scriptwriter Abdulla Al Kaabi has won the Pitching Forum Prize for his script Camel Tears, and he will receive a production fund of 200,000 AED, provided by Sharjah Art Foundation and Sharjah Media City (Shams), to turn his script into a feature film. Originally set at 100,000 AED, the prize value was increased to 200,000 AED in consideration of the economic hardships faced by artists due to the global pandemic.

The Pitching Forum is part of the Industry Hub, a new professional programme launched during SFP3, which features three other initiatives: the Script Lab, the Pre-production Strategies Course and the Virtual Film Distribution Market. Supported by this year’s SFP Industry Partner, Sharjah Media City (Shams), the Industry Hub aims to build on the SFP3 mission of supporting and nurturing filmmaking regionally and internationally.

The SFP3 Industry Hub Pitching Forum is an initiative that offers Emirati scriptwriters professional coaching in how to pitch a film script and the opportunity to pitch their script to a panel of local industry judges for a chance to win production funding. The Pitching Forum finalists were Saeed Rashed Al-Dhaheri, Mira Al Hammadi, Abdulla Al-Hemairi, Abdullah Aljuneibi, Yousuf Ibrahim, Saleh Karama, Mubarak Mashi and Abdulbasit Qayed.

‘Since its establishment in 2009, Sharjah Art Foundation has been supporting filmmakers through core initiatives like Sharjah Biennial, the Production Programme, year-round exhibitions and the Film Programme. We launched Sharjah Film Platform in 2018 as an initiative that is dedicated to furthering film production locally, regionally and internationally,’ said Hoor Al Qasimi, Director of Sharjah Art Foundation. ‘The festival has now grown to encompass the Industry Hub, which is a professional programme offering early-career and established filmmakers additional opportunities to develop their work and expand the reach of their films. The Pitching Forum is part of this new initiative and includes a coaching course and a production fund that aim to foster local film production. It is our pleasure to work alongside our partners, Sharjah Media City (Shams), to bring the Pitching Forum to the festival. We are also pleased to share that, in light of the current global situation and the resulting challenges faced by artists, the fund endowment has been increased. Congratulations to Abdulla Al Kaabi on winning the prize and look forward to seeing the production of his film in the future.’

‘We were pleased to collaborate with Sharjah Art Foundation for the third edition of Sharjah Film Platform as an industry partner. The programmes, activities and events that Sharjah Art Foundation carries out in the world of cinema and filmmaking are in line with the role and vision of Sharjah Media City (Shams) in supporting, embracing and training talent,’ said HE Dr Khalid Omar Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Media City (Shams). ‘Shams is keen to nurture talented individuals and provide opportunities for them whilst supporting the creative landscape in the region. With the successful conclusion of Sharjah Film Platform, we would like to express our appreciation to Sharjah Art Foundation for their efforts in adding value to the cultural, artistic and creative scene in the emirate.’

Composed of reputed filmmakers and experts, the Pitching Forum judges carefully considered the 10 Arabic-language scripts that were shortlisted from a wider pool of submissions to the Pitching Forum open call. After their deliberations at the live event on 20 November, the panel selected Al Kaabi’s script Camel Tears, which is a multilayered romantic drama about Hind, an experimental theatre director forced to face her past after finding a script about a tragic love story between a Bedouin and his camel. Expected to begin in early 2021, film production will take place in various locations across Sharjah. The Pitching Forum jury included Youssef Abou Bakr, Head of Creative Development, Art Format Lab; Nawaf Al Janahi, director and scriptwriter; Hana Alshateri, director and producer; Manal Ali Bin Amro, director and scriptwriter; and Fagr Kassim Ali, Director, Media Sector Development, Sharjah Media City (Shams).

The Pitching Forum also received additional support from the SFP3 Learning Programme Partners, New York Film Academy (NYFA) and Grey Matter.

About Sharjah Media City (Shams)

Sharjah Media City (Shams) is world-class media hub for innovative facilities and services. Shams offers over 120 business activities to choose from and provides the flexibility to combine different activities on the same license. Licenses issued by Shams allow companies to operate the business activities in accordance with their license and offer facilities, flexible legal framework, general and logistic services to investors. Shams provides unique services to investors from across the world and high level of innovative services in a safe and vibrant ecosystem for entrepreneurs to set up their business.

About Sharjah Film Platform 3 (SFP3)

Sharjah Film Platform 3 is the third edition of Sharjah Art Foundation’s annual film festival, which ran from 14 to 21 November 2020 and featured over 60 short and feature-length films from around the world in the narrative, documentary and experimental categories. Taking place in cinemas and online, the festival presented UAE, Middle East and world premieres along with recent releases by early-career and established filmmakers. Also included in the festival programme were a number of online talks and panel discussions led by industry experts and acclaimed filmmakers as well as a wide range of hands-on learning workshops for children and families.

About Sharjah Art Foundation

Sharjah Art Foundation is an advocate, catalyst and producer of contemporary art within the Emirate of Sharjah and the surrounding region, in dialogue with the international arts community. Under the leadership of founder Hoor Al Qasimi, a curator and artist, the Foundation advances an experimental and wide-ranging programmatic model that supports the production and presentation of contemporary art, preserves and celebrates the distinct culture of the region and encourages a shared understanding of the transformational role of art. The Foundation’s core initiatives include the long-running Sharjah Biennial, featuring contemporary artists from around the world; the annual March Meeting, a convening of international arts professionals and artists; grants and residencies for artists, curators and cultural producers; ambitious and experimental commissions; and a range of travelling exhibitions and scholarly publications.

Established in 2009 to expand programmes beyond the Sharjah Biennial, which launched in 1993, the Foundation is a critical resource for artists and cultural organisations in the Gulf and a conduit for local, regional and international developments in contemporary art. The Foundation’s deep commitment to developing and sustaining the cultural life and heritage of Sharjah is reflected through year-round exhibitions, performances, screenings and educational programmes in the city of Sharjah and across the Emirate, often hosted in historic buildings that have been repurposed as cultural and community centres. A growing collection reflects the Foundation’s support of contemporary artists in the realisation of new work and its recognition of the contributions made by pioneering modern artists from the region and around the world. Sharjah Art Foundation is a legally independent public body established by Emiri Decree and supported by government funding, grants from national and international nonprofits and cultural organisations, corporate sponsors and individual patrons. All exhibitions and events are free and open to the public

About Sharjah

Sharjah is the third-largest of the seven United Arab Emirates, and the only one bridging the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Reflecting the deep commitment to the arts, architectural preservation and cultural education embraced by its ruler, Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Sharjah is home to more than 20 museums and has long been known as the cultural hub of the United Arab Emirates. In 1998, it was named UNESCO's 'Arab Capital of Culture' and was designated the UNESCO ‘World Book Capital’ for the year 2019.

Media Contacts

Local and regional:
Alyazeyah Al Reyaysa, alyazeyah@sharjahart.org, +971(0)65444113