Sharjah Art Foundation’s annual film festival, Sharjah Film Platform (SFP), will return for its second edition from 14 to 21 December 2019. This iteration features over 50 short and feature films in the narrative, documentary and experimental categories. The films have been made by filmmakers from across the region and around the world who responded to an international open call. Included in the programme are the three new productions supported by SFP’s Short Film Production Grant.

Grant winner Julian Alexander’s film Layla, At Last (2019) follows protagonist Layla on her journey of identity, discovery and re-connection with her Moroccan heritage. Emerson Reyes’ film, Children of the Lake (2019), depicts two innocent children getting accidentally caught up in a deadly conflict. Faisal Attrache’s From the Mountain (2019) explores a 1922 Syrian farmer’s dilemma about whether to fight for a better nation or ensure the protection of his family. All three films will premiere on the opening night of the festival.

All SFP films will be screened at the foundation’s open-air Mirage City Cinema in Al Mureijah Art Spaces or at Al Hamra Cinema. Mirage City Cinema was designed by filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul and architect Ole Scheeren as a commission for Sharjah Biennial 11. A primary venue for film screenings at Sharjah Art Foundation, Mirage City Cinema is a public space that furthers the foundation’s mission of making art inclusive and accessible to all. Al Hamra Cinema is an iconic Sharjah institution and dates back to the 1970s. Audiences can enjoy a number of film screenings in this theatre, which is one of the oldest cinemas in the city of Sharjah.

This edition of SFP also includes a number of talks, panel discussions and workshops. The public programme of talks will bring together filmmakers, artists, industry professionals and audiences to explore different approaches to filmmaking and current issues in the film industry. Aspiring filmmakers and film enthusiasts can take part in a range of workshops that cover different aspects of filmmaking, including screenwriting and production.

At the end of the festival, an international jury will announce the winners of the best narrative, documentary and experimental film awards. The winning filmmakers will receive a monetary prize to support the production of future projects.

The talks will take place on Saturday, December 14, and Friday, December 20, with the participating speakers and moderators listed below:

Sarah Abu Abdullah, video artist; Lawrence Abu Hamdan, artist; Tarik Aktas, filmmaker; Mohannad Al Bakri, Managing Director, Royal Film Commission, Jordan; Abdullah Al Kaabi, filmmaker; Nezar Andary, filmmaker and Professor, Zayed University; Omar Butti, Executive Director of Innovation Programs, Dubai Film and TV Commission; Ali Cherri, artist; Sarah Choo Jing, artist; Rana Eid, filmmaker; Emile Fallaux, Board Member, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA); Kevin Jones, arts writer; Shambhavi Kaul, filmmaker; Ruth Maclennan, artist and filmmaker; Mohamad Malas, filmmaker; Lina Matta, Director of MBC 2, MBC 4, MBC Max and Variety, and Member of UAE Selection Committee, Oscars Foreign Language Selection Category; Richie Mehta, director and writer; and Naeem Mohaiemen, artist.

This edition of SFP will include the inaugural Pitching Forum, which will serve as a platform for emerging filmmakers to present their films to industry professionals, describe new projects, find potential collaborators for future projects and receive valuable feedback. This film development and networking event will be by invitation only for the first year.

Further details will be announced soon on the foundation’s website.
Tickets to the film screenings will be available for purchase soon.

For more information, visit

In its first edition, SFP presented over 140 short and feature films from more than 40 countries in over 30 languages in the narrative, documentary and experimental categories. Over 30 films premiered at the festival, two of which were films awarded the Short Film Production Grant and screened on the opening night.

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 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 Mohammed 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 has been designated the UNESCO ‘World Book Capital’ for the year 2019.

Media Contact

Alyazeyah Al Reyaysa