Mirage City Cinema, Sharjah Art Foundation

Sharjah Film Platform 3 (SFP3)
Saturday, 14 November 2020–Saturday, 21 November 2020
Mirage City Cinema, Al Mureijah Art Spaces, Al Mureijah Square
The Flying Saucer, Dasman
CINEMACITY IMAX, Zero 6 Mall, near University City

Sharjah Art Foundation’s annual film festival, Sharjah Film Platform (SFP), returns for its third edition from 14 to 21 November 2020 with more than 60 short and feature-length films in the narrative, documentary and experimental categories. Included in the screening programme are UAE, Middle East and world premieres as well as recent releases by early-career and established local, regional and international filmmakers.

‘There is an exceptional community of filmmakers in the UAE and the surrounding region, and through the establishment of Sharjah Film Platform in 2018, we aimed to build on the Foundation’s longstanding support for filmmakers and help bring their work to wider international audiences,’ said Foundation director Hoor Al Qasimi. ‘The substantial developments happening this year—the inclusion of an online screening component for the festival and the launch of the SFP Industry Hub—allow us to build on our commitment to film by bringing the work of incredible filmmakers from the region straight into the homes of viewers around the world and by creating new infrastructure to support emerging filmmakers and lay the groundwork for more risk-taking, experimental and exceptional films in the years to come.’

On opening night, the festival will present the world premiere of Soha Shukayr’s Once Upon a Revolution (2020), one recipient of the Sharjah Film Platform 2020 Short Film Production Grant. The directors of the other films receiving this year’s grant, Nadira Amrani and collaborators Pelin Tan and Anton Vidokle, will be giving presentations about their films still in production. A full film screening schedule is provided below.

Festival Venues

The SFP3 films will be screened in the Foundation’s contemporary open-air theatre, Mirage City Cinema, in the historic Al Mureijah neighbourhood; the recently renovated iconic architectural landmark The Flying Saucer; on the big screens in CINEMACITY IMAX, Zero 6 Mall, near University City; and online. Mirage City Cinema is a primary venue for film screenings and a public space that furthers the Foundation’s mission of making art inclusive and accessible to all. The Flying Saucer, which opened to the public earlier this year after an extensive Foundation restoration project, serves as a community space with a number of contemporary additions, including a café and film screening walls in a multi-activity area where audiences can watch films in comfort. Sharjah’s popular shopping mall, Zero 6, will host screenings in the centre’s large movie theatres.

Films will be available to stream on the festival’s virtual platform, film.sharjahart.org, on the day following their cinema presentations.

SFP3 Online Talks Programme

This edition of SFP also includes an online programme of talks that will bring together filmmakers, artists, industry professionals and audiences to explore current and contemporary issues in the film industry. The speakers and moderators listed below will lead the talks, which will take place throughout the festival on SFP’s virtual platform:

Yazan Al Ghazawi (filmmaker), Dina Al Malak (Co-founder, CEE Network), Hana Al Omair (director), Mohammed Al Salman (director), Kerem Ayan (Director, International Istanbul Film Festival), Boutheyna Bouslama (filmmaker), Jasim Bu Rahma (Co-founder, CEE Network), Scandar Copti (filmmaker), Nadia Eliewat (screenwriter and producer), Cenk Ertürk (director), Chuko and Ari Esiri (directors), Mohammad Reza Fartousi (director), Gaia Furrer (Artistic Director, Venice Days, Venice Film Festival), Mohammed Ahmed Hassan (screenwriter), Maike Hohne (Director, Berlin International Film Festival), Yousef Ibrahim (writer), Kushboo Jaisinghani (Senior Content Planner, Zee Entertainment), Ahmed Kadry (filmmaker), Khaula Malik (director), Tedy Tudor Necula (director), Reshel Shah (director), Razan Takash (filmmaker) and Ahmed Wahba (filmmaker).

SFP3 Learning Programme for Children and Families

Children aged 6 to 15 and their families can take part in a range of exciting hands-on workshops that focus on the basics of filmmaking, including scriptwriting, storyboarding, documentary-making and more. The workshops run from 14 November to 15 December 2020.

Organised in collaboration with Lights Camera Learn, the workshops take place every Saturday from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm and every Tuesday from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at The Flying Saucer in Dasman, Sharjah, or at Bait Obaid Al Shamsi or the Collections Building in Arts Square, Sharjah.

The sessions are free to attend; however, prior registration is required. Register here. For more information, contact children.education@sharjahart.org.

For more information, visit sharjahart.org.

SFP Industry Hub

This year’s festival introduces the SFP Industry Hub, a professional programme that offers vital resources to early-career and established filmmakers to support them in realising their projects, from idea to completion, and in reaching wider audiences with their films, regionally and internationally. Supported by the festival’s industry partner, Sharjah Media City (Shams), the SFP Industry Hub includes four main initiatives: the Script Lab, the Pre-production Strategies Course, the Pitching Forum and the Virtual Film Distribution Market. Starting before the SFP screenings and continuing afterwards, these initiatives run from 25 October 2020 to 16 January 2021.

An immersive three-week online scriptwriting course, the Script Lab helps participants take their scripts to the next level, while the online Pre-Production Strategies Course offers participants training in how to prepare for a film shoot. The Pitching Forum returns for a second year in an expanded format, offering 10 Emirati scriptwriters the opportunity to pitch their Arabic-language feature film scripts to win 100,000 AED for the production of their film. The Virtual Film Distribution Market is a new online initiative in which this year’s SFP filmmakers can receive support for their films from buyers, distributors, broadcasters and festival programmers.

The SFP Industry Hub is supported by our Industry Partner, Sharjah Media City (Shams); our Learning Programme Partners, New York Film Academy (NYFA) and Grey Matter; and Distribution Market Partner mena.tv.

SFP Awards

At the end of the festival, a jury of distinguished directors, filmmakers and critics will announce the winners of the best short and feature-length narrative, documentary and experimental films. The winning filmmakers will receive a monetary prize to support the production of future projects.

Jury for Best Narrative Film: Eve Gabereau (Founder & CEO, Modern Films Entertainment), Alice Kahroubi (Cannes Film Corner) and Kerem Ayan (Istanbul International Film Festival).

Jury for Best Documentary Film: John Akomfrah (filmmaker), Iftikhar Dadi (educator and researcher) and Viola Shafik (film theorist).

Jury for Best Experimental Film: Apichatpong Weerasethakul (filmmaker), Delphine Garde-Mroueh (film programmer) and Mounir Fatmi (artist).

This year’s festival advisory committee includes Sandra den Hamer (Director, Eye Film Institute), Maike Mia Höhne (Artistic Director, Hamburg International Short Film Festival) and Richie Mehta (filmmaker).

The festival will also see the Middle East premieres of out-of-competition films, including The Shepherdess and the Seven Songs (2020) by Pushpendra Singh, awarded Best Director in the Young Cinema Competition at the Hong Kong International Film Festival; Eyimofe (This Is My Desire) (2020) by Arie Esiri and Chuko Esiri, nominated for Best First Feature at the Berlin International Film Festival; Epicentro (2020) by Hubert Sauper, awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival; and Noah Land (2019) by Cenk Ertürk, awarded Best Screenplay at the Tribeca Film Festival. A full festival programme is provided below.

SFP3 Film Screening Programme

14 November 2020

Programme 1: Opening Night World Premiere
Mirage City Cinema
8:00 pm

In the Time of Revolution (2020)
Director: Soha Shukayr

Programme 2: MENA Premiere
Mirage City Cinema
9:30 pm

Epicentro (2020)
Director: Hubert Sauper

Epicentro is a metaphorical portrait of postcolonial, ‘utopian’ Cuba, where the 1898 explosion of the USS Maine still resonates. Sauper is renowned for his films We Come as Friends (2015), winner of a Special Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival, and Darwin’s Nightmare (2004), nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 78th Academy Awards.

15 November 2020

Programme 3: Beliefs
The Flying Saucer
6:00 pm

Stay Awake, Be Ready (2019)
Director: Pham Thien An

This 14-minute narrative short was awarded the Illy Prize at the Cannes Film Festival 2019. Telling the mysterious story of three young men, the film revolves around a motorbike crash in front of market stalls on a street corner.

Up at Night (2019)
Director: Nelson Makengo

Up at Night is 20-minute experimental short that focuses on political violence and conflict in Congo. The film earned Best Short Documentary at IDFA, Amsterdam (2019). Mekango’s previous film received the Sharjah Art Foundation Award at Videobrasil (2019).

Dialogue with the Unseen (2019)
Director: Valerio Rocco Orlando

This 23-minute documentary short explores the cultural identity of various religious communities in Palestine.

Gestures of Collapse (2019)
Director: Helen Anna Flanagan

Gestures of Collapse is a 12-minute experimental short that investigates how news about contagion, rumours, beliefs, emotions and actions gets spread.

Turn Over (2019)
Directors: Frederico Benevides, Tadeu Capistrano

This 17-minute experimental short is a cinematic essay on the current meaning of radicality from aesthetic and political points of view.

Programme 4: UAE Premiere
Out of Bounds

Mirage City Cinema
8:00 pm

Elizabeth (2019)
Director: Jamal Rahman

In this 4-minute narrative short, a girl with a phobia of revolving doors must overcome her fear to get what she so desperately wants.

Beside Me (2018)
Director: Tedy Necula

Beside Me is a feature-length narrative that revolves around an underground railway train stuck between stations on the morning after the infamous fire at the Collective Club in Bucharest. The film was nominated for Best Narrative Feature Film at the Amsterdam Independent Film Festival and awarded Best Director at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival.

Programme 5: MENA Premiere
Mirage City Cinema
10:00 pm

Another Paradise (2019)
Director: Olivier Magis

This feature-length documentary is about the expulsion of the Creole population of the Chagos Islands by the British authorities. This secret operation took place so that the largest island could be leased to the US Navy for a military base. Now Chagossian exiles embark on a struggle to return home. This film was the official selection at a number of international festivals, including the International Human Rights Film Festival, Berlin (2020) and Sheffield Doc/Fest, UK (2019).

16 November 2020

Programme 6: Spotlight on Women
6:00 pm
Suitable for ages 18+

Extra Safe (2019)
Director: Nouran Sherif

This 9-minute narrative short follows 28-year-old Noha as she navigates a series of unwanted events in a pharmacy.

Istimlak (2020)
Director: Sarah Almubarak

This 2-minute experimental short depicts a young woman trying to flee from a future that has been decided for her.

Shame (2020)
Director: Abdullah Al Benhamda

This 19-minute experimental short examines a horrific incident that took place eight years ago. The film considers issues of injustice and shame in society when the victim is a woman.

How the Air Feels (2017)
Director: Khaula Malik

How the Air Feels is a 10-minute documentary short about a woman who breaks her silence on a painful family secret. The film won the National Board of Review Student Filmmaker Award and AFI Docs Film Festival in 2017. Malik was also awarded the 2017 BAFTA NY John Grist Scholarship.

An-nissa (2017)
Director: Ymane Fakhir

This 9-minute narrative short revolves around a house in which time is suspended and everything comes to a sudden standstill. Featuring slow shots and ghostly pacing, the film’s silent moments are interrupted by fragmented stories. The film received a special mention at Festival La Nuit de l'Instant, Marseille, France (2018).

The Rebel Body (2019)
Directors: Shoghig Halajian, Johanna Breiding

The Rebel Body is a 30-minute documentary short that takes the story of Anna Göldi, the last European witch to be executed (1782) in Switzerland, as a point of departure and considers the ramifications of hearsay and storytelling.

Muse (2020)
Director: Azhur Saleem

This 13-minute narrative short focuses on an artist who turns to his android muse for help as he tries to sell his newest paintings. Events take a dark turn when the android learns what has inspired the work. The film was nominated for Best Sci-Fi at the Bolton International Film Festival and was the official selection at the Sci-Fi London Film Festival (2020).

Programme 7: Women Lead the Way
Mirage City Cinema
8:00 pm

She Was Not Alone (2020)
Director: Hussein Al Assadi

This 9-minute documentary short follows the daily life of an old woman who has lived alone for more than 16 years in a small hut made of reeds. Prevented from marrying by circumstance, she has developed an interesting way to live with her animals in the natural environment of the southern Iraqi marshes.

Mothers of the Land (2019)
Directors: Alvaro Sarmiento, Diego Sarmiento

Mothers of the Land is a feature-length documentary that follows five women from the Andean highlands in their struggle to maintain a traditional and organic way of working the land. The film won Best Documentary at the 25th Dreamspeakers Indigenous Film Festival, Canada (2019), and Best Indigenous Documentary Award at the 6th Documenta Caracas Film Festival, Venezuela (2019).

Programme 8: MENA Premiere
Mirage City Cinema
10:00 pm

The Names of the Flowers (2019)
Director: Bahman Tavoosi

The Names of Flowers is a feature-length narrative film about an elderly countryside teacher in Bolivia who shares her extraordinary story about meeting a famous political figure. The film received the Jury Award for Cinematography at the Tallinn Black Nights Festival and Best Narrative Feature Film at the Brussels Film Festival (2019).

17 November 2020

Programme 9: Nature vs Nurture
The Flying Saucer
6:00 pm

Talk with Dust (2019)
Director: Sebastian Diaz Morales

This 16-minute experimental short consists of a series of videos of a dog wandering through a semi-deserted landscape and encountering different situations that lead it to question what it sees, understands or knows.

The Boat People (2019)
Director: Tuan Andrew Nguyen

This 20-minute experimental short features a band of children calling themselves the Boat People, led by a strong-willed and resourceful little girl, who travel the seas and collect stories of the extinct world they never knew through objects that have survived. The director was a participating artist in Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber (2019).

Broken Record (2020)
Directors: Zain bin Awais, Chris Gowar

This 5-minute narrative short features a man reflecting on a recurring dream with the help of his therapist.

Gagarin, I will miss you (2018)
Director: Domenico De Orsi
Suitable for ages 18+

This film is a 20-minute narrative short about an unexpected guest who falls from the sky, breaking into the lives of two lonely farmers.

Programme 10: Voyage into the Unknown
Mirage City Cinema
8:00 pm

Children Playing God (2018)
Director: Ashok Vish

Children Playing God is a 32-minute documentary short that follows the lives of five boys during their two-month rehearsal for the month-long Ramlila performance based on the epic poem ‘Ramayana’.

All Cats Are Grey in the Dark (2019)
Director: Lasse Linder

This film is a 19-minute documentary short about a man named Christian, who lives with his two cats Marmelade and Katjuscha. Yearning to become a father, he decides to have his beloved cat Marmelade inseminated by an exquisite tomcat from abroad. The film won the IWC Short Cuts Award for Best Short Film at the Toronto International Film Festival (2019).

Prophecy (2020)
Director: Julieta Juncadella

This 13-minute narrative short is about three Moroccan friends who take refuge in an uninhabited lighthouse on an island. The film was an official selection at the Visions du Reel Film Festival, Switzerland (2020).

Black Sun (2019)
Director: Arda Çiltepe

Black Sun is a 20-minute narrative short that tells the story of a man who makes a detour through Aegean Turkey to get to a funeral. The film won the Pardino d’oro for Best International Short Film at the Locarno Film Festival, Switzerland (2019).

Cover (2018)
Director: Vahid Alvandifar

This 15-minute narrative short focuses on two friends who transport the corpse of their best friend from the morgue in their village to the burial. The film won a Mention Award at the International Amity Short Film Festival (2018).

Programme 11: Home
Mirage City Cinema
10:00 pm

Sleepwalker (2020)
Director: Andrea Yu-Chieh Chung

This 10-minute documentary short uses archival footage of the 2014 Sunflower Movement in Taipei, Taiwan, as its starting point.

Revolution Launderette (2019)
Directors: Mark Chua, Lam Li Shuen

This feature-length experimental film focuses on Tomo, who is drawn deep into another side of Tokyo on a trip through signs, sounds and situations. The film was the official selection at the 30th Singapore International Film Festival (2019).

18 November 2020

Programme 12: Digitising Life
6:00 pm

Fasten Your Seatbelts While Seated (2019)
Director: Samir Radwan

This 6-minute experimental short follows a man who remembers that he wanted to fly before knowing how to run and wonders why.

Lineage (2019)
Director: Ashton Ferrao

This 6-minute experimental short explores the intersections of nature, technology and society.

Elemental Beauty (2017)
Director: Elena Kovalenko

A 4-minute experimental short, this film won Best Editing at La Jolla International Film Festival, US (2017). The film explores the four elements—earth, water, air and fire—and their relationship to the human body.

Porosity Valley 2: Tricksters' Plot(2019)
Director: Ayoung Kim

This 25-minute experimental short follows Petra Genetrix, a mythical entity composed of a mineral or data cluster, who awakens to find itself dropped onto the shoreline of an island known as Crypto Valley. Petra faces authorities who regard migrants as equivalent to aliens or viruses. This film was a finalist for the 2019 Korea Artist Prize, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea.

Conversations (2018)
Director: Jeanne Pasquet

This 6-minute experimental short presents a visual experience centring on a dialogue between organic and digital forms. The film was part of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial, Invisible Film Program.

Citizens of the Cosmos (2019)
Director: Anton Vidokle

Based on a manifesto written by Alexander Svyatogor in 1922, this 30-minute experimental short presents an imagined community voicing historical desires of Russian Cosmism in contemporary Japan. This film was an official selection at the Berlin International Film Festival (2020) and the Image Film Festival, Toronto (2019).

Programme 13: Reviving Artistic Heritage
Mirage City Cinema
8:00 pm

The Wishing Tree (2017)
Director: Silvina Der Meguerditchian

This 35-minute documentary short explores the history of Dilijan. Founded in the 19th century, Dilijan is known as the ‘Switzerland of Armenia’ due to its lush, virgin forests. The population of Dilijan grew under Russian rule at the turn of the 20th century, and the town became a unique centre for artistic exchange in the Caucasus.

Welcome Palermo (2019)
Directors: MASBEDO

This feature-length experimental film by artist duo MASBEDO features a 1970s lorry transformed into a videomobile, a rolling film studio and an open stage from which they invite Palermo’s residents to participate in a collective exploration of the island’s film history. The project was created as part of Manifesta 12, and film was an official selection at the Lo schermo dell'arte International Festival for Cinema and Contemporary Art, Florence (2019). It was also an official selection at CPH:DOX, Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival (2020).

Programme 14: MENA Premiere
Mirage City Cinema
10:00 pm

Noah Land (2019)
Director: Cenk Ertürk

This feature-length narrative tells the story of Omer, a quick-tempered man going through a mid-life crisis, who tries to fulfil his terminally ill father’s wish to be buried under the village ‘Noah Tree’. The film was an official selection at the Tribeca Film Festival (2019).

19 November 2020

Programme 15: Love in the Present Tense
The Flying Saucer
6:00 pm

Maiden (2019)
Director: Katja Verheul

This 7-minute documentary short follows a group of young girls as they re-enact, deconstruct, question and rebuild an old myth.

Mommy (2020)
Director: Ahmed Almulla

This 7-minute narrative short focuses on Suhail, a young Emirati man who is on a date with Leila. All seems to be going well, but soon the situation starts to deteriorate due to Suhail’s mother. Always in his ear, she wants to control every aspect of Suhail’s life.

Hat Trick (2019)
Director: Marcia Beatriz Granero

This 5-minute experimental short is about Jaque Jolene, a fictional autobiographical entity who sometimes inhabits the body of the filmmaker. Drawing on the powerful potential energy of her female ancestors, Jolene is an independent woman who lives a full life. The film was screened at Galaxia 11, Neos Kosmos, Athens (2020).

The Man Who Didn’t Want to Leave Home (2019)
Director: Savino Genovese

This 17-minute narrative short is about a man and a woman in the mountains who take part in a treasure hunt set up in an old abandoned village. In an apartment, someone is looking for something. It will be discovered that the object being sought is the same.

Like Salt (2018)
Director: Darine Hotait

This 25-minute narrative short tells the story of Hala, an Arab-American female boxer in New York City, and Kendrick, an African-American jazz musician, who improvise their way through a passive-aggressive America. The film won Best Short Film at the 21st Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Festival, New York (2018).

The Couple Next Door (2020)
Director: Abbesi Akhamie

This 12-minute narrative short follows a single American woman whose emotions begin to stir when an eccentric African couple move into her building. Against her better judgment, she finds herself subconsciously falling for a married man, reigniting emotions of a life she has always wanted. The film becomes a cultural exchange that makes us question our morality with respect to love, marriage and friendship.

Programme 16: Middle East Premiere

Mirage City Cinema
8:00 pm

The Witch’s Cauldron (2020)
Director: Branislav Jankic

This feature-length film is a performance-based work that explores the repetitive pattern of violence in the Balkans. The director’s intention is to re-enact the trauma he experienced as a child during the civil war in Yugoslavia, and by doing so, start the healing process. This film is a pre-selection for the Sundance Film Festival 2021.

Online only
After Anyuta (2019)
Director: Clemy Clarke
Suitable for ages 18+

Inspired by Anton Chekhov's short story ‘Anyuta’ (1886), this 10-minute narrative short follows life model Anyuta, who spends the day posing for both her lover, medical student Steven, and her neighbour, artist Ferris.

Programme 17: Middle East Premiere
Mirage City Cinema
10:00 pm

Eyimofe (This is My Desire) (2020)
Directors: Arie Isiri, Chuko Isiri

A feature-length narrative, Eyimofe is a film about the quest of two individuals for what they believe will be a better life on foreign shores. After Mofe loses his family and Rosa fails to deliver on a promise, their travel plans collapse, forcing them to reconsider living abroad. The film was nominated for Best First Feature at the Berlin International Film Festival (2020) and was an official selection at the BFI London Film Festival (2020); AFI Film Festival, Los Angeles (2020); Film Africa, London (2020); 44th São Paulo International Film Festival (2020); and Vancouver International Film Festival (2020).

20 November 2020

Programme 18: MENA Premiere
2:00 pm

Sunless Shadows (2019)
Director: Mehrdad Oskouei

This feature-length narrative focuses on an Iranian juvenile detention center where a group of adolescent girls are serving time for having murdered their father, husband or another male family member. The film was nominated for Best Feature-Length Documentary at the Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival (2019); awarded Best Documentary Feature at the Big Sky Documentary Festival, Montana, US (2020); nominated for the Human Rights Doc Award at the Dokufest International Documentary and Short Film Festival (2020); awarded the Silver Horn for Best Film on Social Issues at the Krakow Film Festival (2020); and nominated for the Viktor Dok Award at the Munich International Documentary Festival (2020).

Programme 19: The Grass is Greener
The Flying Saucer
4:00 pm

pepsi, cola, water? (2015)
Director: Tom Bogaert

This 9-minute documentary short focuses on jazz pioneer and philosopher Sun Ra’s trip to Egypt in 1971. Sun Ra had a deep fascination with outer space and ancient Egypt. Computer animation, archival footage and music from Sun Ra are interwoven to construct a recreation/celebration of his legendary visit to the country. The film won first prize at the Videoex Film Festival, Zurich (2016).

Working the Land (2019)
Director: Simon Gush

This film is part of an ongoing series about land restitution in Salem, South Africa. The 30-minute documentary short follows the experiences and obstacles faced by three farms restituted through the ‘willing seller, willing buyer’ process.

Entitled (2018)
Director: Adeyemi Michael

Director Adeyemi Michael reimagines his mother’s idea of moving from Nigeria to Peckham, England, in this 4-minute documentary short about leaving one’s country of origin. Entitled won the Debut Director Award at the Edinburgh TV Fest (2019), Best Short Film at the Screen Nation Awards (2019), and Honouree at the Webby Awards (2019).

The Phantom Menace (2019)
Director: Graeme Arnfield

This 30-minute experimental short is a techno-driven stroboscopic climate fiction film written in conversation with various Amazon warehouse workers. Planes crashing, computers malfunctioning and elections going haywire are just the prequel to the future.

Programme 20: MENA Premiere
Mirage City Cinema
6:00 pm

Looking for the Man with the Camera (2019)
Director: Boutheyna Bouslama

This feature-length documentary takes the filmmaker on a journey from Geneva to the Syrian border as she relentlessly looks for her childhood friend, a missing Syrian media activist. The film is a self-reflective questioning of the images of war and the role of filmmaking in memory and as a witness against war crimes. Winner of the National Competition First Prize at Visions du Réel, Nyon, Switzerland (2019) and the Prix Soleure at the Solothurn Film Festival, Switzerland (2020).

Programme 21: The Aftermath
Mirage City Cinema
8:00 pm

I have seen nothing; I have seen all (2019)
Director: Yaser Kassab

In this 20-minute documentary short, the filmmaker calls his father in Aleppo, who tells him his brother’s grave has been moved. The physical distance increases Kassab’s sense of loss but also turns him into an outsider.

Mother, I'm Joseph (2018)
Director: Mohamad Fartousi

Based on true events, this feature-length narrative focuses on Joseph, who hides in a hole for 21 years to avoid fighting in the Gulf war, of which he wants no part. His mother struggles to keep his secret, and, tucked away and forgotten, Joseph suffers mental torture. The film won Best Film at the Bahaia Film Festival, Brazil (2018) and the Silver Palm Award at the Mexico International Film Festival (2018).

Programme 22: Middle East Premiere
Mirage City Cinema
10:00 pm
Suitable for ages 18+

The Shepherdess and the Seven Songs (2020)
Director: Pushpendra Singh

In this feature-length narrative, Laila, a young Bakarwal woman from politically fraught Jammu and Kashmir, moves with her new husband, the shepherd Tanvir, to a home in the forest, where her beauty and strength captivate forest guard Mushtaq. Laila cleverly thwarts his attentions as she tries to figure out her new identity. With folk songs and poetic interludes that function as Laila’s interior monologues, this feminist tale depicts a woman who wants to make her own decisions while staying connected to age-old traditions.

21 November 2020

Programme 23: UAE Premiere
2:00 pm

Between Two Seas (2019)
Director: Anas Tolba

In this feature-length narrative, Zahra is on a short visit to her hometown, a small rural island near Cairo, when an unexpected incident turns her life upside down. Deciding not to give up, Zahra fights to build a better life for herself and her community. The film won Outstanding Achievement, Best Screenplay and Best Narrative Feature at the Brooklyn Film Festival (2019).

Programme 24: MENA premiere
Mirage City Cinema
8:00 pm

Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom (2019)
Director: Pawo Choyning Dorji

In this feature-length narrative, Ugyen is struggling with his profession as a teacher when he is sent to Lunana in northern Bhutan for his final year of training. The high altitude and lack of amenities make Ugyen want to leave as soon as he arrives. With a warm welcome, the local children try to win him over, but they do not have much time as the harsh winter is about to arrive in the glacial parts of the Himalaya. The film won Best Narrative Feature at the Palm Springs International Film Festival (2020) and was nominated for the Golden Pyramid Award at the Cairo International Film Festival (2019).

Programme 25: Middle East Premiere
Mirage City Cinema
10:00 pm

Careless Crime (2020)
Director: Shahram Mokri

This feature-length narrative is set forty years ago during the uprising to overthrow the Shah's regime in Iran, when protestors set fire to movie theatres to show opposition to Western culture. In one tragic case, a theatre was set on fire with four hundred people inside, and most were burned alive. Forty years later, in contemporary Iran, four individuals decide to burn a cinema down. Their target is a theatre showing a film about an unexploded missile. Will past and present meet? Careless Crime won the Silver Hugo Award at the Chicago International Film Festival (2020) and was nominated for the Venice Horizons Best Film Award at the Venice Film Festival (2020).

Ticketing Information

Cinema screenings

Tickets are now available on the festival’s online platform and at the box office in all the screening venues. Festival tickets are 20 AED per screening.

Opening hours:
Information Centre, Al Mureijah Art Spaces
The Flying Saucer
9:00 am–9:00 pm, Saturday to Thursday, and 4:00 pm–9:00 pm, Friday

Zero 6 Mall reception desk
9:00 am–10:00 pm daily

Online screenings

The SFP film screenings can be enjoyed from home on the festival’s online platform. The films, which are accessible to audiences internationally, will be available to stream on demand the day after they are screened in cinemas. Talks, which are free to attend, can also be accessed through the same virtual platform; however, prior registration is required.

Online festival tickets are 10 AED per screening. The all-access festival pass is 50 AED for unlimited online film screenings throughout the festival period. Book tickets here.

SFP3 Partners

Industry Partner

Sharjah Media City (Shams)

Cinema Partner


Media Partner

Sharjah Broadcasting Authority

Distribution Market Partner


Learning Partners

New York Film Academy (NYFA)

Grey Matter

Cultural Partners

Goethe Institute

Institut Français

Embassy of Switzerland to the UAE and Bahrain

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. It was named UNESCO's 'Arab Capital of Culture' in 1998 and the UNESCO ‘World Book Capital’ for the year 2019.

Media Contact

Alyazeyah Al Reyaysa