HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, member of the Federal Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates, Ruler of Sharjah, at the closing ceremony of Sharjah Film Platform, 2019. Image courtesy of Sharjah Government Media Bureau



HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Federal Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Sharjah, attended the closing ceremony of the first edition of the annual Sharjah Film Platform on 26 January 2019.

Also in attendance were HE Sheikh Salem bin Abdulrahman Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Ruler's Office; HE Khawla Al Mulla, Chairperson of the Sharjah Consultative Council; and HE Major General Saif Al Zari Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of the Sharjah Police, as well as members of the Executive Council and Government Directors.

During the closing ceremony, Hoor Al Qasimi, Director of Sharjah Art Foundation, spoke about the importance of film to the foundation. ‘As you may know, Sharjah Art Foundation has worked with film in various ways for over a decade….Now, this new platform reinforces our long-term focus on film and reminds us how important it is to continue exploring new ways of supporting the cultural vitality of the communities in which we live and work,’ said Al Qasimi. ‘I would like to take this occasion to dedicate our efforts to the person whose ongoing support and extraordinary vision have laid the deep foundations upon which the distinctly cultural character of Sharjah has been built: HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Federal Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Sharjah.’

The closing ceremony featured the announcement of the three Sharjah Film Platform awardees, selected by an international jury of filmmakers and film industry professionals.

The award for Best Narrative Film went to Cherries, directed by Dubravka Turic, with A Vacation, directed by Deniz Eroglu, receiving an honourable mention. I Have a Picture: Film No. 1001 in the Life of the Oldest Extra in the World, directed by Mohamed Zedan, was awarded Best Documentary Film, while A Stroll Down Sunflower Lane, directed by Mayye Zayed, was selected as Best Experimental Film.

A list of the jury members follows below:

• Jury for the Best Narrative Film:

Ali Mustafa (filmmaker, director and producer), Kong Rithdee (filmmaker and film critic) and Ghassan Salhab (screenwriter, film director and producer)

• Jury for the Best Documentary Film:

Jihan Al Tahri (filmmaker and artist), Manthia Diawara (filmmaker, cultural theorist and art historian) and Lina Matta (Director of MBC 2, MBC 4, MBC Max and MBC Variety and Curator of ANA Contemporary Arab Cinema series)

• Jury for the Best Experimental Film:

Kamal Al Jafari (experimental filmmaker), Steven Cairns (Curator of Artists’ Film and Moving Image, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London) and Rania Stephan (filmmaker and video artist)

In its first edition this year, Sharjah Film Platform screened over 140 short and feature films in the narrative, documentary and experimental categories. Representing over 40 countries and more than 30 languages, the films were selected through an international open call. In addition to film screenings, the festival included a series of hands-on workshops and talks led by local, regional and international filmmakers and film industry professionals.

Sharjah Film Platform was supported by Sharjah Islamic Bank. For more information, visit sharjahart.org.

About Sharjah Film Platform

Reflecting the growing importance of film in its work, Sharjah Art Foundation launched Sharjah Film Platform (SFP), an annual programme that supports film production in the United Arab Emirates and the region and provides a critical platform for both established and aspiring filmmakers. SFP has three main components: a curated film programme and award; a programme of talks, workshops and discussions; and a production grant for short films.

About Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF)

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.

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 Mohammad 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
+971 (0) 6 5444113