Returning for a third edition, this year’s Sharjah Film Platform Pitching Forum is offering one UAE-based scriptwriter an opportunity to win AED 200,000 to turn their script into a feature film. Shortlisted from a wider pool of applicants, 10 finalists who have a completed draft or version of a feature-length script in the Arabic language, will receive professional script development training ahead of Sharjah Film Platform (SFP), in addition to pitching coaching, before proceeding to an onsite pitching event at SFP to present their script to a panel of industry judges. After the live event, one winning scriptwriter will be selected to receive the prize to realise their film.
This year’s initiative includes a mandatory script lab and pitching coaching course that will mentor all shortlisted contestants for the onsite pitching event and ensure that the winning script is ready to be produced into a film. The exact dates and venue of the script lab and pitching coaching will be announced on this page at a later date. The live pitching forum will be held at Sharjah Art Foundation on 26 November 2021 during the closing weekend of Sharjah Film Platform.
The Pitching Forum is supported by this year’s industry partner, Sharjah Media City (SHAMS). The winner of the Pitching Forum will be awarded jointly through a grant by Sharjah Art Foundation and an investment fund by Sharjah Media City (SHAMS). The Foundation retains the rights to the world premiere of the film upon its completion, and the winner will have separate contracts with each entity. The winner will retain creative control over their film in so far as it is produced within the criteria mentioned below.
Eligibility & Submission Requirements
If you wish to apply for this initiative, you must meet the eligibility criteria listed below and submit the required materials. Please read the following information carefully before applying, as incomplete or ineligible submissions will not be considered and will be automatically disqualified:
• You must be a UAE resident with an original Arabic-language feature-film script that you have written yourself. Scripts must be in Arabic and cannot be translated by a third party. All nationalities that meet this criterion are welcome to apply.
• You must submit a full, completed draft of your script (minimum 75 pages long). Incomplete drafts will not be accepted. You must have written the beginning, middle and end of your story to work on.
• You must submit a budget summary or financial plan for how the funds will be used.
• You must have a minimum of one director’s credit, which you can demonstrate by submitting a web link or movie file for a full film you have directed. This can either be a short or feature-length film, but it cannot be a trailer. Alternatively, if you are a scriptwriter who does not direct, you must have a director with at least one film on their resume who is attached to your project and is committed to directing your film, if awarded. They must submit a sample of previous film work.
• You must submit a one-page synopsis of your script.
• You must submit a one-page biography of yourself, and your director, if this is a separate person.
• As the scriptwriter, you must be available to participate in the mandatory script lab and pitching coaching training in the run up to Sharjah Film Platform (sessions will be held throughout the week, including weekends with dates and venue TBA), and you must attend the onsite pitching event at Sharjah Art Foundation to present your script to the judges on 26 November 2021, during the closing weekend of Sharjah Film Platform.
• There will only be one winning scriptwriter. The winner must be available to go into production in 2022 and complete their film within 24 months of receiving the award, with the support of Sharjah Art Foundation and the SFP4 industry partner, Sharjah Media City (SHAMS).
• The winning film must be shot on location in Sharjah (or at least 80% of the film). The winner will be offered support by Sharjah Art Foundation and Sharjah Media City (SHAMS) to find filming locations in the emirate.
Submission Checklist & Application
• Completed Arabic feature film script
• Budget summary or financial plan
• Proof of previous directorial work (web link or film file of a full-length short or feature film)
• One-page detailed film synopsis
• One-page biography (of both writer and director, if it is not the same person)
Last year was the first edition of the Pitching Forum that included a monetary prize. The recipient of the SFP3 Pitching Forum Prize in 2020 was Abdulla Al Kaabi, for his feature film script Camel Tears, which is currently in pre-production.