We are pleased to announce that filmmaker and scriptwriter Abdulla Al Kaabi is the winner of the Sharjah Film Platform 3 (SFP3) Industry Hub Pitching Forum Prize. Along with eight other Emirati scriptwriters, he pitched his script in a live event at the Foundation’s Bait Obaid Al Shamsi on Friday, 20 November 2020. Al Kaabi will receive a 200,000 AED production fund to turn his script, titled Camel Tears, into a feature film. Endowed by Sharjah Art Foundation and the SFP3 Industry Hub Partner, Sharjah Media City (Shams), the fund was initially set at 100,000 AED, but it was increased to 200,000 AED in consideration of the hardships faced by artists due to the current global pandemic.
The Pitching Forum is part of the Industry Hub, a new professional programme launched during SFP3 that also features three additional initiatives: the Script Lab, the Pre-production Strategies Course and the Virtual Film Distribution Market. Together, the four initiatives build on the SFP3 mission of nurturing filmmaking regionally and internationally.
The SFP3 Industry Hub Pitching Forum offers Emirati scriptwriters professional coaching in how to pitch a film script followed by an opportunity to pitch their script to a panel of local industry judges for the chance to win the production fund. This year’s 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.
Composed of reputed filmmakers and experts, the Pitching Forum jury carefully considered the nine scripts that had been 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 deep affection between a Bedouin and his camel. Film production is expected to begin in early 2021 across different locations in Sharjah. The Pitching Forum jury included Youssef Abou Bakr, Head of Creative Development, Art Format Lab; Nawaf Al Janahi, director and scriptwriter; Fagr Kassim Ali, Director, Media Sector Development, Sharjah Media City (Shams); Hana Alshateri, director and producer; and Manal Ali Bin Amro, director and scriptwriter.
The third edition of the Foundation’s annual film festival, Sharjah Film Platform 3, ran from 14 to 21 November 2020 and featured over 60 short and feature-length films in the narrative, documentary and experimental categories by both local and international filmmakers. Screened in cinemas and online, the festival films were available to audiences in the UAE and around the world. A public programme of online talks and discussions exploring current issues in film as well as a range of workshops suitable for both children and adults was also on offer throughout the festival period. Festival venues included the Foundation’s open-air Mirage City Cinema, the iconic Flying Saucer and the big screens in CINEMACITY IMAX, Zero 6 Mall.
Sharjah Art Foundation has supported artists working in the medium of film since its establishment in 2009 through core initiatives like the Sharjah Biennial, the Production Programme, year-round exhibitions and the Film Programme. Sharjah Film Platform was launched in 2018 as an additional dedicated initiative for celebrating and catalysing film production in the UAE, in the region and around the world.
The SFP3 Industry Hub Pitching Forum was supported by the SFP3 Industry Partner, Sharjah Media City (Shams), and the SFP3 Learning Programme Partners, New York Film Academy (NYFA) and Grey Matter.