Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) today announced winners of awards for exemplary narrative, documentary and experimental films at the third edition of its annual film festival, Sharjah Film Platform 3 (SFP3), held from 14 to 21 November 2020. The award for Best Narrative Feature went to The Name of the Flowers, directed by Bahman Tavoosi, while Best Narrative Short went to Stay Awake, Be Ready, directed by Pham Thien An. Mothers of the Land, directed by Alvaro and Diego Sarmiento, was awarded Best Documentary Feature, and I Have Seen Nothing, I Have Seen All, directed by Yaser Kassab, received Best Documentary Short. In the experimental film category, The Witch’s Cauldron, directed by Branislav Jankic, was selected as Best Experimental Feature, and Fasten Your Seatbelts While Seated, directed by Samir Radwan, was awarded Best Experimental Short.

The jury also awarded Special Mentions to An-Nissa, directed by Ymane Fakhir (narrative category); How the Air Feels, directed by Khaula Malik (documentary category); The Wishing Tree, directed by Silvina Der Meguerditchian (documentary category); and Phantom Menace directed by Graeme Arnfield (experimental category). Shame, directed by Abdullah Al Benhamdah (narrative category), received a Commendation.

The jury of international filmmakers, producers and critics who selected the awardees was composed of John Akomfrah (filmmaker), Kerem Ayan (Director, Istanbul International Film Festival), Iftikhar Dadi (teacher and researcher), Mounir Fatmi (artist), Eve Gabereau (Founder and CEO, Modern Films Entertainment), Delphine Garde-Mroueh (film programmer), Alice Kahroubi (Cannes Film Corner), Viola Shafik (film theorist) and Apichatpong Weerasethakul (filmmaker).

Sharjah Art Foundation also named filmmaker and scriptwriter Abdulla Al Kaabi as the winner of the Sharjah Film Platform Pitching Forum Prize. He will receive a 200,000 AED production fund to develop his script Camel Tears into a feature film. Endowed by Sharjah Art Foundation and the SFP3 Industry Hub Partner, Sharjah Media City (Shams), the production fund had originally been set at 100,000 AED. It was increased to 200,000 AED in consideration of the economic hardships faced by artists due to the global pandemic. The production of Al Kaabi’s film is expected to begin in early 2021, and shooting will take place in different locations across Sharjah.

Part of the Industry Hub, a new professional programme launched at Sharjah Film Platform 2020 to build on SFP’s commitment to nurturing filmmaking regionally and internationally, the Pitching Forum is an initiative that offers Emirati scriptwriters professional coaching in how to pitch a film script and the opportunity to pitch their script to a panel of local industry judges for the chance to win the production fund. The Pitching Forum panel for 2020 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 Industry Hub, which features three other initiatives—the Script Lab, the Pre-production Strategies Course and the Virtual Film Distribution Market—is supported by Sharjah Film Platform’s 2020 Industry Partner, Sharjah Media City (Shams). The Pitching Forum was also supported by the SFP3 Learning Programme Partners, New York Film Academy (NYFA) and Grey Matter.

Taking place both on-site and online from 14 through 21 November 2020, the third edition of SFP was held in three venues in the city of Sharjah: the Foundation’s open-air contemporary theatre, Mirage City Cinema; the newly renovated iconic landmark The Flying Saucer; and CINEMACITY IMAX, Zero 6 Mall. The festival featured over 60 short and feature-length narrative, documentary and experimental films made by local, regional and international filmmakers as well as awards, talks and workshops exploring the latest techniques and theories in film.

The third edition of Sharjah Film Platform was supported by the following:

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
Institut Français
Embassy of Switzerland to the UAE and Bahrain

About Sharjah Film Platform

Sharjah Film Platform is an annual Sharjah Art Foundation initiative launched in 2018 as a resource to support emerging and established filmmakers. SFP encompasses four core components: a programme of film screenings; a series of talks, workshops and discussions; the annual Short Film Production Grant; and the newly launched Industry Hub initiative, which supports film production and distribution in the MENASA region. Together, the platform continues the Foundation’s longstanding commitment to film programming and to supporting emerging and established filmmakers, film producers, critics and students.

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 nonprofit and cultural organisations, corporate sponsors and individual patrons. All events 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 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 in 2019, it was designated the UNESCO ‘World Book Capital’.

Media Contacts
Alyazeyah Al Reyaysa