Sharjah Art Foundation’s annual film festival, Sharjah Film Platform (SFP), returns for its third edition from 14 to 21 November 2020. In addition to presenting a rich programme of film screenings, workshops and talks, and in keeping with its commitment to supporting and nurturing filmmaking talent regionally and internationally, Sharjah Film Platform is introducing the Industry Hub. The Hub includes four main initiatives: the Script Lab, the Pre-production Strategies Course, the Virtual Film Distribution Market and the Pitching Forum.

Script Lab

The Script Lab is an immersive three-week online scriptwriting course open to participants of all nationalities who have a draft of a feature-length script in English or Arabic that would benefit from professional development in a supportive and inspiring environment. With a focus on strengthening the narrative arc and deepening character development, the course provides intensive training to help participants take their scripts to the next level. By the end of the course, participants can expect to have a more polished script that will be in a better position to secure funding or go into production.

The Script Lab will be offered simultaneously in both English and Arabic in parallel online courses that will run from 25 October to 15 November 2020. To register to participate in the online Script Lab, please select the relevant page below and register there.

Pre-production Strategies Course

How can producers turn projects into fully realised films? This online professional training course presents a real-world overview of how to prepare for a film shoot before the camera starts rolling. Participants in this course will learn how to pitch and sell ideas, break down a script into a shooting schedule, create and manage a film budget, determine the best location(s) for filming, secure the right cast and crew, work with a director and handle other critical aspects that a producer will face.

The Pre-production Strategies Course will be offered simultaneously in both English and Arabic in parallel online courses that will run from 14 to 21 November 2020. To register to participate in the online Pre-production Strategies Course, please select the relevant page below and register there.

Pitching Forum

Returning for a second year in an expanded format, the Pitching Forum is offering one Emirati scriptwriter an opportunity to win 100,000 AED to turn his/her script into a feature film. Shortlisted from a wider pool of applicants, 10 finalists who have completed a feature-length script in the Arabic language will receive professional coaching in how to pitch a film script and then pitch their script to a panel of local industry judges. The online coaching sessions for the finalists will take place on Friday, 13 November, and Saturday, 14 November, over Zoom, and the live one-time pitching event will be held on Friday, 20 November 2020. Production of the selected film should take place in Sharjah in 2021.

To apply for this open call, please select the relevant page below and send your submission materials to the email address provided there. The deadline for submissions is 25 October 2020.

Virtual Film Distribution Market

The Virtual Film Distribution Market is a new online distribution initiative in which this year’s Sharjah Film Platform filmmakers can participate. If they opt in, they will have the chance to receive distribution support for their films.

A catalogue of the films by those SFP filmmakers who opt in will be privately showcased online to an invited list of industry guests, including sales agents, distributors, TV broadcasters, buyers, art house cinemas and film festival programmers, both regional and international. The industry guests will have log-in access during the dates of the festival and for up to two months after SFP ends.

This initiative provides the festival’s filmmakers with a vital opportunity to receive industry exposure that may open the door to wider distribution of their films. Industry guests who access the private catalogue will be able to contact filmmakers/rights holders directly if they are interested in discussing a potential deal and/or buying a film. Sharjah Art Foundation and its partners do not hold the rights to any of these films and are in no way involved in facilitating negotiations or acquisitions.

Entry to this distribution initiative is reserved for those filmmakers who have films screening at the third edition of Sharjah Film Platform in November 2020.

Industry Partner

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SFP3 Industry Hub

Sharjah Film Platform 3

The third edition of Sharjah Art Foundation’s film festival, Sharjah Film Platform 3 (SFP3), features over 60 short and feature-length films, a public programme of talks and workshops, the SFP Industry Hub and awards. SFP3 takes place across cinemas in Sharjah and online.