Sharjah Art Foundation recognised outstanding films in the Experimental, Narrative and Documentary categories at the recently concluded Sharjah Film Platform 5 (SFP5). The awarding ceremony took place on 30 October 2022 at the Heritage Area, Heart of Sharjah.
The Foundation also announced the winner of this year’s Pitching Forum, an open call feature scriptwriting competition, offering one scriptwriter based in the UAE an opportunity to win 200,000 AED to turn their Arabic language feature-length script into a film.
Best Experimental Feature Film: Copacabana Papers (2021) by Fernando Portabales. According to the jury, ‘it is a film that packs a punch; in its chaotic style, fast paced editing and immense archive of pop culture, fashion, film and music references, this film challenges the concept of freedom through the journey of a provocative artist whose means of self-expression consisted of inventing a groundbreaking night life in Buenos Aires for a community that defied all social construct.’
Best Experimental Short Film: How to Reverse a Spell: The Promise of an Archive (2022) by Yasmine Benabdallah. The jury celebrated this ‘desktop film’ as it ‘uses the computer screen itself as a form of reflection on searching and navigating lost public archives in Morocco.’ Adding to that, the jury also said that the ‘disappearance of these files poses relevant questions applicable not only to Morocco but to other countries in the region as well.’
Honourable Mention (Experimental): INCIPINECE (2021) by Yaroslav Bulavin. The jury selected this ‘haunting and mesmerising film’ about water which was made without the use of computer effects. According to the jury, ‘the film served as a necessary reminder about the fragile state of the natural ecosystem on this planet.’
Best Narrative Feature Film: A Second Life, GADHA (2022) by Anis Lassoued. The jury found the ‘film both touching and thought-provoking. It is very well-scripted and beautifully staged and the actors' performances deeply touched the jury.’
Best Narrative Short Film: Hello (2022) by Catherine Mazoyer. The film captivated the jury with its ‘beautiful and thought-provoking story that escapes a heavy tone. It also deals with the theme of the fear of rejection using a light-hearted dialogue and an original narrative.’
Honourable Mention (Narrative): The Recess (2021) by Navid Nikkahah Azad. Speaking about the film, the jury appreciated the way it ‘tackles the image of gender oppression’. Additionally, they were also impressed with how ‘the director presented the main character in a sensitive and realistic way that convinced any viewer to live in the character’s world, as well as the unique dialogue between the girls formed an outstanding example of the art of short film.’
Best Documentary Feature Film: Veins of the Amazon (2021) by Alvaro Sarmiento, Diego Sarmiento and Terje Toomistu. The jury described it as a ‘brilliantly conceived and executed film documenting indigenous life along the Amazon river.’ In addition to the quality of the work, ‘the documentary reorients us, centring the world with people and their lives on a moving ship and its river edges.’
Best Documentary Short Film: 20 pounds per month (2019) by Hassan Ayman Abodoma. The film impressed the jury as ‘it depicted great humanity and awareness that brings viewers into a domestic and class reality on the verge of extinction.’ According to the jury, ‘the short film is deeply affecting in its portrayal of intimacy and anticipation through considered directing and portraiture of a spirited character and life force.’
Honourable Mention (Documentary): As I want (2021) by Samaher Alqadi. The jury honoured the ‘brave, unflinching and complexly layered film that conveys the unbreakable weave of the personal and political viewpoints on the streets and in the home.’ The jury acknowledged the ‘director’s creation of an impactful artwork under ongoing conditions of brutality and great insecurity, making it a deeply powerful and affecting film.’
Pitching Forum Winner
A jury of filmmakers and industry experts also announced the winner of this year’s Pitching Forum: Sameeha bint Saeed Alavi was awarded the cash prize to support the production of her feature-length Arabic language screenplay titled Nabil.
Supported by Sharjah Media City (Shams), Pitching Forum is part of SFP Industry Hub which was created to inspire film industry professionals and enable the development of the work of filmmakers by connecting them with film industry professionals. Apart from The Pitching Forum, the Script Lab, a professional scriptwriting course is also a component of the Industry Hub. The latest addition, The Film Circulation Initiative, in partnership with the Network of Alternative Arab Screens (NAAS), enables the circulation of short and feature-length films through NAAS’s platform and network.
Sharjah Film Platform (SFP) is an annual festival of independent cinema, documentary filmmaking and moving image where audiences can discover new approaches to film and art. The ten-day event—which includes a range of regional and international films, talks by filmmakers and industry professionals, musical concerts and mixers—is centred around Mirage City Cinema (MCC), the open-air theatre in Sharjah’s historical quarter.
Sharjah Art Foundation’s annual film festival brings together more than 30 films reflecting new voices in independent cinema
Sharjah Film Platform 5 (SFP5) features a robust programme of regional and international films in narrative, documentary and experimental genres by both emerging and award-winning filmmakers
Sharjah Art Foundation to present narrative, documentary and experimental movies at the fifth annual film festival
Sharjah Film Platform 5 (SFP5) screens more than 30 films by both emerging and award-winning filmmakers