The Emirate of Sharjah is leading a major cultural project, not only at the state or regional level, but also expanding its vision to be of Arab and international dimensions, and one of its pillars is evident in the interest in the knowledge and awareness of new generations, as the agenda of the emirate’s activities reveals a series of local and international activities concerned with providing art to the child. And enhancing his chances of discovering his talents and realizing his role in the country’s march.
Among these annual activities is the “Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth”, which receives direct attention from His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and the support of his wife, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Muhammad Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs. It is one of the unique models in the Arab cultural scene that celebrates the cinema of young people, adolescents and youth, and annually opens its doors to embrace talented Emiratis and residents of the country with their peers from the stars and international filmmakers.
On the effort and vision behind the festival organized by the “Fann” Foundation, the goals it seeks, and the integration it achieves with the cultural movement in the emirate and the country .. Emirates News Agency / WAM / conducted this dialogue with Sheikha Jawaher Bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, Director of the “FUN” Foundation “.
Sheikha Jawaher Bint Abdullah Al Qasimi said that the “Fann” Foundation seeks to nurture a promising generation of creative artists and filmmakers and to promote new artistic works and films produced by children and young people from the Emirate of Sharjah and the United Arab Emirates and to display them in film festivals and international conferences .. It also aims to support Talents and encouraging them through festivals, conferences and workshops at the local and international levels, in addition to providing an interconnected network of talented and promising young people, enabling them to exchange experiences and expertise on a global scale and encouraging their work in the field of media art and the film industry.
On the vision of “Fann” Foundation towards cinema and its impact on building conscious generations and investing in their energies .. She explained that cinema is not just a static industry measured by the outcome of the box office, but rather a visual language that requires those in charge of it to achieve a balance between the technical and productive aspects and the message of art that addresses the general public. From here, we chose to make the Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth not a platform for screening new films, but rather a platform for engaging children and youth in the experience of making films that express them.
She added that we believe that cinema is not a luxury, but rather is one of the most influential forms of creativity in the process of development and the upbringing of generations committed to the values of humanity and aware of their role towards people in various parts of the world, and at the same time aware of their power to achieve the desired change for the future of their country. Artistic taste through good preparation and thoughtful selection of the film product that is shown in all sessions of the Sharjah Film Festival for children and youth. The promotion of art is a common societal and institutional task.
On the extent of the interest of the Emirate of Sharjah in child cinema .. Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi explained that child cinema enjoys a special place in light of the various arts and cultural activities sponsored by the emirate, as the active artistic environment helped the regularity and success of the Sharjah Film Festival sessions for children and youth, as well as the continuous development that took place. On its course in terms of the quality of films and their aiming goals … Pointing out that the great space that Sharjah grants to the seventh art comes within the map of its activities with the aim of supporting Arab cinematic production that takes into account aesthetic values and joins the latest technologies in the cinema industry by benefiting from the experiences of festivals and the dialogues held on the sidelines. And seminars and workshops.
Undoubtedly, she continued, the cultural and artistic movement witnessed by Sharjah in general is reflected in the development of future programs and plans in the arts sectors in light of a civilized climate that the emirate is keen on by looking at global innovations and keeping pace with new ones in a way that contributes to reformulating the spirit of the times on the basis of developing common human taste. And, the accumulation of qualitative festivals experiences in Sharjah have made them acquire an inspiring character that motivates the public to interact and benefit, which gives each event a cognitive and educational value that is rooted in the awareness of the participants of all groups.
And on the direction of the “FUN” Foundation in organizing events and activities for children and youth .. Sheikha Jawaher Bint Abdullah Al Qasimi said the Foundation is keen on the educational dimension in its programs as a means of promoting and supporting filmmaking, photography, graphic design and animation created by talented children who join the workshops. Technical specialist in developing skills in this aspect.
She added that the approach that crystallized with the regularity of the Sharjah Film Festival sessions focuses on the concept of continuous learning and the transfer of experiences with the aim of empowering children and youth to make and taste cinema, and based on this vision and within the framework of preparations for the next session of the Sharjah Film Festival, the “FUN” Foundation is preparing to train children of different age groups. Different within the program “Rehabilitation of Promising Arbitrators” with the aim of educating the children participating in cinematography in a way that qualifies them to evaluate films and play an active role in the jury of the festival films, embodying the principle of empowerment and raising children’s cinematic awareness by involving them in all stages of preparation and implementation of the festival that targets them with its shows.
She pointed out that the Foundation has an agenda full of many workshops and virtual training sessions, such as the creative workshop that focused on “silhouette animation” aimed at teaching character formation techniques and presenting them with templates for animation movies using the stop motion technology. Many events, dialogue sessions and educational workshops have also been held remotely during the past period. Related to cinematic culture and filmmaking techniques.
And about how the changes that the world is witnessing due to the Corona pandemic affect art and the preparations of the “art” Foundation to organize a new session of the Sharjah Film Festival for children and youth .. Sheikha Jawaher Bint Abdullah Al Qasimi said that the global health crisis has deepened the view on art by employing it through multiple modes of reception To achieve the goal of restoring hope and transforming artistic activity into an inspiring performance in difficult times after a full year of closure and exceptional challenges … Hence, arrangements are still underway to organize the festival after the organization of the eighth edition has been postponed until October 2021, in recognition of the importance of the external participations that won the event Its global character, which reflects the status of Sharjah, as well as with the aim of providing an opportunity for wider participation in the new session of the festival as a result of the exceptional circumstances imposed by the Corona crisis at the present time.
She explained that the Sharjah Festival dedicated to children and youth films adds to the emirate the task of promoting the seventh art at the Arab level by establishing aesthetic awareness and positive values among the new generation that keep pace with the latest technologies and visual content through multimedia, which requires specialization and cumulative experience in supervising the festival to provide cinematic content. It is consistent with Sharjah’s vision of the function of art in developing conscience and uplifting taste since childhood.
She stated that in order not to be limited to watching the new children’s cinema at the time of the annual festival, the festival initiated the launch of an international film platform “At Our Home Cinema” through its official website. All the offers available on the platform were carefully selected and focused on the messages that it raises from a human angle that addresses many of the current issues. .
And about the status of the Sharjah International Film Festival for children and youth globally, and whether there are partnerships that bring it together with similar festivals in foreign countries .. Sheikha Jawaher Bint Abdullah Al Qasimi said to the festival a great presence on the map of international festivals concerned with child cinema, which is reflected in the names it attracts annually and the films it attracts. It is being shown for the first time in the Arab region and appreciated by filmmakers specializing in children, adolescents and youth around the world.
Emphasizing on the festival’s mission and objectives, the Foundation recently held the virtual event of the International Children’s Film Forum organized by the Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth and in partnership with the “Lahore International Children’s Film Festival” and the forum brought together film experts who focused on the impact of current conditions on the film industry and how to create alternatives to ensure Festivals continue to be regular and new cinematic productions are not disrupted.
She indicated that the forum discussed and presented basic ideas about the future of film festivals, caring for children’s talents and their social impact, exploring opportunities and areas of cooperation that contribute to creating new perceptions to enhance the link of cinema with development and restore conscience to art after societies lived through a year ago facing conditions of closure, disruption of activities, and the emergence of priority The health concerns that led to the birth of different thinking styles require studying and contemplating their repercussions on the human being and his relationship with committed art in the time of the epidemic.