Directors note

Dear cinema enthusiasts,

The forthcoming fifth edition of the Sharjah International Children’s Film Festival raises a number of important questions relating to the annual event’s vision and objectives. What does it seek to achieve? How does it impact the Arab film industry? Does the ‘Seventh Art’ in the Arab world see enough promise to urge us to continue with organising such a festival?

The answers to these questions can be found by assessing the goals of the Sharjah cultural project, which has provided a compass for the festival’s directions. The essence of the project is that creativity plays an instrumental role in enhancing communication between different cultures around the world and that children are essential in establishing this process.

As well as recognising that children are the cultural emissaries of the future, FUNN Foundation’s efforts in organising the Sharjah International Children’s Film Festival are also based on the important role that they play in the development process for Sharjah and for the UAE. The emirate fully understands that children are the human capital of the future, with their creativity and inventiveness a vital asset to ensure societal development.

Sharjah’s vision for the country’s film industry is not just restricted to cultural and social considerations either. The potential economic opportunities provided by the sector are revealed through statistics that indicate that overall investment in the film industry in this region is valued at USD 26 billion, with the figure anticipated to reach USD 35 billion by 2020.

The global awareness of the importance of visual arts is emphasised by the array of international awards that are hosted in this field, with offerings from this part of the world excelling on the international stage. Arabic films have won numerous accolades and plaudits at renowned festivals thanks to directors, camerapersons, authors and screen writers from Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, among other Arab countries.

Based on these observations, Sharjah International Children’s Film Festival’s vital role in supporting talented young film-fans and in promoting Sharjah’s position on the world’s map of media arts becomes clear.

But a vision remains just that – a vision – unless it is given the necessary wings to take flight. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank Her Highness, Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, for her unwavering efforts and unstinting commitment to the festival. I would also like to extend my gratitude to all those who immerse themselves in the cinematic arts, as is their passion that helps create successful Sharjah International Children’s Film Festivals, year after year.

Jawaher Bint Abdullah Al Qasimi,

Director of FUNN and Sharjah International Children’s Film Festival