Winners of Sharjah Film Platform Awards Announced

Published November 30th, 2021 - 07:36 GMT
Sharjah Film Platform 4 Also Awards 200,000 AED to Winner of the Pitching Forum for the Production of Arabic Language Feature-Length Film
Abdessamad El Montassir, Galb’Echaouf (still) 2021. Digital video, colour, sound,18 minutes.
Sharjah Film Platform 4 Also Awards 200,000 AED to Winner of the Pitching Forum for the Production of Arabic Language Feature-Length Film

Sharjah Art Foundation announced the winners of the Sharjah Film Platform 4 (SFP4) awards for outstanding short and feature length films in the experimental, documentary and narrative categories at the annual festival’s closing ceremony.

The films submitted for competition were selected from an international open call as well as first and second time filmmakers were juried by leading filmmakers and industry professionals.

Sharjah Film Platform 4 featured screenings of over 50 films, including world and regional premieres, talks and masterclasses with award-winning filmmakers as well as workshops for children.

This year’s festival also included two special programmes: ‘Director in Focus’ highlighting the work of award-winning Palestinian director Michel Khleifi, and ‘Her Journey’, presented in partnership with Istanbul Modern, exploring complex, women-centric stories in Turkish cinema through 10 feature-length, documentary and short films.

The 2021 Sharjah Film Platform winners in the juried competition are:

Best Narrative Feature Film

Fire in the Mountains by Atjipal Singh. The jury celebrated the director’s use of well-crafted storytelling noting that, ‘the director is painting a portrait of an isolated community where a woman is confronted with corruption and sorcery while struggling to make a better life for her family.’

Best Narrative Short Film

Myth of Manila by Janus Victoria. Speaking about the film, the jury appreciated, ‘the blending of documentary-like scenes with social realist drama in this film that uses dark humor to speak about superstition and the alienation of a woman in Manila during the pandemic.’

Best Documentary Feature Film

Dance With A Bullet by Dhyaa Joda. The jury found this film an unusually strong portrait of a young man forced to leave his homeland and start again in another land commenting that, ‘it offers a new perspective on the impact of war and migration on the soul. It’s a visually beautiful film, full of emotion and the beauty of dance, which captures the tragedy of the country itself and the pain suffered within each family.’

Best Documentary Short Film

Galb’Elchaouf by Abdessamad El Montassir. This film impressed the jury as, ‘a technically impressive, poetic and thematically coherent short which made full use of the short form. It evokes the mystery and magic of the Sahara Desert, which hides a tragic struggle for freedom. The film-maker captures the connection between the human struggle and the land, and he makes us feel that the desert itself is crying for his people.’

Best Experimental Feature Film

The Timekeepers of Eternity by Aristotelis Maragkos. The jury were captivated by the appropriation of the 1995 Stephen King TV movie The Langoliers, describing the film as, ‘a visual experiment that turns into a paper nightmare. Combining animation with black/white footage, the strong editing and its visual effects make it a unique cinematic work.’

Best Experimental Short Film

The Sky Oscillates Between Eternity and Its Immediate Consequences by Nadim Choufi. The jury described it as, ‘A visually striking film which takes the complexities of the present to envision a future. The film has a compelling narrative construct and is a daring experiment about the notion of time.’

The jury also awarded Honourable Mentions to: I Bit My Tongue by Nina Khada (Documentary Short), Zahorí by Marí Alessandrini (Narrative Feature) and The Clocks by Ecem Arslanay and Yiğit Tanel Kaçar (Experimental Short).

The jury members were Bani Khoshnoudi (artist and filmmaker); Akosua Adoma Owusu (filmmaker); Talal Derki (filmmaker); Lamia Joreige (artist, filmmaker); Bettina Steinbrügge (Director, Kunstverein In Hamburg); Halil Altindere (artist, filmmaker); Mike Goodridge (film producer); Renata Santoro (Head of Programming, Giornate Degli Autori); and Hala Lotfy (filmmaker).

A jury of filmmakers and industry experts also announced the winner of this year’s Pitching Forum – Yaser Al Neyadi for his script From 8 to 6. Al Neyadi was awarded 200,000 AED to support the production of his feature-length Arabic language screenplay. The Pitching Forum is a part of SFP’s Industry Hub, which returned for its third year and is supported by Sharjah Media City (SHAMS). The Industry Hub offers filmmakers opportunities to develop their projects, receive production funding and secure vital distribution support for completed films through the Virtual Film Distribution Platform.

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 recently launched Industry Hub initiative, which supports film production and distribution in the MENASA region and internationally.

Together, the platform continues the Foundation’s longstanding commitment to film programming and commissions as well as support for emerging and established filmmakers, film producers, critics and students.

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