SIFF brings the joy of world cinema to UAE’s schools - GulfToday

SIFF brings the joy of world cinema to UAE’s schools


A scene from Mush-Mush and the Mushables.

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

People from around the world flock to the virtual theatres of the 8th Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth (SIFF 2021) to relish 80+ high-quality films that bring together a diversity of creative voices to tell the stories of the younger generation. SIFF 2021 organiser, FUNN, is also taking the magic of cinema to hundreds of school students across the nation. A total of 13 films featuring 12 shorts including Family Bonds; The School by the Sea; Barcode; and 1 feature-length documentary, The Orphanage mixed fun and learning for schoolers, aged 4 and above, on Monday.

From Tulip, an award-winning stop-motion adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s Thumbelina to Mush-Mush and the Mushables featuring a trio of fun-loving fungi who embark on a journey of self-discovery and the heartwarming tale of a plucky little dinosaur in Tiny T. Rex And The Impossible Hug, Day 4 of the eighth edition of the Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth (SIFF) opens its ‘Main Cinema’ virtual screenings with valuable life lessons in kindness, perseverance, and a never-say-die spirit.

The day’s screenings continue with new perspectives of truth as showcased in Shoqan and an exploration of loss in the Taiwanese film, Big Little Man.

Targeting children in high school and universities is Timo’s Winter, an Italian movie that talks of grief; French film  Doubout – Standup; and Al-Sit from Sudan. Two movies in this category highlight the life of individuals with unique health ailments such as chromesthesia in the South Korean musical, Ode to Misfits, and Ander, which is the story of a boy with acute asthma and a severe uncommon dairy allergy.

Films for children up to age 10 includes The Little Boat That Wanted To Fly from Russia; Zog and the Flying Doctor from the UK; My Brother Luca – a charming and animated short film that introduces autism and promotes sibling connections; Mum Is Pouring Rain, a heartwarming tale from France, and award-winning Windup.

Seven short films will be screened for children in the 10+ category on October 13. These include Roberto; Kata; Mom’s Hair; A Trip to My Friend’s Home; Only a Child; Sweet Taste of Darkness; and Bach-Hong.

The films in the Mini Cinema section include two feature films, Running Against The Wind, a well-crafted movie about two boys in Ethiopia who race against time to make their dreams come true; and award-winning Turkish film In My Dream.

An earlier report says: Apart from over 80 screenings on its virtual platform, the recently opened Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth (SIFF 2021) is making the rounds of schools across the UAE, taking key messages and life lessons through the magic of film to students. The festival screened five animations from around the world at a school on Sunday.  

These included Kiri & Lou: Air directed by acclaimed filmmaker Harry Sinclair; The Snail and the Whale from the UK which portrays an unusual friendship, Umbrella, which is making its Middle East premier at SIFF 2021; followed by the short, 11-minute animation from Argentina, Little Forest; and finally, the French – Creole production Vanille, which portrays the adventures of a young girl as she fights a hair-stealing monster in her aunt’s town.

Movie buffs in the UAE and beyond were in for a real treat on Monday, October 12, the third day of SIFF 2021, with several celebrated films that have captured the imagination of young audiences around the world on the list.

Among the 27 films being streamed on SIFF’s brand-new 3D platform, is the award-winning Russian animated film, The Little Boat that Wanted to Fly, directed by Ekaterina Filippova. Being shown for the first time in the GCC, the short film which narrates a touching story about inclusion – a boat that doesn’t fit in with others because it wants to fly – won the Best Children’s Film Award at the 2020 World Festival of Animated Film (WFAF).

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