10-day Dubai festival to screen 61 films created by UAE children

Talent is not limited to adults alone, as the third edition of the Children's International Film Festival or Ciff kicks off another celebration of cinematic creativity.

To be held under the patronage of Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development of the UAE, Ciff runs from April 28 until May 7, and will screen 117 films during its 10-day run; 61 of which have been created by children based in the emirates.

Across the 10-day festival, which will be held at Vox Cinemas across various emirates, children and parents will get the opportunity to watch shorts, features and documentaries from 66 countries in 55 languages.

The organisers stat,e compared to 410 films submitted last year, they have recorded a significant increases in submissions, reflecting a growth of 64 per cent.

With prizes to be won amounting to a value of Dh100,000 across 35 awards, the closing ceremony on May 7 will see winnder announced across four categories, including three audience choice awards for international films, 11 awards for the 'Made in UAE' segment, five equipment awards worth Dh10,000 each for the Nikon Film Poster Contest, while the Dubai Customs Film Contest will hand out Dh50,000 in prize money across five awards.

Meanwhile, three winning 'Made in UAE' student films will enter seven other children’s film festivals including Paris, Seattle, Bologna, Valencia, Plasencia, Nairobi and Sydney.

Made in UAE

Speaking with Emirates 24|7, Ciff Festival Director and Founder, Deepak Jain said the idea behind the festival was not just a promotional move, but rather a unified effort in enhancing and nurturing organic talent in the UAE.

He said: "We have already seen immense talent emerge from our previous editions, with one film in 2014, while two others in 2015 going on to win award at international film festivals.

"This year's Ciff has witnessed over 1,150 films submitted for the festival selection, of which 117 were selected. While the 'Made in UAE' segment saw 160 films created for Ciff across five emirates, of which 134 films were submitted and 61 made the cut to be screened at the festival."

The local short-films have been produced in a span of five months by UAE school students aged between 12 and 17 years.

Co-founder Jyoti Jain added: “We are very proud to announce that like last year, films ‘Made in UAE’ by students were screened at several film festivals across the world and two of these won International Awards in Australia.

"'The Good Side Of Bad', a film by Jumeirah English Speaking School, Dubai won the Best Camera Operation by a Child and 'Mindbender', a film by Kings’ School Al Barsha, Dubai won the Best Editing by a Child, at KidzFlicks, Sydney.”

Quiz Chairman of the Dubai Film and TV Commission, Jamal Al Sharif, whether this organic growth can be sustained and he said: "That is the idea of the film festival, which allows us to focus now on creating and honing talent that exists in the UAE."

He continued: "This is the reason why we waived permit fees for students filming for the festival, just so that we could provide them the access and the avenue to get this platform.

"Can this growth be sustained? Well, take last year's Ciff feature film contendor, 'The GamesMaker', which secured a Middle East distribution after being part of the festival. It is possible."

Films to watch

The opening film at the festival is the Turkish film 'EV', an eight-minute short film, which sees the world of refugees from the eyes of a Syrian child.

Other notable films at the festival includes the Oscar nominated 'Boy & The World', an animated feature film that has been created entirely with crayons.

'My Friend Raffi' is an award winning German film, which narrates the story of a gold hamster who can sniff out smuggled goods.

From the 'Made in UAE' segment, several short films tackle the sensitive subject of childhood bullying, with 'A Knight in Shining Armour' narrating the story of an introvert girl who is bullied by her classmates.

'Bullying' tells you to find your inner courage to stop bullying, while 'Epiphany' sees the film's protagonist uncover that his virtual friend and the person who bullies him in real-life are the same.

The films will be screened at Vox Cinemas in Mall of the Emirates, Mirdif City Centre, Yas Mall Abu Dhabi, Ajman City Centre and Fujairah City Centre.

Public screenings will be held on April 29 and 30 at Mall of Emirates only, with special school screenings hosted during the week.

Tickets are priced at Dh15.