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Sharjah Art Foundation announces winners of the Sharjah Film Platform 4

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Sharjah Art Foundation has 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 on Saturday.

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.

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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 programs: ‘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.

Competition winners

‘Fire in the Mountains’ by Atjipal Singh won in the category of Best Narrative Feature Film:. 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.”

‘Myth of Manila’ by Janus Victoria was judged the Best Narrative Feature Film. 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.”

‘Dance With A Bullet’ by Dhyaa Joda won the Best Documentary Feature Film award. 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.”

‘Galb’Elchaouf ‘ by Abdessamad El Montassir won the Best Documentary Short Film award. 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.”

‘The Timekeepers of Eternity’ by Aristotelis Maragkos was judged the Best Experimental Feature Film. 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.”

‘The Sky Oscillates Between Eternity and Its Immediate Consequences’ by Nadim Choufi won in the category of Best Experimental Short Film. 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 Dh.200,000 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.

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Adele postpones Las Vegas residency due to COVID-19 impact, delivery delays

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Adele has postponed a 24-date Las Vegas residency hours before it was to start, citing delivery delays and coronavirus illness in her crew.

The chart-topping British singer said she was “gutted” and promised to reschedule the shows.

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In a video message posted on social media, a tearful Adele said: “I’m so sorry but my show ain’t ready.”

“We’ve tried absolutely everything that we can to pull it together in time and for it to be good enough for you but we’ve been absolutely destroyed by delivery delays and COVID,” she said, adding that “half my team are down with” the virus.

Adele had been due to perform 24 shows at Caesars Palace Hotel starting Friday following the release of her fourth album, “30.”

In a tweet, Caesars Palace said it understood fans’ disappointment but added: “Creating a show of this magnitude is incredibly complex. We fully support Adele and are confident the show she unveils at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace will be extraordinary.”

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RAK arts festival celebrates 10th anniversary in February launch

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The Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival (RAKFAF) will celebrate its 10th edition this year, under the theme ‘The Journey,’ a celebration of the annual event’s first decade and the first 50 years of the United Arab Emirates.

The annual arts festival – established under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah – will open to the public on Friday 4 February and run until Thursday, 31 March 2022.

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Artists will share their interpretations of what this theme means to them through the lens of ancestry, migration, national identity, and personal growth.

The historic Ras Al Khaimah pearling village of Al Jazirah Al Hamra will once again provide the central backdrop for the Festival, having been its home for the past three years and standing as a critical bridge between Ras Al Khaimah’s cultural heritage and contemporary art scene.

Satellite exhibition sites will also offer unique settings for different events including the public viewing deck of the UAE’s highest peak Jebel Jais and the Open Park on Al Marjan Island.

The free-to-attend outdoor art, photography, and sculpture exhibition will present a diverse collection of artworks from over 150 artists hailing from more than 45 countries. There will also be a vibrant program of film screenings, workshops, guided tours, and other events held across the Festival’s various locations.

The Festival’s Director, Suqrat bin Bisher, noted that despite the global pandemic hitting the event last year, it remained popular.

“After the success of last year’s Festival which played a truly important role in bringing the community together in spite of a global pandemic, we are excited to reach this 10th year in which we celebrate togetherness, humanity and Ras Al Khaimah’s role in the world of art and culture,” Bisher said.

“Our stunning natural landscape offers the perfect backdrop for open-air events from film to exhibitions in addition to helping us broaden the festival’s reach to those who may not otherwise have discovered us.”

Speaking ahead of the Festival’s opening next month, His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, suggested that the 10th year of RAKRAF is a momentous occasion and a cause for great celebration, coinciding as it does with the UAE’s 51st year.

“Arts and culture are vital components in humanity’s ongoing pursuit of greater togetherness and tolerance, as these fields promote the virtues of dialogue, collaboration and understanding, which remain a constant means of uniting humanity. The festival provides a platform for artists from all over the world, as well as our local talent and community members, to come together in a unique location to converse, to forge bonds and to learn, all through the medium of art and culture,” he said.

All international standard COVID-19 safety guidelines are in place for RAKFAF.

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Al Arabiya becomes first regional news channel to exceed 10 mln YouTube subscribers

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Al Arabiya has become the first news channel in the Arab region to reach over 10 million YouTube subscribers.

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Videos posted on Al Arabiya’s YouTube channel have gained over 5 billion views, a number no other competing news channel in the Arab region has reached.
The Al Arabiya team has published 110,000 videos and the hours watched on the Arabic YouTube channel exceeded the 200-million-hour mark.
The numbers also reveal more about the keenness of Arab nationals to follow and interact with Al Arabiya and its published content. Al Arabiya videos on YouTube have received more than 52 million likes, and more than 20 million comments.
Al Arabiya is not only leading the Arab region channels on YouTube, but also on other social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and others.
Mamdouh al-Muhaini, General Manager of Al-Arabiya and Al-Hadath channels, confirmed that Al Arabiya always aims to lead, whether as a television station or through its various platforms on social media.
Al-Muhaini pointed out that these figures confirm the trust of the viewers and followers of Al Arabiya, “and this trust is a major responsibility that falls on the shoulders of Al Arabiya and its employees.”
He also stressed that “Al Arabiya has not and will not stop improving to keep up with anything new in the media,” explaining that “the content published on the Al Arabiya platforms always takes into account the age group and the geographical location of the reach of each media platform in different countries.”

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