Children film fest at VOX cinemas across UAE till May 2 (Khaleej Times)

Muaz Shabandri/Staff Reporter / 26 April 2015

Participants attended a 20-hour production event and explored the excitement and fun in producing short films.

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SHINING STARS ... Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan and Anil Kapoor pose for a picture with young film-makers at the Children’s International Film Festival at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai on Thursday. — KT photos by Mohammed Mustafa Khan

A group of young Emirati school children had their first taste of stardom on the opening day of the second Children’s International Film Festival (CIFF) hosted in Dubai. The film festival — hosted under the patronage of Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development of the UAE —  was opened on Thursday by Anil Kapoor. Taking place at VOX Cinemas across the UAE from April 23 to May 2, the festival features 120 films in 50 languages from 60 countries.
“I support all causes that can help give children a focus and spirit. If you work hard, have the passion and determination to make it, you will make it big. This is your first step towards a bright and successful future in film making,” Kapoor said.
Walking the red carpet with grace and pomp, Noora Jaber Al Harbi happily posed for photographers.
Noora and six of her school friends got together to make their first documentary on Emirati pride. They set out on a mission to share the stories of successful Emirati individuals with interesting stories.
Holding her DSLR camera, the fourth-grade student at Latifa School for Girls says her love for photography is inspired by the works of her father.
“I got my first camera when I was eight years old. It was a small Nikon camera and I enjoyed clicking pictures as a hobby. Now I take my own DSLR camera wherever I go and I click pictures whenever I see something interesting or go to nice places,” said Noora.

BUDDING ARTISTES ... Noora Jaber Al Harbi and her school friends at the festival.

The team was mentored by a professional production company - Katarat Ebda’a Art Production. Professional film-makers from the company set out on an ambitious project to train the young Emirati school children in the art of making short films.
Engaging young people in film making, providing motivation, introductory skills and helping them create their first film has been a fulfilling experience says Magy Saeed heads of talent development at Katarat.
“The children are extremely talented and what I have seen is that the younger children are fast-learners. For this film, the kids directed the film, made their own questions and did all the creative thinking. We only helped them when it came to editing the movie,” said Magy.
Participants attended a 20-hour production event and explored the excitement and fun in producing short films. They learned the basics of producing, filming, editing and directing during the hands-on production event.
“These films get submitted to international film festivals across the world and we conduct film making workshops for students that are a big help. The technical quality of films has been improving and they get three to four months to make their film. We want this festival to become the Oscars for children,” he said.
Over 15,000 people attended last year’s edition that featured over 60 films in 36 languages from 38 countries.
CIFF 2015 teamed up with Nikon Middle East to conduct several hands-on filmmaking workshops in schools across the UAE and trained a total of 2,316 students under the Nikon School.
Narendra Menon, Regional Sales Head, Nikon Middle East said, “This year’s theme focuses on the ‘Field of Vision,’ which establishes videography as an amplification of the senses of sight, sound, and motion, with the camera being a tool that extends one’s vision as well as perception. The works presented in this year’s festival demonstrate this notion, and we hope it will inspire videographers and filmmakers of all levels to continue to broaden their horizons, share their outlooks, and communicate their knowledge through visual arts.”