Friday, April 25, 2014

The Knowledge Village Auditorium in Dubai was abuzz with excitement from children, parents, and teachers, as the very first edition of the Children’s International Film Festival (CIFF) had its grand opening on the evening of the 24th of April, 2014. 

The festival was inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Nahayan bin Mabarak Al Nahayan, the Minister for Culture, Youth and Community Development. The festival, which will run over the course of 10 days, will be screening 30 short films submitted by preteen and teenage student filmmakers based in the United Arab Emirates, as well as 50 international short films and feature films meant solely for children. The festival opened with His Highness Sheikh Nahayan addressing the crowd, as well as a speech by Mr. Deepak Jain, the Director of CIFF.

Festival Director, Mr. Deepak Jain

“The concept for the festival came about when I realised that content made by and for children was missing in this market, whereas there was children’s content available internationally,” said Mr. Jain. “With CIFF, we hope to bring a creative unified platform for children to showcase their filmmaking talents and express themselves through it.”

The opening night also featured a special screening of two short films; Slam Downs directed by Mr Jain himself, and Ostora, directed by UAE-based filmmaker Hani Kichi.

The final selection of films came from an overwhelming reception of nearly 400 films, both international productions and productions submitted by local schools. 80 films submitted by students from UAE-based schools were submitted through a competition organised by CIFF, of which 30 were chosen. Participating schools include GEMS Modern Academy, Dubai International Academy, Our Own High School Dubai, The Millennium School, and GEMS Winchester School. 50 international films from a number of countries, including the United States of America, United Kingdom, Spain, and the Netherlands.

The dashing filmmakers all the way from Canadian International School in Abu Dhabi! 

The festival will consist of public screenings, student screenings, and filmmaking workshops, up until the 2nd of May, 2014. The festival will be concluded with the award ceremony to be held on the 3rd of May, 2014, at the Dubai’s Men College in Dubai International Academic City. 

Awards will be presented to participants of the filmmaking competition for three of the best films, best director, best cinematographer, best editor, best story writer, and the audience choice award. The international films will also be receiving audience choice awards at the ceremony.

By Lavanya Narayan

Manipal University Dubai is the official knowledge partner of Children’s International Film Festival (CIFF) 2014.