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SIFF to Screen 132 Films From 39 Countries



FUNN, the Sharjah-based organisation that promotes media arts learning among children and youth, has announced the full schedule of the upcoming 7th edition of Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth (SIFF). The festival will be held under the theme ‘Films inspired by Books’ from October 13-18, 2019.

During a press conference held at Zero 6 Mall’s Cinemacity Imax, Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, Director of FUNN and SIFF, outlined the agenda, in the presence of actor and director, Abdullah Al Junaibi, and Dr. Khalid Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Media City (Shams). Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, Director of FUNN and SIFF, commented, “The audience will enjoy many special films, particularly those dedicated to youth, an age group we are targeting beginning with this edition.”

Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, Director of FUNN and SIFF

She noted that the SIFF objectives were evolving with the times to ensure that the films it screened would remain topical and project the right messages. She underscored that it was essential for the new generation of filmmakers to be authentic and honest in choosing a subject they could identify with which would also resonate with audiences the world over.

Books to films
Speaking about the theme of this year’s edition, she said: “Many of the Arabic and international film masterpieces have been inspired by books. Films based on literary classics have the power to connect with audiences across generations. Books will always inspire all forms of arts.”

She added, “Sharjah earned the prestigious World Book Capital 2019 title because it has worked hard for many decades to build generations of readers and is dedicated to fostering reading and books through educational, pedagogical, cultural and artistic programmes.”

HE Khalid Omar Al Midfa

The SIFF director announced a three-fold increase in the number of films submitted this year, and that a junior jury has been selected this year consisting of children and youth, who will evaluate films made by their peers, in addition to professional jurors who will evaluate the rest of the categories.

The professional jurors comprise critics, filmmakers, and actors including Omar Farouk, Basel Khayat, Julian Carrington, and Abdul Rahman Al Aqeel, as well as a selection of Emirati artists. Sheikha Jawaher announced that a raffle draw with a Mini Cooper car as the grand prize would be a part of the festival.

Emirati actor Abdullah Al Junaibi

Many films being premiered
Al Qasimi announced that 132 films from 39 countries were selected from a total of 1,454 submissions from 86 countries, across seven categories: Best Child- and Youth-made Film, Best Student-made Film, Best GCC Short Film, Best International Short Film, Best Animation Film, Best Documentary Film, and Best Feature Film.

She said 12 of the films being screened would have their international premiere at SIFF, while 75 films will make their Middle East debut. Seven films will have their GCC debut and 11 their UAE premieres.

7 Venues across Sharjah and Dubai
Sheikha Jawaher also revealed the addition of new screening venues in Dubai at Festival City on September 26 and 27, and at City Walk between October 3-12. In Sharjah, films will be screened at Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre from October 14-18, and at Cinema Zero 6 between September 26 and October 17.

Screenings will be also be held at Arabian Center, Dubai, from October 15-17; Last Exit Al Khawaneej from September 28 to October 13; and La Mer from September 30 to October 2.

Workshops and panel discussions
Al Qasimi noted that SIFF had lined up a series of panel discussions and workshops on topics covering the film industry, photography suitable for all age groups. In addition, youth can look forward to a number of workshops, events, and activities dedicated to them during the festival.

HE Dr. Khalid Omar Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Media City (Shams), the Festival’s Gold Sponsor, said: “The Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth (SIFF) is yet another significant cultural achievement. It is part of our vibrant yearlong Sharjah World Book Capital 2019 celebrations. Honouring this global achievement, SIFF this year is gearing up to highlight the key role of books in nurturing arts, especially cinema, to our young festival attendees.”

“We work in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to build a vibrant community and create an environment where culture, arts, and innovation can thrive. This is why we were keen on supporting SIFF. We believe that FUNN’s projects are second to none in the way they promote the learning of media arts for children and youth. Sharjah Media City was established to empower youth, ignite their knowledge-based creativity and innovation, and through these key partnerships, we are able to further our efforts geared towards enriching Sharjah’s cultural legacy,” he added.

The Emirati actor and director, Abdullah Al Junaibi, added a message for children and youth: “You are lucky to enjoy all this support and care. We did not have the same opportunities when I was the same age as you. We did not have a festival like this; there were no workshops or sessions that introduced us to new technology, or taught us about production and direction. We had no one to screen films for us, or explain the technique behind them or analyse their artistic worth. Please utilise this golden opportunity that we did not get.”

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Dubai Parks and Resorts Turns Into a ‘World of Wintertainment’



Dubai Parks and Resorts, the Middle East’s largest theme park destination, is set to thrill guests with a wide range of holiday experiences. These include spectacular Festive-themed laser show, festive events and workshops, live shows and parades, along with the park’s exciting rides, rollercoasters and attractions from Friday, 8th December 2023 to Thursday, 7th January 2024.

At RIVERLAND Dubai, the night sky will come alive with a dazzling new Laser Show, Wednesday to Sunday at 7:30 PM, 8:30 PM, and 9:30 PM, creating a mesmerising spectacle with colourful lights and laser beams choreographed to festive themed music for all to enjoy. Guests can explore Santa’s Grotto and meet Santa himself at Viva Ristorante Restaurant and immerse in the festive spirit at the Peninsula Stage with Christmas carols and sing-along performances every Friday through Sunday. Guests can’t miss Sandy’s Candy World Spectacular, a parade that runs every Wednesday to Sunday at 9:00 PM, promising a sweet and vibrant procession to captivate audiences of all ages. To extend the holiday celebrations even further, friends and families of all ages are welcome to enjoy the heavenly tunes of 35 children of Dubai Youth Choir singing festive carols on 16th December.

MOTIONGATE Dubai invites guests to step into its Hollywood Holidays, promising an unforgettable festive season filled with parades, character meet and greets, mesmerising snowfall, and a magnificent 40-foot Christmas tree. The park transforms into a spectacle of lights and enchanting decorations, setting the perfect festive ambience. Adding to the holiday cheer is the debut of a new live stage show, ‘Home for Christmas’ at the Hollywood Theatre. Guests are invited to watch this heartwarming experience, adding an extra layer of joy to the holiday celebrations.

Meet Rudolph and his reindeer friends as they dance to popular holiday tunes in the ‘Time to Sleigh!’ street show or catch the elves and toy soldiers dancing to popular seasonal hip hop tunes in the ‘Toy Factory Fellas’.  For those craving delicious holiday treats, MOTIONGATE Dubai’s festive night market will offer various delights, including crepes, gingerbread cookies, churros, hot chocolate, and much more. To enhance the holiday experience, guests can explore the 15 themed retail shops, each offering an exclusive selection of souvenirs inspired by fan-favourite films such as Kung Fu Panda, Ghostbusters, Hunger Games, Shrek, and more.

Meanwhile, at LEGOLAND Dubai Resort, families are invited to join the Festive Bricktacular from Thursday, 14th December 2023 to Sunday, 7th January 2024. Guests can participate in the LEGOLAND Countdown to Christmas, an advent calendar that will give them the chance to open a door and win a LEGO box set every day until 24th December 2023. In addition, guests can also explore Santa’s Grotto and meet LEGO Santa himself (an Exclusive Paid experience for just an additional AED 125 when visiting LEGOLAND Dubai this December) who has special presents awaiting a limited edition Festive Bricktacular bag, a photo with LEGO Santa, exclusive Santa’s Grotto LEGO Brick, LEGO box set and a letter from LEGO Santa. Even more daily prizes await guests with the introduction of a new Countdown to New Year advent calendar from 25th December to 31st December.

The fun doesn’t have to end there, families are invited to join Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts’ third edition of the Lu’WOW Weekender. The UAE’s first and only Polynesian resort will be hosting exclusive festive-themed staycation packages from 24th to 26th December 2023, starting from AED 1,399++ for a King Room and AED 1,799++ for an Upgraded Family Suite. Two children under the age of six are welcome to stay and dine with the hotel’s compliments. Here, families will start Christmas day with a nutritious breakfast, followed by a festive brunch from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM, with the resort coming alive with live music and street performances.

Outdoor kids’ activities and attractions will ensure the little ones are entertained, with a festive-themed scavenger hunt featuring prizes as well as a special meet & greet with Santa, spreading joys and gifts to his young fans. On Tuesday, 26th December, guests can start their day with morning yoga sessions, while those seeking to stay active can enjoy Aqua Gym sessions at the family pool and children are invited to participate in Mini Olympic competitions, for some perfect family bonding.

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IMG Worlds of Adventure Partners with PUBG MOBILE



The 1.5 million square feet IMG Worlds of Adventure, one of the largest indoor theme parks in the world, has formed a partnership with PUBG MOBILE, the leading mobile game in the MENA region. This collaboration aims to provide an enhanced experience for both theme park visitors and PUBG MOBILE players.

As part of the collaboration, PUBG MOBILE has introduced a captivating update called Dinoground, which features an interactive dinosaur theme within the game. This exciting addition allows players to engage with prehistoric creatures and explore dinosaur-themed environments, adding a new level of immersion and excitement to the gameplay.

To celebrate this partnership, PUBG MOBILE players now have the opportunity to enjoy exclusive benefits at IMG Worlds of Adventure. By showcasing their PUBG MOBILE account, players can avail of special ticket discounts at the park’s counters, making their visit even more enjoyable and affordable.

Furthermore, dedicated PUBG MOBILE lounges have been strategically placed within various zones of the theme park. These specially designed lounges provide a space for players to take and immerse themselves further in the world of PUBG MOBILE. Equipped with state-of-the-art gaming stations and comfortable seating areas, these lounges offer a unique environment for players to connect with fellow gamers and share their gaming experiences.

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Elife TV Subscribers May Not Be Able to View beIN Channels From June 1, 2023



In a brief media alert, Etisalat announced that Elife TV subscribers may not be able to view beIN channels from June 1, 2023. The company did not elaborate on the reason behind this service disruption.

“etisalat by e& informs its valued customers and stakeholders that beIN channels on elife TV may not be available effective 1st June 2023. Further updates will be communicated to our valued customers via email, SMS, and/or on our website on or before 1st June 2023,” the company said.

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