Sharjah Art Foundation, Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation announce grant for Emirati filmmakers


SHARJAH: Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF), in partnership with Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF), invites Emirati filmmakers to apply for an open call to receive funding of AED 25,000. Designed to support independent Emirati cinema, this special grant will be offered to one Emirati awardee, jointly selected by the Foundation and ADMAF.

Through this dedicated grant, the awardees will be provided with opportunities and professional challenges that will help connect them with the international community of experimental filmmakers.

This open call is part of the seventh edition of the Sharjah Film Platform (SFP) Short Film Production Grant organised by Sharjah Art Foundation. Offered in conjunction with SFP – the Foundation’s annual festival of independent cinema and moving image-the grant provides funds for the completion of short films that test the boundaries of contemporary filmmaking. Grant recipients will premiere their completed films at a future edition of SFP.

For this grant, a short film is defi
ned as a work with a total runtime of 50 minutes or less, including the credits. Applicants are required to submit a recorded three-minute pitch through which they will be assessed on the overall vision for their film, including genre, theme, structure and plot; the originality of their script; and their creative and technical skills.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Oman unveils preparations for Khareef Dhofar 2024 at ATM


DUBAI: As part of the Dhofar Governorate’s preparations for the launch of the Khareef Dhofar 2024 activities in cooperation with the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism to promote the tourism season, the Dhofar Municipality participated in the Arabian Travel Market 2024 exhibition.

The Khareef Dhofar saw an increase in visitors last season, with 962,000 visitors compared to 813,000 in 2022. This year’s visitor count is expected to exceed one million.

Dhofar Governorate is a leading tourist destination for visitors inside and outside the Sultanate of Oman.

During the Khareef Dhofar season, tourists enjoy an exceptional experience that includes nature, relaxation, shopping, entertainment, culture, tourism, and sports activities.

Dhofar Governorate boasts natural, tourist, and cultural heritage resources alongside ambitious plans to expand economic opportunities this season and the upcoming ones.

Dr Ahmed bin Mohsen Al-Ghassani, Chairman of Dhofar Municipality, stated during the press conference on the sidelin
es of the exhibition that this year’s activities would start early in conjunction with the astronomical beginning of the Khareef season on June 21 and will continue until the end of the Khareef season on September 20.

‘This will provide a three-month duration, double the period previously allocated for Khareef season activities.It is expected to attract more tourists over a longer period, increasing the governorate’s capacity to accommodate larger numbers and ensuring smoother traffic flow. Activities will be spread across existing and new locations, offering new, thrilling experiences.’

Source: Emirates News Agency

EPAA organises Sir Bu Nair Festival on May 17


SHARJAH: The Environment and Protected Areas Authority in Sharjah (EPAA) announced the completion of its preparations for organising the 24th edition of the annual Sir Bu Nair Festival on 17th-18th May, with distinguished participation from several government sector institutions in Sharjah.

The festival is organised by the EPAA, with the participation of the Sharjah Police General Command, Sharjah Media Council, Sharjah Government Media Bureau, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, Sharjah Broadcasting Authority, Sharjah Sports Council, in addition to Sharjah International Marine Sports Club.

Several government and private entities, represented by Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, Sharjah Coop, Sharjah Driving Institute, and Zulal Water, provide support and sponsorship for this annual festival to ensure its optimal success.

Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, EPAA Chairperson, stressed the importance of cooperation between community institutions and individuals and the integration of capa
bilities and plans to enhance the environmental and tourism efforts undertaken by the Emirate of Sharjah.

She noted that the continuation of the festival to perform its educational and awareness message reflects the priority of environmental protection and biodiversity within Sharjah’s agenda and aspirations towards the environment and the conservation of marine and environmental heritage.

The festival will witness various activities and events, including sports competitions, tourist tours, training workshops, and heritage sessions, in addition to an accompanying exhibition and the presence of food trucks throughout Sir Bu Nair Island, and honouring the participating entities and institutions.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Ramadan Nights 2024 offers visitors captivating experiences as Eid Al Fitr approaches


SHARJAH: The ‘Ramadan Nights 2024’ Exhibition is witnessing a strong momentum and a huge influx of visitors as Eid Al Fitr approaches.

Organised by the Expo Centre Sharjah with the support of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), the event offers visitors captivating surprises in the world of shopping, including special promotions and massive discounts of up to 75 percent on a wide variety of premium products showcased by around 200 key retailers and over 500 international brands.

Launched as part of the 34th edition of Sharjah Ramadan Festival, the ambiance of the ‘Ramadan Nights 2024’ exhibition, which will run until 10th April, is set to elevate in the forthcoming days, promising more joyous and fun-filled Ramadan evenings for the emirate’s residents and visitors.

The event features a distinguished array of cultural and entertainment activities tailored for the whole family. Shoppers and attendees have the chance to partake in interactive and engaging shows, win valuable prizes in various
raffle draws held throughout the exhibition, and avail special offers presented at competitive prices.

Visitors can also relish in a culinary experience at the ‘Iftar Corner’ that serves a wide array of delectable local, Arabic, and global dishes and popular delicacies.

The exhibition also boasts an impressive lineup of cultural and heritage-themes activities and programmes, in addition to a children’s corner that offers a plethora of entertainment activities specifically tailored for the young guests.

The ‘Ramadan Nights 2024’ exhibition experiences a remarkable turnout of visitors, who flock to Expo Centre Sharjah to take advantage of the substantial discounts and special deals available within its pavilions.

Offering a curated blend of entertainment shows and immersive shopping experiences, the exhibition promises its visitors joyful moments that enriches the enchanting ambience of Ramadan for those who go shopping during the nights of the holy month at Expo Sharjah.

Beyond shopping experience, the ex
hibition features a variety of heritage-inspired activities and artistic performances curated by the Heritage Village within its framework.

As it maintains momentum, visitors of the Heritage Village can embark on an unparalleled journey into the realm of customs, traditions, and folk heritage, enhanced by daily showcases of folk arts, diverse cultural and heritage programs, and engaging competitions.

Sultan Shataf, Commercial Director at Expo Centre Sharjah, said, ‘We are pleased to annually share with visitors the festivities of Ramadan and Eid through the diverse activities held by the Ramadan Nights exhibition’.

He highlighted the exhibition’s exceptional fun-filled ambiance, entertainment activities, enticing offers and promotions, and substantial discounts offered by exhibitors on a wide range of products.

Shataf pointed out the eagerly awaited pleasant surprises and entertainment shows that the ‘Ramadan Nights 2024’ will showcase for residents and visitors of Sharjah emirate in the forthcoming perio
d, urging families to seize the opportunity and visit the exhibition to explore the major offers and surprises awaiting them.

The exhibition’s door remains open daily to welcome the public during the holy month of Ramadan from 17:00 to 01:00 and from 15:00 to midnight during Eid Al Fitr.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Sharjah celebrates Ramadan with cultural vibrancy and touristic allure


SHARJAH: Sharjah celebrates Ramadan with cultural vibrancy and touristic allure, offering experiences reflecting the sacred essence of the month. The emirate welcomes visitors with new destinations and events, highlighting its tourism sector’s development and creativity. Sharjah features coastal, mountainous, and urban locales, as well as cultural and entertainment centres.

Shees Rest Area

The Shees Rest Area is a sparkling new gem in the UAE’s tourist landscape, situated in Sharjah’s Eastern region, cradled between the Khorfakkan mountains and offering panoramic views of the surrounding valleys. Since opening in October 2023, it has rapidly become a hub of activity, blending shopping with entertainment. It boasts more than 58 diverse shops and provides a distinctive tourism and leisure experience, especially during the holy month of Ramadan. Additionally, the rest area features a play zone for children, ensuring a safe and pleasurable environment for families.

Kalba’s Hanging Gardens

Upon visiting Kalba,
one is immediately struck by the breathtaking vistas of its Hanging Gardens. Perched in the city’s mountainous terrain and sprawling across more than 1.6 million square feet, 281 metres above sea level and home to over 100,000 trees, creating a green tableau. The experience is elevated with a main restaurant offering mesmerising views of the gardens and cascading waterfall, inviting guests to dine amidst the mountainous splendour.

The Hanging Gardens are more than just a visual delight; they offer an adventure with mountain climbing trails weaving through agricultural terraces, lush tree canopies, and vibrant floral displays. There is also a sizable skating rink spanning 24,000 square feet and designed with three difficulty levels. The crowning jewel is the restaurant located 270 metres high, presenting a breathtaking panoramic view of the three sides of the Hanging Gardens.

Souq Al Jubail in Al Dhaid and Kalba

During the sacred month of Ramadan, Souq Al Jubail in Al Dhaid showcases the emirate’s architect
ural magnificence, seamlessly blending tradition with contemporary facilities. Opened in October 2023, this marketplace spans 78,000 square metres. It delivers a harmonious mix of traditional and modern shopping experiences with its four primary sections: meat, vegetables, fruits, and fish.

In Kalba, Souq Al Jubail extends over 33,000 square metres and is home to 16 meat and poultry shops, 22 fish shops, and 31 stalls for vegetables and fruits. The design of Souq Al Jubail in Al Dhaid and Kalba, with their refined, oriental aesthetics, captures the cultural essence of the region, making them ideal destinations offering a unique ambience and shopping experience during Ramadan.

Sports, culture and entertainment activities

During Ramadan, the emirate becomes a vibrant hub of tourism, culture, and sports, highlighted by events like Sharjah Ramadan Futsal Championship 2024. This exhilarating tournament features ten teams competing for the grand prize, medals, and daily awards for participants and spectators, in
fusing the holy month with competitive spirit and community engagement.

Alongside the sporting event, Sharjah Ramadan Festival 2024 offers diverse activities until April 13, blending shopping with entertainment and cultural showcases. The festival extends beyond mere retail, incorporating traditional arts and heritage into the shopping experience, allowing visitors to explore and enjoy the diverse cultural landscape of Sharjah’s cities and regions.

At the House of Wisdom, a beacon of culture and knowledge, Ramadaniyat 2024 event springs to life in its outdoor spaces throughout Ramadan. It becomes a meeting point for book lovers and art aficionados, offering a perfect blend of modern library resources and vibrant market stalls. Ramadaniyat transcends the ordinary, providing a multifaceted entertainment experience and shopping in a festive Ramadan ambience.

Meanwhile, the annual Dakakeen Festival returns to Khorfakkan for its second year, running until April 14. It transforms the Khorfakkan Amphitheatre squa
re into a bustling Ramadan market with 34 stalls. Local families, entrepreneurs, and merchants display their offerings, ranging from fashion and jewellery to children’s toys, creating a distinctive shopping environment. Dakakeen is complemented by a variety of restaurants and cafes, offering culinary delights that welcome families, residents, and tourists, adding to the festival’s allure and charm.

Shurooq Destinations

Several touristic destinations across the Emirate of Sharjah; under The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), offer a range of fun activities during the holy month, including Al Majaz Waterfront, Al Hira Beach, Khorfakkan Beach, Al Noor Island, Ramadan Star Lounge, Maraya Art Centre, Heart of Sharjah, and The Chedi Al Bait, Sharjah. These include markets, shows, music concerts, cultural activities, special Ramadan events like Iftar and Suhoor meals, and art and cultural activities.

Source: Emirates News Agency

RTA launches free smart umbrella service


DUBAI: Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), in collaboration with UmbraCity, a leading Canadian smart umbrella share service company, has launched a revolutionary ‘free of cost’ smart umbrella service at Al Ghubaiba Bus and Metro station. This innovative proof-of-concept service is designed to enhance the walkability of Dubai, providing residents and visitors with a convenient and sustainable way to shield themselves from the sun and rain.

Aligned with the visionary Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan, this initiative underlines Dubai’s commitment to fostering a sustainable, healthy, and inclusive urban environment. By integrating advanced technology with practical urban solutions, RTA and UmbraCity are taking a significant step towards realising Dubai’s ambition to become the best city for living in the world by improving the quality of life and enhancing the happiness of its people.

Smart Umbrella Service: How It Works

Commuters can now borrow umbrellas free of cost at one location using their nol card,
a seamless integration that promotes ease of mobility and environmental sustainability. This service is particularly designed to support Dubai’s goal of developing a ’20-minute city’ where residents can access their daily needs within a 20-minute walk or bike ride, fostering a greater sense of community and well-being.

Khaled Al Awadhi, Director, Transportation Systems at RTA’s Public Transport Agency said ‘By encouraging the use of smart umbrellas which are ‘Free of cost’ when leased using nol card, RTA and UmbraCity are contributing to the creation of vibrant, healthy, and inclusive communities across Dubai. The service is introduced currently at Al Ghubaiba metro station as a proof of concept for three months. On the evaluation of its success, RTA will consider expanding the service.’

Amir Entezari, CEO of UmbraCity said, “We are honoured to partner with RTA and bring UmbraCity’s innovative umbrella-sharing service to the heart of Dubai.’ Said Amir Entezari, CEO of UmbraCity. ‘This collaboration reflects
our mutual dedication to advancing sustainable urban mobility and enhancing the livability of cities. Together, we are setting a global benchmark for smart, sustainable urban living, demonstrating that with innovative solutions and collaborative efforts, we can make significant strides towards building cities that prioritise the well-being of their communities and the environment.”

Through this partnership, RTA and UmbraCity are setting a new standard for smart urban living, ensuring that Dubai continues to lead by example in creating a sustainable, connected, and resilient urban future.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Sharjah Cinema Days enrich artistic scene, attract over 5,000 visitors


SHARJAH: The ‘Sharjah Cinema Days’ initiative, which concluded its activities yesterday (Sunday), 3rd March, achieved remarkable success that reflects the vitality of the cultural scene in Sharjah.

The initiative, organised by the FANN Foundation – Media Discovery Platform, was able to attract more than 5,000 visitors, who took part in film screenings and workshops. They enjoyed a series of entertainment and musical performances and interacted with the group of installation artworks. The initiative activities were hosted in Buhais – the geopark in Sharjah.

Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, Director General of FANN Foundation and Sharjah International Film Festival (SIFF), indicated that the success achieved by the initiative reflects the importance of its role and influence in enriching the local cultural scene. She said, ‘The Sharjah Cinema Days initiative contributed to opening horizons for filmmakers, directors and artists, and enabling them to express their points of view and produce various arti
stic works and designs that highlight their ability to contribute to the local artistic movement.’

Sheikha Jawaher added, ‘The remarkable success achieved by the initiative confirms the need for the local artistic and cultural sector to have an innovative platform that contributes to supporting and empowering talents and works to create a creative environment capable of giving creators in the fields of cinema and visual and performing arts the opportunity to learn about different artistic experiences.’

On its last day, the ‘Sharjah Cinema Days’ initiative witnessed a group of activities inspired by the atmosphere of Bollywood, where the audience watched the screening of scenes from the Indian musical romantic film ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ by director and screenwriter Aditya Chopra, who had previously presented a group of the most successful Indian films at the box office, including ‘Tiger 3’ and ‘Mohabbatein’, while many musical groups performed inspiring performances inspired by Bollywood films.

Over
the 5 days of the SCD, visitors watched a series of films, including the Japanese film “Howl’s Moving Castle” directed by Hayao Miyazaki, and produced by Studio Ghibli, as well as the Korean drama film “Paper Flower”, and the foreign film ‘Singin In the Rain’ by directors Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, in addition to a group of Gulf short films, which included ‘Mabrook ma Yaak’, ‘A Policeman’s Story,’ ‘Shaaban 27,’ ‘Nour Shams,’ and ‘Our neighbor, Bouhamad.’

The visitors also interacted with 7 art installations that represented the product of the creativity of a group of artists and emerging talents, led by visual artist Ahlam Al-Bannai, head of the Applied Media Department at the Higher Colleges of Technology in Dubai, who presented her work ‘Sustaining Minds,’ inspired by the statements of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, which center around people and the importance of investing in them. The initiative also presented the ‘Arab Wood’
collection, which was inspired by the artist Ali Al Saadi from the films ‘Harry Potter,’ ‘La La Land,’ and ‘ Aladdin’ and presented it with an Arab and local vision.

The event witnessed the display of the artwork ‘Emirates Nostalgia’ by photographer Hamad Al Jasmi, in addition to the works presented by artist Aisha Al Ali and her colleague Hamda Al Marri, titled (Lunar Legacy), which aim to honor human curiosity, creativity, and his constant pursuit of the unknown, and a series of works by artist Hessa Al Shehhi, which through it, she expressed her passion for visual arts, telling stories through the lens, taking photos, and more.

Source: Emirates News Agency

‘Dune: Part Two’ provides international production experience to 5 UAE interns


ABU DHABI: Five local UAE interns gained international production experience during the making of Dune: Part Two in Abu Dhabi’s Liwa desert.

From VFX to camera assistant roles, the five talented individuals were offered an internship placement on set across the 27-day shoot through the Abu Dhabi Film Commission as part of the commissions commitment to nurturing young talent into the screen industry.

Shot by Legendary and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc, this video asset highlights the experience gleaned by Mouza Al Darmaki, Thoraya Farzaneh, Khaled Al Hosani, Amna Al Darmaki and Ghena Al Satti.

Set in the distant future, Dune: Part Two features the sweeping sand dunes of Abu Dhabi’s Liwa desert as the landscape of the iconic desert planet Arrakis. Scenes were captured at just under 20 locations across the Liwa desert during the winter of 2022 and a team of 300 local, 250 international crew and 500 extras were employed during the 27-day shoot.

Dune: Part Two is Villeneuve’s adaptation of the 1965 novel Dune
by Frank Herbert, picking up where Dune left off. It stars Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Dave Bautista, Christopher Walken, Léa Seydoux, Souheila Yacoub, with Stellan Skarsgård, with Charlotte Rampling, and Javier Bardem.

The film was directed by Villeneuve, written by Villeneuve and Jon Spaihtsand produced by Mary Parent, Cale Boyter, Patrick McCormick, Villeneuve and Tanya Lapointe.

In the UAE and Lebanon, the epic continuation of the Dune saga hit cinemas on 29th February 2024. In other markets in the region, the film is scheduled for an Eid release on 11th April.

To ensure all fans across the Middle East experience the epic sequel as soon as its available, a special week of previews will take place in markets outside the UAE and Lebanon. Fans in these countries can watch Dune: Part Two from 29th February to 6th March 2024 (inclusive), before the onset of Ramadan and ahead of the wider release on 11 April.

Source: Emirates News Agency