Jury members of the 8th Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF) convened to begin screening the nominated films for the Child Protection Award (CPA), hosted by the festival for the second time and helmed in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Interior. Egyptian director Marwan Hamed heads the competition jury, alongside Lieutenant Colonel Faisal Al Shimmari, Deputy Chairman of the Ministry of Interior’s Cinema Awards Committee; Italian lecturer and film connoisseur Alessandra Priante; UAE media expert Heyam Al Juma and popular actress Nelly Kareem from Egypt.

Commenting on the films that are in the line-up for the festival and their valuable impact on calling the Arab viewer’s attention to the various issues related to children; director Marwan Hamed indicated that child protection has not been sufficiently addressed in the Arab world. He added, “Violence against children can have ripple effects on society. The Ministry of Interior’s Child Protection Award brings to light this important and serious problem.”
Adding further, Hamed said, “I look forward to working with my esteemed fellow the jury members, given the importance of this issue and the sensibilities it involves. I am confident that we all enjoy screening the participating films, which bear a noble humanitarian and moral value.” In conclusion, he praised the cooperation between the MoI and the festival’s management on creating these prestigious awards.

For his part, Lieutenant Colonel Faisal Al Shimmari, Deputy Chairman of the Ministry of Interior’s Cinema Awards Committee, highlighted the professional role played by the media and the film industry in achieving the award’s objectives, notably to create a purposeful filmmaking, which can make an imprint on heightening awareness about critical social issues, especially child protection. “Guaranteeing the security and safety of the various segments of society is amongst the top priorities of the Ministry of Interior,” he said.

Cultural expert Alessandra Priante said that the Ministry of Interior’s participation with such an award represents a momentous tribute, not only to the important topics tackled by the films, but also to the film industry itself. She said, “Cinema has unique communication channels and can incredibly shorten distances. Such advantage is seldom available in any other art form. Therefore, our task entails significant responsibility; as we are called upon to bring to light a film that may have a sweeping impact on audiences around the world. This proves that the cinema can have an important awareness-raising role, not only on audiences, but also on governments, legislators and decision-making world leaders. She wished further luck for individuals in charge of the award at the Ministry of Interior for the upcoming editions.”

Media representative, UAE expert Dr. Heyam Abdulhameed Al Juma, hailed the Ministry of Interior’s Child Protection Award, which calls attention to the important issue of child protection through the competition. She also commended the judging panel, which comprises renowned elite of experts in various fields. She noted, “Child protection has become a global issue of major importance and it is highly important and necessary to allocate a special award to recognize awareness efforts through film. Children are the wealth and future of all nations, and everyone is called upon to take measures to preserve this wealth and protect children them against violence, neglect or maltreatment.”

Adding further, she said, “As jury members, we will certainly have an enjoyable experience while screening and evaluating the merits of the participating films. However, the task is not a simple one, and may the eligible and best film win.”

Egyptian actress Nelly Kareem stressed the influential role of cinema in shedding the light on the various issues faced by society. She praised the role of the Ministry of Interior in raising awareness about the importance of child protection through films, which can reach a wider audience around the world. “The judging panel will be screening 13 films that tackle the issue of child protection, and eventually enhance awareness about children’s rights to protection and good upbringing,” she continued.

“Films have the powerful ability to bring audiences around the world closer; and reflect the reality of societies,” she added.  Furthermore, she noted, “There are several child-related films in the line-up at the Festival. However, we are shedding the light in this particular competition, on the victimized, maltreated or neglected children who are in pressing need for help. I believe that each of the nominated directors tackles a child-related problem in his film, presented under a different perspective.”

The list of CPA nominees includes 13 films from across 17 countries varying between features, documentaries and short films, where awards will be granted for the Best Film and Best Screenplay discussing children safety-related topics; calling the public’s attention to the victimized, mistreated or neglected children. The award entails USD 100,000 for both winning categories.

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