July 2020
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UAE’s young talents find a new platform, FUNN’s Talentine campaign

UAE’s young talents find a new platform,

Sharjah-based entity also roped in celebrities for this fun online initiative designed
to inspire children and youth and keep their spirits high

FUNN – Sharjah Media Arts For Youth and Children has drawn the curtains on its successful and popular Talentine Campaign, an at-home talent show designed to enhance the intellectual and artistic creativity of children and youth in Sharjah and the UAE who were largely confined to their homes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Budding artists, photographers, animators, and design enthusiasts have used the platform, which launched on Instagram on June 8 and concluded on July 7, to display their mastery in skills and hobbies they pursued during the long stretch of the stay home period.

The initiative was designed to keep spirits high in light of the pandemic and to offer a platform for local talent to showcase their abilities and nurture their natural talent in any field.

Under the hashtag #talentine, children and youth, posted videos of the creative activities undertaken while at home. These videos are being posted online on FUNN’s Instagram page, since July 9.

To motivate children and youth, and encourage them to participate in the campaign, FUNN had previously posted inspirational videos of a host of celebrities sharing the talents they pursued while staying safe home. Many of them shared tips on how they are honing photography skills by using the resources and equipment available, including smartphones, while some offered advice for stay-at-home filmmakers and aspiring writers.

In his video posted on the FUNN Instagram page, young Saudi Arabian actor Abdullah Ali spoke of how grateful he was for the opportunity to take time to learn about himself and grow into a better person. Sharing details of the two books he was reading, Abdullah Ali said, “The Young Mastermind reveals techniques and ways to transform yourself from a sleepwalker into a young mastermind. On the other hand, Flaws are the New Perfections is book about loving the world, and how that journey starts with learning to love yourself.”

20-year-old British actress  Isobelle Molloy who played the young Maleficent in Disney’s Maleficent and the title role in the stage production of Matilda the Musical, described how she practices learning accents via YouTube tutorials and online videos as it is an essential skill required of an actor. She also advised young actors to read plays or books to learn new character types and story lines and watch interviews of actors and directors to get insights into how the creative process happens.

Molloy also described how she spends her time practicing monologues in front of a camera, and later reviewing it to improve on her acting and dialogue delivery skills. “I am also using my time to hone my singing and have self-taught myself the guitar via online courses. I enjoy dancing and am improving my skills with online dancing classes.”

She added: “The most important thing I do is set up a routine – wake up on time, exercise, eat healthy, and know when to rest. Self-care and self-love are particularly important.”

Freddie Highmore, known for his starring roles in the films Finding Neverland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, amongst others, said that “we are living in difficult, surreal times, but there are many practical skills we can all develop during this time such as computer animation and photography, for instance.”

Saying that “imagination and empathy are the cornerstones of art,” he advised the young children and youth of Sharjah and the UAE to tell stories. “Use this time to think critically about yourselves and more importantly, about other people, especially those on the frontlines fighting the pandemic,” he added.

Other celebrities who shared videos of their talents and skills included Emirati director Nahla Al Fahad, animation maker  Dr. Naif Al Mutawa, American actress and singer Anika Noni Rose, Emirati actor Ahmed Al Jasmi, Saudi Arabian actor and poet Ibrahim Al Hassawi. Bahraini artist Haifa Hussain and her husband, Emirati actor Habib Ghulom, Kuwaiti actor Ahmed Eraj, Abdulla Saleh, actor and writer Abdulla Al Hemairi, Local actor and director Hasan Rajab, and the script writer Mohammed Hassan.

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