The inaugural edition of Qumra has been praised by international film professionals for bringing a new formula for the development of emerging talent in a “one-of-a-kind” film event for the region, Doha Film Institute (DFI) said in a statement yesterday.
Welcoming more than 100 high-calibre industry delegates, including master filmmakers, film festival selectors, producers, sales and distribution experts, film funding agencies and script and development consultants, Qumra – a new event by DFI - concluded last week following a six-day industry programme of workshops, mentoring sessions, master classes, group tutorials, work-in-progress previews and feedback sessions, working breakfasts and screenings.
The international delegates praised the event’s boutique format for its ability to facilitate intimate meetings and optimal networking conditions “providing the right environment” for developing emerging talent in a meaningful way.
Writer-director Mahdi Fleifel, whose feature narrative project Men in the Sun participated in the development programme, said: “Qumra was unlike anything I have ever attended. Everyone who is serious and passionate about cinema today was present and I felt humbled and inspired to be among them.”
Fatma al-Remaihi, CEO of DFI, said: “We could not be happier with the feedback we have received from the project participants, the Masters and professionals from all sectors of the industry who contributed to the first edition of Qumra.”
A highlight of Qumra was the public screenings and master classes by seasoned filmmakers Gael Garc?a Bernal, Cristian Mungiu, Abderrahmane Sissako and Danis Tanovic – the Qumra Masters. They interacted with the talents behind the 29 Qumra Projects at Meet the Masters sessions. DFI’s artistic adviser, Elia Suleiman, also conducted a master class and individual mentoring sessions with filmmakers.
Sissako, whose Academy Award-nominated Timbuktu received overwhelming response at the Modern Masters screening, observed: “The event was prepared in a considered and thoughtful way, and that was apparent from its concept, approach and choice of participants.”
Bernal, the lead actor in No, Pablo Larrain’s classic that was screened, said: “Qumra is a great opportunity for anyone who is passionate about film.”
Academy Award-winning No Man’s Land’s director Tanovic, whose film An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker was screened in the Modern Masters section, described Qumra as “truly pioneering”.
Palme d’Or winner Mungiu, whose Tales from the Golden Age was screened at Qumra, stressed the importance of Qumra in developing audiences.
The industry delegates complimented Qumra for creating a distinctive niche in the regional film landscape.
One of them, Jason Kliot, said: “The creators have been incredibly intelligent in keeping the event small and contained. The format of the works-in-progress screenings was extraordinarily impressive.”
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