The Ajyal Family Weekend 2017 is expected to attract a large number of families and children today at the Katara Esplanade, which features an array of fun-filled activities and film screenings for all ages.
The three-day programme, running until tomorrow as part of the fifth Ajyal Youth Film Festival, gives festival-goers an opportunity to watch family-friendly films at the ‘Sony Cinema Under the Stars’ outdoor screenings for free from 3pm to 10pm tomorrow.
Some of the films include '10%' by Yousef al-Moadhadi, 'Charlie' by Ali Ali, 'Drain' by Papanapattu Ganesh and Imad Hachem, 'The Palm Tree' by Jassim al-Rumaihi and 'My Hero' by Nora al-Subai.
Ajyal’s special screening of 'The Smurfs' (US/English/2011) today will offer children a blue carpet treatment at the festival. Directed by Raja Gosnell, the 103-minute film is a popular anime film that marks the 60th anniversary of everyone’s favourite blue friends.
Cinema and music enthusiasts can also enjoy ‘My Little Beasts’, a world-premiere cine-concert tomorrow and on Sunday, featuring short animated films accompanied by live music by Anthony Boulc’h and Fanch Minou’s.
The cine-concert includes the screening of 'The Boy and the Snow Goose' (Canada/1984) by Gayle Thomas, 'Change in the Weather' (US/2010) by Amelia Lorenz, 'The Girl and the Fox' (US/2011) by Tyler Kupferer and 'Rain and Fish' (Japan/2010) by Risa Kimpara, among others.
Apart from film screenings, Ajyal 2017 also treats festival-goers, especially children, with a pop culture feast called Geekdom. It engages participants in art activities, live video game tournaments, a comic-a-thon competition and cosplay day, among others.
Geekdom, located at Katara buildings 18 and 19, runs until December 4 from 10am to 10pm. Entry is free.
Doha Film Institute (DFI) is also holding LeBlockade, a multimedia exhibition of films, digital artworks and installations that showcase “a creative movement” that emerged after the blockade started.
The exhibition, according to DFI, celebrates and portrays the resiliency and strength of the Qatari art community. It is open from 2pm to 10pm at building 19. The festival also began discussing a number of interesting topics and issues yesterday at Ajyal Talks, featuring renowned social media personalities.
Titled ‘Perceptions: Media Influencers on our Daily Lives’, the talk has seen speakers sharing their views on the current state of the media and how it impacts people’s lives. Today at 6pm, Shoug Shaheen and Abdulaziz Youssef, well-known members of the Qatari film community, together with the director of Sarajevo Film Festival, Mirsad Purivatra, will share their experience of “how periods of struggle can spark social movements and inspire compelling works of art” in the second round of Ajyal Talks dubbed as ‘How Art Beats Adversity’. The venue is Katara Drama Theatre.
Today, the fifth Ajyal Youth Film Festival presented by Doha Film Institute, will screen a strong series of films - demonstrating the commitment to empowering youth and belief in the power of film to spread awareness of global issues. Among the films to be screened are those of empowerment and triumph, as well as a popular showcase of local short films as part of Made in Qatar Programme 2.
* Even When I Fall (UK/2017), directed by Kate McLarnon and actress/activist Sky Neal, explores the harrowing world of Nepali children sold by their parents into Indian circuses. Forced to perform as acrobats, children fortunate enough to be rescued usually face uncertain futures. Screening starts at 4pm.
* Showing at 8.30pm, Berni Goldblat’s Wallay (France, Burkina Faso, Qatar/2017) explores what happens when a troubled French teenager, 13-year-old Ady, steals from his father and is sent to live under the care of his authoritarian uncle in Burkina Faso.
* Aaron and Amanda Kopp’s Liyana (Swaziland, Qatar, US/2017) is a tribute to creativity, imagination and the healing power of storytelling. Set in Swaziland, a country where the Aids epidemic has left hundreds of thousands of children to fend for themselves, it follows orphans attending a storytelling workshop come up with a young, fictional, female character. It screens today at 9.15pm.
* What begins as a gentle tale of country life in 1930s and '40s Japan ends as a powerful indictment of horrors of war, and in particular, of the effects of the devastating atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Based on a popular manga of the same name, Sunao Katabuchi’s 'In This Corner of the World' (Japan/2016) follows 18-year-old Suzu who goes to live with her new husband’s family in Hiroshima. Screening is at 10pm.
* There is also the chance to catch Pablo Iraburu and Migueltxo Molina’s 'Walls' (Spain/2015) at 8pm, a powerful portrayal of the borders and other imaginary lines that divide us from each other, as seen through the lives of people on either side of three contemporary international borders. Meanwhile, 'House in the Fields' screens at 7.45pm.
* From skeleton-like robotic creatures engaged in a pointless and seemingly endless war and a dreamy contemplation of the ever-changing urban landscape of Doha to a parable about the foolishness of isolation and bullying, Made in Qatar Programme 2, presented by Occidental Petroleum Qatar, amply illustrates the growing maturing, vision and ability of the local film community. Screening of Made in Qatar films starts at 8.30pm.
* The Ajyal 2017 Family Weekend, open from 3pm to 10pm at the Katara Esplanade, offers activities for children and adults alike. Over at Katara buildings 18 and 19, Geekdom, a pop culture feast of comics, competitions, cosplay, movies, TV series and video games, and LeBlockade, a multimedia celebration of Qatar’s cultural resilience, take place from 2pm to 10pm.
* For a rousing discussion, one can head to Katara Drama Theatre at 6pm for the second round of Ajyal Talks. Two members of the Qatari film community, Shoug Shaheen, Abdulaziz Youssef and director of the Sarajevo Film Festival, Mirsad Purivatra, will share their experience of how periods of struggle can spark social movements and inspire compelling works of art in ‘How Art Beats Adversity’.
Tickets are priced at QR25 for general screening and available for purchase 24 hours a day at ajyalfilm.com or from the Ajyal Katara Main Box Office in Katara Building 12, or the Ajyal FNAC Ticket Outlet, FNAC Qatar at Doha Festival City.
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