Seven short films, all made in Qatar, are being presented as the ‘Shortcuts to Qatar’ segment at the prestigious Sarajevo Film Festival, Doha Film Institute (DFI) has said.
The festival, one of Europe’s largest film festivals which began on August 10, concludes today (August 17), further adding to the pride of Qatar with a total of 19 films supported by DFI in its programming. Such feat sets a new benchmark for DFI in highlighting Qatari film talent at international festivals.
Of the 19 films, nine are in the Official Selection, while three are showcased as part of the CineLink Co-Production Market and Work in Progress platform. The films at Sarajevo are recipients of the Grants Programme, the Qatari Film Fund or past Qumra projects and other development initiatives steered by DFI. “The Sarajevo Film Festival shares strong synergies with the work we do in Qatar, and together as cultural partners, we have been working towards nurturing the skills of emerging filmmakers and showcasing some of the most powerful works from the region to a wider audience in Europe,” DFI CEO Fatma al-Remaihi said. “This year, with 19 films supported by DFI at Sarajevo, we have the largest to date participation at this important film event,” she noted.
“We are exceptionally proud of the ‘Shortcut to Qatar’ segment at Sarajevo, which highlights the talents of our emerging filmmakers, giving their films access to an international audience,” al-Remaihi added. “We will continue to focus on supporting bold voices in filmmaking from Qatar, our region and beyond.”
The seven short films by Qatari talents and by those who call Qatar home, showcased in the ‘Shortcut to Qatar’ segment at Sarajevo are: Voices from the Urbanscape (2017) by Shaima al-Tamimi and Mariam Salim, a short travelogue around Qatar’s capital in development; I Have Been Watching You All Along (2017) by Rawda al-Thani, about a young woman who wanders about an abandoned cinema; Walls (2017) by Nibu Vasudevan, an animation set in a decaying world that has become nothing more than a trash heap, where a race of robotic creatures are engaged in a pointless, seemingly endless war; Embodiment (2017) by Khalifa al-Marri, a poetic reflection of Qatar’s becoming a sophisticated nation of wealth and influence while retaining its centuries-old traditions; Treasures of the Past (2017) by Rawan al-Nassiri and Nada Bedair, in which three grandmothers from Qatar are willing to give it all that it takes to break gender stereotypes in their societies; Our Time is Running Out (2017) by Meriem Mesraoua, set in a blissful alternate universe, where a society of children lives according to strict rules; and 1001 Days (2017) by Aisha al-Jaidah that tells the story of the life of Sheherezade, the creative and heroic storyteller.
The films in the CineLink Co-Production Market include the DFI Grants recipient Streams (Tunisia, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Qatar) by Mehdi Hmili, about Amel, who is released from prison and seeks her missing son Moumen, in the lower depths of Tunis — also a 2017 Qumra project; and The Voice of Amirah (Qatar), a feature narrative by Khalifa al-Thani, set in 1970s Qatar about adolescent Amirah, who against all odds grows up to be among the first of Qatar University female graduates. It was supported through DFI’s Hezayah Screenwriting Workshop and Producers Lab.
In Work in Progress is the documentary Ibrahim (Palestine, Lebanon, Denmark, Qatar) by Lina Alabed, about the eponymous protagonist, a secret member of the Palestinian Militant Organisation who goes on a mission never to return.
Several acclaimed films supported by DFI are in the in-competition section, including Turkish auteur and 2014 Palme D’or winner and Qumra Master Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s The Wild Pear Tree (Turkey, France, Germany, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Sweden and Qatar/2018).
Also showcased is Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki’s Capharnaum (Lebanon/2018) and and Sofia (Morocco, France, Qatar/2018) by Meryem Benm’Barek.
Among the DFI Grants recipients are compelling documentaries: Nine Month War (Hungary, Qatar/ 2018), also a Qumra project, by Laszlo Csuja; Of Fathers and Sons (Syria, Germany, Qatar/ 2017) by Talal Derki; The Man Who Stole Banksy (Italy, Qatar/2018) by Marco Proserpio; The Other Side of Everything (Serbia, France, Qatar/2017) by Mila Turajlic; and Too Late to Die Young (Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Netherlands, Qatar/2018) by Dominga Sotomayor.
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