Three programmes of short films on the themes of hope, courage and resilience, by filmmakers from around the world, are in store at the sixth Ajyal Film Festival today.
The 25 films are specially curated to reflect the theme of the festival, ‘A Voice for Generations’, and present an inspiring selection that will appeal to all.
Ajyal Film Festival is the annual cinema event hosted by Doha Film Institute (DFI) at Katara – the Cultural Village.
Today, Ajyal will also present the inclusive screening experience of the Academy Award-nominated film Theeb (Jordan, UK, Qatar, UAE/2014), directed by Naji Abu Nowar. Screened in partnership with the Translation and Interpreting Institute of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, the film can be enjoyed by visually challenged audiences through sound alone, with audio descriptions of the visual elements that can be understood through voice, cinema or sound effects. Those who are hard-of-hearing or have difficulty understanding speech can watch the film with enriched subtitles in Arabic, English and sign language interpretation. The screening is at 5.30pm at Katara Drama Theatre and admission is free.
Ajyal is also providing the final opportunity for the public to watch ‘Made in Qatar’ presented by Ooredoo films by Qatari and Qatar-based talents today at 5.30pm (Programme 1) and 8.30pm (Programme 2) at Novo Cinemas, The Pearl-Qatar. There are 16 films by homegrown talents that highlight the strides being made by Qatar in cinema. The short films, in diverse genres and narratives, also present insights on life in Qatar, its culture, its people and places.
The Hope selection of films, to screen at 6.30pm at Katara 12 Theatre A, illustrates the good things come to those who never give up. Watch The Elephant’s Song (US/2018) by Lynn Tomlinson, is the tale of the first circus elephant in America; Antouni (Armenia, US/2017) by Alik Tamar, is about a Syrian-Armenian girl travelling on a bus with her father; Two Balloons (US/2017) by Mark C Smith is about two adventurous lemurs navigating their airships; Odd is an Egg (Norway, Portugal/2016) by Kristin Ulseth on Odd, who is worried about cracking his egg head; Gummy Gas Crisis (Argentina/2017) by Rodrigo Diaz, is a retro video game adventure; Bachir in Wonderland (Netherlands/2017) by Els Duran and Evelien Vehof is about a boy living in the Sahara desert; Two Trams (Russia/2016) by Svetlana Andrianova is about two city trams roaming the streets; Siblings (Canada/2016) by James Michael Chiang, is about children who share their experiences in life; and Post No Bills (Canada/2017) by Robin Hays, is an imaginative short film. The Courage selection is a testament to standing strong even when all the odds are stacked against you. It will be screened at 7.45pm at Katara 12 Theatre B. The selection includes Radiance (US/2017) by Chialing Yang, a semi-autobiographical animation; As My Father Was (Iraq/2018) is by Muslim Habeeb; Drop by Drop (Portugal/2017) by Alexandra Ramires (Xa) and Laura Goncalves, is based on real-life interviews; Last Stop is the Moon (Poland, Lithuania/2017) is by Birute Sodeikaite is about a young girl who comes to terms with an illness; ‘Bird Karma’ (US/2018) by William Salazar, is a hand-drawn animated film; ‘Killing Hope’ (France/2017) by Julia Retali and Natacha Grangeon is set in the midst of the civil war in Syria; ‘Sirocco’ (France/2016) by Romain Garcia, Kevin Tarpinian, Thomas Lopez-Massy, Avril Hug and Lauren Madec, is about a family gathering to celebrate the birthday of their godfather; and ‘Changyou’s Journey’ (US/2017) by Perry Chen, is a young animator’s craft as a labour of love for his father.
The Resilience selection will be screened at 7pm at Katara Opera House and the films in this programme show how when faced with the right mindset, adversity can be a catalyst for self-development. The films include ‘Commodity City’ (US/2016) by Jessica Kingdon, is about the lives of vendors in the world’s largest wholesale consumer market; ‘Carlotta’s Face’ (Germany/2018) by Valentin Riedl and Frederic Schuld is about a woman who suffers from ‘Face Blindness’; ‘I Don’t Believe in You But Then There is Gravity’ (Turkey/2018) by Umut Subasi, is a comedic look at the daily lives of residents of a high-rise building; ‘Inanimate’ (UK/2018) by Lucia Bulgheroni about Katrine, whose life starts falling apart; ‘Brotherhood’ (Canada, Tunisia, Qatar, Sweden/2018) by Meryam Joobeur is about an 18-year-old who returns to his village in Tunisia; ‘The Craft’ (Kuwait, Lebanon/2017) by Monira al-Qadiri, is a semi-autobiographical work of science fiction; ‘Transformation’ (Kuwait/2017) by Yousef al-Bagshi is about a young disabled man who faces the devastation of war; and ‘Negative Space’ (France/2017) by Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata is about Sam’s father who teaches him the art of packing a suitcase. Tickets for the Hope, Courage and Resilience screenings are priced at QR15 per person.
Also, one can watch the Doha Film Institute-supported film, ‘The Man Who Stole Banksy’ (UK, Italy, Qatar/2018), which won the Best Screenplay Award at Cannes Film Festival 2018. Directed by Marco Proserpio, it is about the anonymous street artist and activist Banksy, who painted a number of politically divisive artworks in Palestine. The film will be screened at 9pm at Katara Drama Theatre.
Tickets to the regular screenings are priced at QR25 and are available at FNAC stores (Lagoona Mall and Doha Festival City) and the Ajyal Katara Main Box office, Building 12. Tickets can be purchased online www.dohafilminstitute.com/filmfestival. Holders of Culture Pass by Qatar Museums will get a QR5 discount on all general screenings.
The 2018 Ajyal Film Festival’s official partners include Katara – the Cultural Village – cultural partner; Ooredoo – principal partner; Novo Cinemas – strategic partner and The St Regis Doha – signature sponsor.
Theeb, directed by Naji Abu Nowar.