Now is the time to share our stories: filmmaker
March 19 2019 02:54 AM
Hamida Issa, Nouf al-Sulaiti. PICTURES: Noushad Thekkayil

By Joey Aguilar /Staff Reporter

Qumra has become a platform for young Arab filmmakers and directors to network with international film experts and take their stories to audiences globally, it is learnt.
“Qumra helps a lot in supporting and developing projects and that’s one big thing I really enjoy,” Nouf al-Sulaiti, producer of Khuzama, told reporters yesterday on the sidelines of Doha Film Institute’s (DFI) 
industry incubation event.
She was one of the seven filmmakers who are working with DFI for a number of projects, including Hamida Issa, AJ al-Thani, Hend Fakhroo, Hassan al-Malki al-Jahni, Khalifa al-Thani, and Ahmad al-Sharif.
Al-Sulaiti said she saw how other filmmakers progressed and win awards in a number of festivals after their Qumra stint in Doha last year.
The fifth edition of Qumra, which began on March 15 and concludes on March 20 at Souq Waqif and the Museum of Islamic Art, gathered over 150 acclaimed filmmakers, industry professionals and experts to nurture 36 Qumra projects – by first- and second-time filmmakers that are in various stages of development, DFI noted.
“Having an institute like DFI that supports Qatari filmmakers, even from the region, and pushes for creative outputs really helps in creating like a different voice,” al-Sulaiti said.
Like al-Sulaiti who is working on two projects this year, Issa also lauded Qumra for its important role in developing and promoting the local creative industry. 
“DFI is the foundation of what the film industry has been built upon, there have been branches that grown out of it,” she said. “DFI gave me the tools and empowered me with storytelling.”
Issa’s Places of the Soul, the first Qatari documentary feature screening in the work-in-progress segment of Qumra 2019, is about her journey as the first Qatari woman to travel to the Antarctic in hope of a sustainable future before returning to Qatar in search of inspiration to make positive change.
About the growing number and interest of Qatari women in the country’s film industry, Issa cited women’s creativity “who have so much stored inside of them.”
“Now is the time for us to share our stories and express our reality when in previous times it has not been expressed,” she said. “Now is the time that we share things about our culture in the feminine perspective, stories, mythology, our dreams, to prove that we are able to succeed and chase our dreams.”

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