By Joey Aguilar/Staff Reporter
More Qatari filmmakers will make it to the international arena despite the current and future challenges, Doha Film Institute (DFI) CEO Fatma al-Remaihi has expressed confidence. “Given the immense talents we encounter and mentor at the Institute each year, I am certain that we will see an increased participation from Qatari filmmakers on the global film circuit,” she told Gulf Times.
Of the 46 selected projects at this year’s Qumra edition, al-Remaihi noted that 20 are helmed by first- and second-time filmmakers based in Qatar, including 12 by Qatari filmmakers.
The Qumra 2020, which adapted online mentorship and support format between March 20 and 25, allowed DFI to connect with industry experts and filmmakers from across the globe amid the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.
With seven feature narratives in development; five Qumra shorts and two Qumra Series projects, al-Remaihi said their home-grown talents underline the evolution of a strong film ecosystem in Qatar.
“Its powerfully inspiring to witness the continuous growth of the depth and profile of our homegrown talent taking our stories to the world,” she said.
Alremaihi pointed out that Qumra’s latest edition once again witnessed what she described as “the creative brilliance of our emerging talents” such as A J al-Thani, Hend Fakhroo, Hamida Issa, Mahdi Ali Ali, Fahad al-Kuwari, Abdulla al-Abdulla, Ali al-Ansari, among others.”
According to the DFI CEO, the increased number of projects at Qumra from Qatar across all formats is “a huge testament to their growing prominence.”
“We are excited to be connecting the creativity and ambition of our emerging talent with the wisdom and experience of leaders in the global film industry,” she said. “I share with great pride that DFI, under its esteemed leadership, has established itself as a global creative hub that facilitates exchange of learning, resources and expert collaboration between nations and cultures, demonstrating Qatar’s contribution to the global arts community,” al-Remaihi added.
DFI, along with many institutions in Qatar, stands at the forefront of supporting the home-grown arts and culture scene, she said.
“I believe our nascent film industry is driven by our talented creatives, whose creativity and dedication are indicative of our strength as a society to persevere and draw on the power of film to overcome adversity,” al-Remaihi said. About the key takeaways of the discussions and the other sessions at Qumra, she said the online format provided filmmakers with unprecedented access to the mentorship, feedback and networking with leading global film experts “to get their projects off the ground and out to audiences.”
Qumra 2020 featured one-on-one sessions and digital match-making meetings for selected projects with industry leaders, and festival programmers, sales agents and distributors had exclusive access to projects in post-production.
“I am amazed by the breadth of creative talent and progress each of our filmmakers has displayed as part of this year’s programme as well as their dedication to present their projects to the world and redefine the future of independent film,” al-Remaihi said.
“Many of our Work-in-Progress filmmakers successfully presented their projects to renowned industry experts from across the globe and are now one step closer to realising their creative dreams with hands-on support,” she added.
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