By Joey Aguilar /Staff Reporter
Women filmmakers in Qatar and the region have taken remarkable strides in empowering others as they continue to break down barriers and level the playing field for future generations of strong female leaders, Doha Film Institute (DFI) CEO Fatma al-Remaihi has said.
“I am proud that Qatar and the region has among the highest female representation in filmmaking worldwide. The creative industries in the country have been pivotal in empowering women and breaking the glass ceiling not just in cinema but in all walks of life,” she told Gulf Times.
Al-Remaihi was highlighting the role of female filmmakers in the Arab world in inspiring others even in the midst of many challenges, including the current novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. While impacting various sectors in the society, it is learnt that such pandemic provided an opportunity for filmmakers in Qatar to focus and work on their current projects.
“Nearly 60% of our emerging filmmakers in Qatar are talented and skilled women who are changing the face of modern cinema and continue to push the momentum forward to ensure that the next generation is empowered to create and lead equally, with intention and confidence,” the DFI CEO noted.
“I think when you come from this part of the world you feel a certain responsibility because of where you come from, and you need to express yourself as an artist not just as a filmmaker,” she stressed.
“The typical stereotypes and misconceptions about the Arab world have been broken down – especially around women’s contribution and role in cinema.”
Al-Remaihi said women are leading the change in the region because “they recognise that art, culture and education are perfect conduits for people to share transcendental moments.”
“We all have a pivotal opportunity to ensure fair representation of our narratives and to hand our children a fair and equitable world by standing up for those who feel they do not have a voice,” she pointed out.
Al-Rmaihi underlined the support of their visionary leaders like Qatar Museums Chairperson HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani who have “envisioned a future in which integrated development will be the key to unlocking our society’s potential.”
“HE Sheikha Al Mayassa’s commitment to investment in culture and arts has given volume to important new voices, focusing on cross-cultural exchange that strengthens our common hopes, dreams and values,” she said.
“She has always encouraged us to think beyond our physical capabilities and explore opportunities that can further Qatar’s contribution to the successful advancement of the global arts and cultural landscape,” the DFI CEO added.
HE Sheikha Al Mayassa was the inspiration behind the adapted Qumra 2020 online edition this year, which motivating the DFI to leverage international partnerships and industry contacts for the continued success of emerging filmmakers from the Arab world and beyond, according to al-Remaihi.
“Personally, I am struck by the unceasing power of film to connect, educate and create an important sense of cross-cultural understanding. It is an art form that brings us closer together as an international community and opens new doors and opportunities for promising talent,” she said.
“As CEO of DFI, I am proud to continue our legacy in promoting young and emerging voices from the region and experience the bold new energy of filmmakers in the Arab world and beyond,” al-Remaihi said.
She underlined the power of film to change hearts and minds as they aim to empower youth in Qatar through training and development initiatives, mentorship and funding programmes.
Al-Remaihi added that DFI’s annual events such as Qumra and Ajyal immerse emerging talents within an atmosphere of professional curiosity, exchange and inclusivity.
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