DFI’s online sessions promote artistic potential of regional film projects
July 15 2020 02:56 AM
Olayan session.
Olayan session.

The Doha Film Institute (DFI) has hosted a comprehensive ‘First Cut Lab’ in a special online edition since June 18, in a series of four main sessions, each dedicated to one select feature or short film.
Designed to foster the artistic potential of the selected rough cuts and to increase the sales, festival and circulation potential of the completed films, the workshops are open to film teams from Qatar or the Mena region whose projects are in different stages of post-production.
In line with the Institute’s mission to support promising talents from the region, the intensive workshops offer selected producer/director/editor teams an opportunity to receive expert feedback on their full rough cut from international film advisers as well as a consultant editor, DFI has said in a press statement. Participants engage in discussions and receive direct feedback in one-to-one meetings and in small groups via video-conferencing platforms. 
At the end of the lab, creative teams receive a written memo report that serves as a guideline for future edits and post-production of their films.
All projects for this year’s Lab will receive expert mentorship from ‘First Cut Lab’ creator and director Matthieu Darras, a renowned festival programmer and former TorinoFilmLab artistic director as well as creator of the Pop Up Film Residency; editor mentors Benjamin Mirguet and Sebastian Sepulveda; and industry advisers Sata Cissokho, Myriam Sassine, Gudula Meinzolt and Wim Vanacker.
The first session focused on Hamida Issa’s feature documentary Places of the Soul (Qatar), which explores the duality between modernity and tradition and nature and civilisation through the filmmaker’s  journey to Antarctica with an environmental and leadership expedition. 
Khalifa Almarri’s short narrative Olayan (Qatar), a Qatari Film Fund project that thematises a Bedouin boy’s friendship with a camel calf, was featured in the second session The third session highlighted The Maiden’s Pond (Lebanon, Qatar) by Bassem Breish, a feature narrative about a strained mother-daughter relationship, while the fourth’s focus is on Jihan Kikhia’s ‘Searching for Kikhia’ (US/ Libya/Lebanon/France/Qatar), tracing the steps of the daughter of a peaceful opposition leader to Qaddafi and her mother’s 19-year search to find him.
“The DFI is deeply committed to elevating promising voices and talents from Qatar and the region through our diverse year-round training and development programmes. We are proud to be part of a global network of organisations that can extend access to the internationally recognised ‘First Cut Lab’ to our community and accelerate the success of standout projects ready to launch,” DFI CEO Fatma Hassan al-Remaihi said.
“This year’s selected films will become part of a prestigious collection of ‘First Cut Lab’-supported debuts, many of which have gone on to premiere at international film festivals such as Cannes and the Berlinale. More so, translating the workshop experience into a digital format will open up new forms of collaboration between our talented film teams and global mentors, while maintaining the creative spirit of skill enhancement through lively discussion and practical team work,” she added.

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