Amplifying voices from Qatar’s growing national film industry, the Doha Film Institute’s (DFI) eighth Ajyal Film Festival will present 16 inspiring films by Qatari directors and Qatar-based filmmakers as part of the popular Made in Qatar programme presented by Ooredoo.
"Unlocking opportunities for emerging home-grown creators to join the global film community, Made in Qatar, presented by Ooredoo, returns as one of the most highly-anticipated segments of Ajyal. The one-of-a-kind platform for aspiring filmmakers draws on the immersive power of cinema to drive the creation of original and compelling content from our region and foster global understanding through artistic dialogue," DFI said in a statement.
The 12 DFI-supported shorts will vie for the Made in Qatar Awards, chosen by a jury that includes filmmaker Kamal Aljafari, composer Dana Alfardan and producer Marie Balducchi.
Fatma Hassan Alremaihi, festival director and chief executive officer of the DFI, said: “The Made in Qatar programme returns amid a truly exciting time for Arab cinema and storytellers, as we continue to build a strong ecosystem that amplifies our voices and sees emerging talent from the region achieve global recognition. This year’s incredible slate of 16 inspiring short films underlines our young talents’ deep impact on the evolving creative industries in Qatar and across the region.”
Made in Qatar will once again "celebrate the exciting state of filmmaking in Qatar in two programmes of thrilling short narratives, animations and documentaries", the statement notes.
Programme 1: Thursday (November 19) at 6.30pm at Ajyal’s Drive-In Cinema in Lusail; Friday (November 20) at 2.30pm at Vox Cinemas, Doha Festival City; and available for online screening for Qatar audiences from November 19-23:
* 'Hope' (Qatar, Indonesia/2020) by Abdulla Mohamed al-Janahi is the journey of a disabled, but very determined little sea turtle named Aqua as he overcomes every obstacle from nest to sea.
* In 'Under Her Skin' (Qatar, France, Algeria/2020) by Meriem Mesraoua, Sarah must abide by rules she does not fully understand when her mother forbids her from biting her nails. By regaining control over her movements, she slowly redefines her attitude towards others.
* Hassan al-Jahni’s 'Emsahar' (Qatar/2020) follows a young girl that attempts to prevent the death of her beloved grandmother by harnessing the magical powers of a local Ramadan drummer.
* 'Stranger' (Qatar, France/2020) by Yasser Mustafa and Christophe Buffet is about a security guard of an abandoned elementary school who explores the remnants of a neighbourhood’s past residents, weaving their mysteries into his own narrative.
* In 'Al-Sit' (Sudan, Qatar/2020) by Suzannah Mirghani, young Nafisa is due to enter an arranged marriage to a Sudanese businessman living abroad. Does she have a choice, or will Al-Sit, the powerful village matriarch have the last say?
* Set in a broken welfare system, 'Woman of Steel' (Jordan, Qatar/2020) by Obada Yousef Jarbi is about a tireless mother who takes to the streets collecting and selling scrap metal as a means to provide for her family.
* 'Ya Hoota' (Qatar/2019) by Abdulaziz Yousif and Latifa al-Darwish is the story of a curious little girl and her cousin attempting to save the moon from a gigantic whale - with the help of some extraordinary characters.
* 'J’ai Le Cafard' (Kuwait, Egypt, Sudan, Qatar/2020) by Maysaa Almumin follows a woman who struggles to make sense of her downhearted mood, but a chance encounter with a cockroach becomes both a saving grace and the source of her angst.
* In Khalifa al-Mana’s 'Al Tabbab' (Qatar/2020), a boy and his father set sail to a secret site where they perform an ancient ritual to harvest pearls from a mysterious sea monster.
Programme 2: Saturday (November 21) at 6.30pm at Ajyal’s Drive-In Cinema in Lusail; Sunday (November 22) at 5.30pm at Vox Cinemas, Doha Festival City, and available for online screening for both Qatar and Mena audiences from November 19-23:
* 'Watar El Ghurbeh' (Qatar, US/2019) by Alessandra El Chanti tells the story of a Palestinian-American music composer who prepares the Middle Eastern Music Ensemble for its big concert when he revisits his musical upbringing through a phone call.
* Ibrahim Albuainain’s 'Smile You Deserve It' (Qatar/2020) follows a cheerful and upbeat farmer teaching his cynical neighbour a beautiful life lesson - that work done with joy and perseverance always bears the best harvest.
* 'Beyond Broken Walls' (Qatar/2020) by Hissa G al-Mannai thematises an artist’s internal struggle with self-expression, which leads him to rediscover himself in the most unexpected of places.
* 'Ander' (Qatar, Kazakhstan/2020) by Alina Mustafina is about an energetic five-year-old boy who - despite a severe dairy allergy that often isolates him from other kids at school - simply tries to enjoy his childhood.
* In 'Shringar' (Qatar/2020) by Muhamed Noufal, a young girl’s nightmare serves as an allegory for the real-life horror of child labour in the Indian mica industry - a mineral used in creating some cosmetic products.
* Mariam al-Dhubhan’s 'No Words' (Yemen, Qatar, UK/2020) is a lyrical lament about a poet’s loss of words as to what is happening to his beloved city Taiz and the situation in Yemen.
* 'Under the Lemon Tree' (Qatar, Palestine/2020) by Noor al-Asswad depicts an exiled Palestinian woman who sits under the shade of a lemon tree, retreating into her memories of early life in her homeland.
Audiences are invited to join the excusive online Q&A sessions with the filmmakers. The Programme 1 Q&A is set for 7pm on Friday, November 20, while the Programme 2 Q&A will take place at 9pm on Sunday, November 22. Both events are free to the public, and needs to head to the DFI website to reserve a spot.
Tickets for the Lusail Drive-In Cinema screenings can be purchased for QR100 per car and are available at ajyalfilm.com. Short film programmes screening at Vox Cinemas, Doha Festival City, are priced at QR60 for regular seating and QR90 for premium seating. To buy tickets now, one can visit the VoX Cinemas website.
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