*Qatari actor Amina Hilal wins the Abdulaziz Jassim Award for Best Performance for 'Under Her Skin' in the Made in Qatar Competition
The first-ever hybrid edition of the 8th Ajyal Film Festival, presented by the Doha Film Institute (DFI) from November 18, concluded on Monday with the announcement of the winners of the Ajyal Jury Competition and Made in Qatar Awards at a festive ceremony at Katara – the Cultural Village with simultaneous live broadcast at Ajyal’s new Drive-In Cinema at Lusail.
DFI delivered an adapted Ajyal 2020 experience with a balance of virtual and in-person elements in line with government guidelines and with the health of all festival participants as the top priority.
DFI chairperson HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who was present, delivered a special online message to the Ajyal jurors and the audience.
The winners of Ajyal 2020 Jury Competition and Made in Qatar were announced in the presence of HE the Minister of Culture and Sports Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali.
DFI CEO and festival director Fatma Hassan Alremaihi thanked the leadership, public and private sector entities, sponsors, volunteers, filmmakers, and members of the jury for their support in hosting the event.
“As the curtains come down on this year’s 8th Ajyal Film Festival, I remain deeply grateful for your support and unwavering belief in the power of cinema to spark meaningful change in the world and to inspire us to take on the challenges of this year with compassion and humanity. I am proud of your passion, tireless energy, and enthusiasm in keeping cinematic conversations alive, and making this year's Festival possible. Our Ajyal community around the world connected to push the limits of creativity and unite for an unforgettable edition in a virtual space of imaginative collaboration. While this edition was a seemingly impossible challenge at the beginning, you not only made it a reality – but a truly special experience,” she said.
Ajyal’s flagship programme Made in Qatar, presented by Ooerdoo, included 16 narratives, documentaries and reflective essays by 18 Qatari and Qatar-based filmmakers in celebration of Qatar’s growing national film industry.
The Made in Qatar jury was comprised of filmmaker Kamal Aljafari, composer Dana Alfardan, and producer Marie Balducchi.
The international Ajyal Jury – many who participated virtually from around the world – selected this year’s Ajyal Jury Competition Awards winners. Jurors were divided into three age categories: Mohaq (8-12 year olds), Hilal (13-17 year olds), and Bader (18-25 year olds) to evaluate a selection of 22 feature films, including Sun Children, 200 Meters and Their Algeria, and 58 shorts, including Woman of Steel, How My Grandmother Became a Chair and The Present.
The winners of the Made in Qatar Competition Awards: Special Jury Award - Stranger (Qatar, France/2020) by Yasser Mustafa and Christophe Buffet.
Abdulaziz Jassim Award for Best Performance: Amina Hilal from Under Her Skin (Qatar, France, Algeria/2020) by Meriem Mesraoua.
Best Documentary Award: Ander (Qatar, Kazakhstan/2020) by Alina Mustafina; Best Narrative Award: Under Her Skin (Qatar, France, Algeria/2020) by Meriem Mesraoua.
The winners of the Ajyal Jury Competition Awards are: Mohaq - Best Short Film Award: Hope (Qatar, Indonesia/2020) by Abdulla Mohammed al-Janahi; Best Feature Film Award: Dino Dana (Canada/2019) by JJ Johnson.
Hilal - Best Short Film Award: The Present (Palestine, Qatar/2019) by Farah Nabulsi; Best Feature Film Award: Sun Children (Iran/2020) by Majid Majidi.
Bader - Best Short Film Award: Woman of Steel (Jordan, Qatar/2020) by Obada Yousef Jarbi; Best Feature Film Award: 200 Meters (Palestine, Jordan, Qatar, Italy, Sweden/2020) by Ameen Nayfeh.
Audience Award - 200 Meters (Palestine, Jordan, Qatar, Italy, Sweden/2020) by Ameen Nayfeh.
Bariq Audience Award - Best Short Film Award: Small Spark (France/2019) by Julie Rembauville and Nicolas Bianco-Levrin.