Qatar residents from many countries are getting a chance to watch an assorted set of European movies at the ongoing European Drive-In Film Festival which concludes on Saturday at the VIP parking lot of Doha Festival City.
People sitting in their can enjoy watch films in a pleasant outdoor atmosphere.
The film gala kicked off with the premiere screening of a Swedish film, The 100-year-old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, a comedy about a man who has had a very rich life but did not want to celebrate his 100th birthday.
The others films include; The White Knigh from Belgium, Barefoot from The Czech Republic, As Needed from Italy, Cool Kids Don’I Cry from The Netherlands, Apollo of Gaza from Switzerland, Mothers Know Better from Portugal, Gundermann from Germany, and Brothers of the Wind from Austria.
HE the Minister of Culture and Sports Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali opened the festival Thursday evening, along with a number of European ambassadors. Swedish ambassador Anders Bengtcén, Austrian ambassador Karin Fichtinger-Grohe, Céline Ganseman (deputy head of mission at the embassy of Belgium), Italian ambassador Alessandro Prunas, German ambassador Dr Claudius Fischbach, Ilyaas Sherally (the second secretary at the embassy of the Netherlands), Portuguese ambassador António Alves de Carvalho, Swiss ambassador Edgar Dörig, Jihad Zarkout (assistant general manager of Bawabat Al-Shamal Real Estate Company [DHFC]), and Zaher Abou Khamis, general business manager of Nestlé Qatar were present.
Speaking at a press conference before the inauguration of the festival, the envoys highlighted the significance and need of the film festival first to celebrate the diversity and then to get some distraction from the Covid-19 concerns. “Culture in all its forms – cinema, art, music, literature, and theatre – is very important. Culture is fundamental in all our countries. It is perhaps more important during the difficult times such as current pandemic”, said Swiss ambassador Edgar Dörig, whose embassy was entrusted with the task of implementing the idea of drive-in festival.
“In times of hardships, culture can give some comfort, encouragement and a welcome distraction. Different channels of delivering cultural activities have been shot down to curb the further outbreak of the virus. Theatres, cinema and concerts have been cancelled,” he added.
European ambassadors and organisers addressing the press conference. PICTURES: Shaji Kayamkulam.
Sharing how the concept of having the drive-in film festival started, the ambassador said: “We started to think about it in July and August this year. We wanted to have something that is Covid-19 safe, involves large audience, and creates a sense of togetherness. The open air cinema has gradually developed into drive-in film festival. The concept has long been in practice in European countries. Qatar also has the history of open air theaters. Finally, we have this venture. Subject matters and themes of the selected films are very broad. The collection is good reflection of very dynamic film industry in Europe.”
In response to a question, ambassador Dörig said that they would closely watch how people receive the concept and if it remained successful they would work to make it an annual feature in Qatar.
Alicia Amina, a Filipino expatriate, was present in the venue to watch the opening film with her family. She said: “I love watching movies of different kinds. The drive-in film watching is a new experience for me. It is very interesting to sit in your car with windows down during the pleasant evening and watch movies from different countries.”
She also appreciated the arrangements. “There is very clear sound and easy to read subtitles. The screen size and its height level have made it easy to watch the movie from a distance. I will suggest that it can be a great addition to the entertainment industry, if Doha Festival City considers using the venue as a permanent drive-in movie theatre especially from November to April.”
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