There are few things more exciting than being given 48 hours to grab a camera and some spare memory cards and shoot a film with your closest friends and family. If you think Hollywood is a fast-paced and high-pressure environment, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Witness the cinematic craze of Ajyal’s 48-Hour Filmmaking Challenge and its participants, who dropped everything for two days, postponing sleep, nutrition and personal hygiene to shoot and cut the best film they could manage in a mere two-thousand-eight-hundred-eighty-eight minutes.
This year’s challenge attracted more amateur auteurs that ever before and their films will compete for a place in the Ajyal Youth Film Festival’s Made in Qatar screening. In order to throw down your filmic gauntlet, two members of the production team have to be related, bringing filmmaking to the whole family (no siblings were injured in the process). This year’s Festival has been enhanced by the growth in local filmmaking talent and an ever-increasing number of film fanatics. This spike in activity over the past half-decade is a result of an explosive interest in film, not only in Qatar but throughout the region. This expanding love for all things cinematic is partly due to a greater number of spaces and festivals dedicated to the pursuit of great, homegrown films shot in, or focusing on, Qatar.
Experiencing locally crafted cinema is just one of the many great things Ajyal has to offer as it gives audiences access to compelling narratives that are brought to life by local actors and locales. The majority of films we have access to are major international blockbusters, which show audiences distant lands. However, the Festival’s Made in Qatar section is a unique format that features everything from a locally made animated film about time travelling trains, to a meditative film about memory and missed opportunities.
With more and more films being shot and screened in the DOH and throughout Qatar, it is time for audiences to buy an extra bucket of caramel corn, invite a friend or two to a screening and support those who are giving a visual voice to the nation and those who call it home. If you haven’t checked out what Made In Qatar has on offer, then search the site to discover a story that speaks to you.
Although local cinematic culture is young and evolving, there is an abundance of talented artists who are turning on their cameras, adjusting the focus and hitting the streets to capture something different, something that helps define the canon of local filmmaking for years to come. If grabbing a camera is not your style, then supporting those who are starting a journey into cinema is the next best thing.