Any film lover knows all too well that their appetite for all things cinematic is insatiable – the symptoms of which include stalking IMDB for trailer releases, buying stacks of movie posters and of course imagining oneself to be at an awesome film festival that may or may not be in another country. If any or all of these inflictions sound familiar, you might need professional help – no, not a psychologist; the professionals at the Doha Film Institute are more than capable of curing what ails you. The antidote for year-round cinematic deprivation is two doses of festival, taken twice yearly.
Where are you going to find this filmic elixir? Right here in Doha. DFI has recently announced that it is expanding its festival format to include two cinematic showcases: the Ajyal Film Festival for the Young and the Qumra Film Festival, Doha. Ajyal (Arabic for ‘generations’) offers the first step toward cinematic recovery in November, building on DFI’s established history of community-based programming. Designed to bring generations together, the festival provide opportunities for creative interaction and opens a space for discussion about issues facing youth today.
Just in time to save you from re-entering cinema withdrawal, the Qumra Film Festival is held a few months later in March. (The name of the festival, ‘Qumra’, is popularly said to be the origin of the word ‘camera’, and to have been used by the scientist, astronomer and mathematician Alhazen (Ibn al-Haytham, 965–c.1040 CE), whose work in optics laid out the principles of the camera obscura.) Qumra is committed to exploring the imagination and visions of upcoming directors.
International competitions for first- and second-time filmmakers are at the heart of the eight-day festival, and awards will be decided by international juries in the feature-length and short film categories, including the Made in Qatar section. The out-of-competition sections will include a panorama of compelling films from contemporary auteurs, established directors and new talent; a carte-blanche section that invites acclaimed directors to share films that played a role in shaping their cinematic sensibility; and a tribute that pays homage to the contributions of significant figures of world cinema. Extending its focus on directors’ early works, the Qumra Film Festival also provides a rare chance to see the first films of celebrated filmmakers.
If you want to do more than just watch films, the festival’s Industry Days will include master classes, workshops, panels and the Doha Projects initiative, which brings together DFI grant recipients with producers and key players from the film industry. In typical DFI style, exhibitions and musical performances will complement your antidote for cinematic deprivation and ensure that your late nights online scouring the Internet for new films is downgraded from crazy to just curious.