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Dec 01, 2014

Today marks the beginning of the second edition of the Ajyal Film Festival and as the opening film will prove, the programme has something amazing in store for all ages and tastes.

Don’t believe us? Starting with this evening’s world premiere of ‘Speed Sisters’, we’ve got a selection of titles everyone in the family shouldn’t miss. Check them out and discover what Ajyal has in store, not only for kids and teens, but also for grown-ups!

Speed Sisters (PG-15) – This adrenaline-packed look at the first all-woman rally-racing team in the Middle East is really something – you gotta see it to believe it! These five fierce women are taking the auto-racing world of Palestine by storm, and they will all be on the red carpet for the world premiere tonight! If you miss it tonight, no worries – it shows again on Thursday, 4 December.

Theeb (PG-13) – While the Second World War rages far away and the Arab Revolt threatens Ottoman rule in the Arab world, a young Bedouin boy finds himself on a perilous adventure in the desert after he follows his brother and a mysterious British officer into the wild. This multi-award-winning tale is an affecting coming-of-age story inflected by classic Western tropes, all set against the stunning vastness of Wadi Rum. You’ll be glued to the big screen. Red carpet screening tomorrow, 2 December; second screening 6 December.

Inside Out: The People’s Art Project (PG-13) – Can art change the world? This inspirational documentary proves that it can least turn it ‘inside out’. You’ll marvel at this global call of action which has inspired communities from Haiti to Tunisia, Mexico to Palestine to raise their voices on important causes by pasting giant black-and-white portraits on buildings, bridges and rooftops. The documentary is part of this year’s homage to photography, which includes an exhibition in two dedicated galleries (open 2 to 6 December) and four hands-on photography workshops. The film screens on 2 and 4 December; Photography Workshops daily.

Whiplash (PG-15) – Winner of both the Audience and Jury Awards at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, this story of the stormy relationship between a talented drummer and his ferocious instructor at a cutthroat music academy is already gathering Oscar buzz, thanks to its tense direction and towering performances. Screening on 2 and 5 December.

Sepideh: Reaching for the Stars (PG-15) – Get ready to be inspired, moved and exhilarated by this wonderful true story of a young Iranian woman who is determined to become an astronaut against all odds. This emotional rollercoaster ride of hope and despair is a remarkable celebration of the power of persistance. Screening on 2 and 6 December.

We bid farewell to a year of cultural exchange with Brazil with this outstanding film. Winner of several international prizes,The Boy and the World (PG-13) uses a stunning array of animation techniques and draws inspiration from 19th and 20th century art to tell of a boy’s journey into a hostile world to reunite with his father. The film tackles modern issues like mass consumption, social repression, the industrial revolution and the global economy, and its emotional impact and visual mastery will capture your eyes, mind and heart. This Qatar Year of Culture Cinema Showcase also passes the cultural torch to Turkey, next year’s celebrated nation, with the wonderful short film Ice Cream. One screening only – 3 December.

A timely and necessary documentary that testifies to the power of the Internet to bring people together, #chicagoGirl: The Social Network Takes On a Dictator (PG-15) portrays the incredible courage of a young Syrian woman who assists the Syrian revolution, and supports her friends who are protesting on the streets – from her bedroom in Chicago. Screening on 3 and 6 December.

Three inspiring documentaries whose common thread is the importance of education for children all over the world are gathered together for a special screening called BraveHearts. Faridullah’s Day Off is the hearbreaking tale of a nine-year-old boy in Afghanistan who spends his days working in a brick factory and dreams of going to school some day; Fire in Our Hearts documents the story of the first generation of literate girls in an Indian tribe previously subject to indentured slavery; and Poet Against Prejudice shows the courage and strength of a Yemeni teenager who suffered racism and prejudice in the USA and uses this hatred as an inspiration for her poetry. One screening only – 6 December – admission is free, but please reserve a ticket in advance for guaranteed seating.

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