Training & Development

Back to listing


Short Script lab

Start date:
Jan 30, 2020
Ability Level:
Intermediate to advanced

The Doha Film Institute’s Short Script lab is designed to assist emerging screenwriters and writer-directors from Qatar and the MENA region to complete a new draft of their original short film screenplay with the guidance of experienced international mentors. Screenplays written through this lab may be nominated for production through these DFI programmes:

Qumra Shorts
Qatari Film Fund
Production Funding (MENA region)

Short Script lab provides a transformative experience for filmmakers to explore their creativity and individual voice in an inspiring, intensive programme that balances one-on-one mentorship sessions and independent work with moderated group discussions and presentations among peers. Participants will refine their skills in dramatic writing (premise, theme, structure, character and story), advance the development of their short film screenplays with a new draft, and discuss the regional and international short film landscapes. Candidates are encouraged to develop personal stories that come from the heart, and that reflect contemporary life in the MENA region; they should also be feasible for eventual production in Qatar or the region.

Application Deadline extended to 17 December.

Programme Dates: 30 January to 6 February 2020 (eight full days)
Participants will have eight full days for independent and group work on their scripts. All participants are expected to present a new version of their short film script to their tutors and the DFI team by the last day of the programme.

Hours to be confirmed – will including lunch/dinner and breaks. Participation is required for all eight days of the course, as the work, sharing and learning build from day-to-day.

Language: English

Fee: QAR 1,500.00
*Qatar Museums Culture Pass members receive a 10% discount

Group Size: 8 to 10 writers/directors

Ability Level: Intermediate to advanced

The workshop is designed for writers/directors of short films based in Qatar or the MENA region, and a total of eight to ten participants will be selected.

• Candidates must have written and directed at least one short film and show an aptitude for writing drama.
• Candidates must be Qatar or MENA-based
• Residents of the MENA region are responsible for funding their own travel expenses. Depending on their country of origin, accepted candidates might be referred to regional partner institutions for support.

Application Requirements

  1. Email all the following required materials as one PDF or Word document to
    • Brief letter of intention explaining why you are applying to the lab (maximum 1 page)
    • CV/brief biography and contact details (mobile number and email address)
    • Detailed treatment (maximum 2 pages) or script (maximum 15 pages) for a short fiction film of 5 to 15 minutes in length that can be shot in Qatar or the MENA region
    • Link(s) to at least one previous short film, as well as a copy of its script
  2. Attach separately to the application email:
    • Qatar ID or equivalent MENA ID/Passport copy

Please note that submission of an application does not guarantee a place in the programme; depending on the number of submissions, some applicants may be waitlisted or declined. Please submit all required materials to on or before December 17th, 2019 for consideration.

Candidate Selection

After the application deadline, the lab mentor and the DFI team will review applications. Candidates may be invited for a supplemental interview during the selection process.

Candidates will be assessed on their ability to expand and develop their materials into coherent screenplays as well as their readiness to work with the mentors and other lab participants on substantial re-writes of their script.

Please note that submission of your application does not guarantee a place in the programme; depending on the number of submissions, some applicants may be waitlisted or declined. All applicants will be notified of the results of their submission in a timely manner after the application deadline.


Matthieu Darras
Lab Advisor

Matthieu Darras leads and designed several programs of film/talent development and consultancy that are active worldwide: The First Cut Lab, the Pop Up Film Residency, and the Full Circle Lab. Previously, he founded and directed the European Network of Young Cinema NISI MASA, wrote for the film magazine Positif for fifteen years, and was the artistic director of the TorinoFilmLab until 2018. Matthieu Darras has been working for major film festivals in Europe: as a programmer for the Cannes Critics’ Week, as a consultant for the Venice Film Festival, and as a delegate for the San Sebastian Film Festival since 2010. He also directed the Bratislava Film Festival. He has been collaborating with the Doha Film Institute since 2016, involved as Lab Advisor for both the Short Scriptwriting Lab & the Hezayah Scriptwriting Lab, and consulting with projects presented at Qumra.

Britta Krause
Script Editor

Britta Krause is a script editor and director based in Berlin. She has been working as a tutor with emerging screenwriters for Kultburo Moscow, Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf, Nipkow Programm, Berlin, and Nisi Masa’s European Short Pitch workshops. She was a script editor trainee at TorinoFilmLab’s Script&Pitch workshop in 2012 before joining the laboratory again in 2018 as a trainer for FeatureLab. Britta is currently teaching Script Development Strategies at Filmakademie Ludwigsburg to students of the International Producing program as well as working one on one with writers and directors from all over Europe.

Antoine Waked
Script Editor

Antoine Waked works as a Development Executive at Abbout Productions and Shortcut Films since 2010. He also teaches writing and directed at ALBA University since 2005. He wrote a segment of the anthology A Quintet (2014) that premiered at the Sarajevo Film Festival and received the Special Jury Prize at the Chelsea Film Festival. He co-directed the feature documentary A Certain Nasser (2017), a portrait of pioneer Lebanese filmmaker Georges Nasser that premiered in Festival Lumière in Lyon and won the Special Jury Award at the Cairo International Film Festival. Antoine is also the co-founder and artistic director of Maskoon Fantastic Film Festival, the first fantastic festival in the Arab world, which debuted in 2016.


  • Sunrise – Alina Mustafina (Kazakhstan)

  • Seeking Dawn – Beshr Idlbi (Syria)

  • Repression – Mike Malajalian (Lebanon, Armenia)

  • Venus and Mars (Mohamed Al-Mahmeed) Qatar

  • Dead ASF – Nadia Al-Khater (Qatar)

  • The Passport – Rakan Mayasi (Palestine, Lebanon)

  • Shower Talks – Sila Unlu (Turkey)

  • In Case There’s an Absence of Hope – Sufian Arara (Libya)