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Qatar Stars follows The Olympic Stars, a rhythmic gymnastics team for girls aged 9-15. In this longitudinal coming-of-age story, we profile the schools most promising gymnasts as they experience the joys and complications of girlhood in a rapidly shifting, and sometimes contradictory, contemporary Middle East. Envisioned by former Russian rhythmic gymnast Tatiana and her Bangladeshi husband Manzoor, their school is a small but growing business. The third partner is Haya, a Qatari national and former gymnast herself. They share an entrepreneurial spirit committed to girls’ empowerment and opportunity. Their aspiration is to present the first official Qatari team at professional “juniors'' level international competitions. The professional team are the top gymnasts—girls from Qatar, Lebanon, Egypt, the UK, and Ukraine. Each displays talent, drive, ambition. Yet each is also a budding adolescent with insecurities, a need for friendship, social media obsessions, and the occasional meltdown. In short, a typical pre-teen. This four-year story is told through the girls, their families, and the school. Each of the characters, adults and children, serve as a microcosm of the population of Qatar, a country primarily composed of expats co-existing alongside Qatari nationals. The Olympic Stars school brings many nationalities together through sport.
About the Director
Danielle Beverly works as a one-person crew, to craft observational documentaries. Her latest feature documentary is Dusty Groove: The Sound of Transition (2019), about a Chicago used vinyl buyer and the people who sell him their once prized possessions – their vinyl record collections. Beverly is currently in post-production on Qatar Stars, about a girls’ rhythmic gymnastics team in Doha. Other feature documentaries include Old South (Al Jazeera Witness, America ReFramed), Learning to Swallow (America ReFramed), and the short Lonnie Holley: The Truth of the Dirt (co-producer/cinematographer, World Channel). Beverly is committed to creating conversation and engagement around her films. Beverly’s feature documentaries have been selected to tour The Southern Circuit, taking the films to small Southern towns. And for Old South, she created a “Healing Spaces Tour” that took the film out of theatres and into community gardens across the American South, to spur challenging conversations around race, place and legacy.
Beverly is an Assistant Professor at Northwestern University in the MFA Documentary Media Program, and at Northwestern University in Qatar, where she teaches documentary production and theory.
- Danielle Beverly
- Jawaher AlMoawda