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Don't Get Too Comfortable

Fall Grants 2020 - Production Stage

Shaima Al Tamimi / Short Experimental / Yemen, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Netherlands, Qatar / 2022 / 9 min / Original Language: Arabic, English, Swahili / Interests: History, Social Issues, Immigration, Based on a True Story, Creative Documentary


When Shaima Al-Tamimi’s paternal grandfather migrated from Yemen to Zanzibar half a century ago to find work, little did he know that migration would continue as a pattern for later generations of his family. Having lived through a deadly revolution in the early 1960s powered by British colonialism, he fled back to Yemen with members of the family, including Shaima’s father. Fast forward 55 years and five countries later, she is a member of a generation of Yemenis who have grown up confused, marginalised and deprived of opportunities to thrive due to the limitations of being a Yemeni passport holder even while living outside their homeland. ‘Don’t Get Too Comfortable’ fuses archival images, found footage, parallax animation and sound design to create a multimedia letter to the director’s paternal grandfather, reflecting on the migration and resettlement of her family following his death over fifty years ago. Family photos, archival materials, and self-portraits by the director place the viewer in-between time and space, calling attention to the collective feeling of statelessness and sense of being, felt by Yemeni migrants and their descendants. This introspection attempts to heal intergenerational trauma, creating space for a new and more nuanced narrative of Yemeni migration.


Shaima Al Tamimi
Shaima Al Tamimi
Shaima Al Tamimi, Mayar Hamdan

About the Director

Shaima Al-Tamimi is a Yemeni-East African visual storyteller based in the GCC. Her work is inspired by social and cultural issues reflective of her own personal story. She explores themes relating to patterns and impacts of migration, identity, and culinary culture. Through the mediums of photography, film, and writing - and via a deeply-rooted documentary approach - Shaima merges historical and family archives with present-day portraits and visuals to create vivid narratives, offering a unique perspective on the life stories of her subjects. She was a PSJ 2020 Fellow at the Magnum Foundation, where she developed her multimedia film 'Don’t Get Too Comfortable', which was nominated for the Orizzonti Award for Best Short film at Venice International Film Festival (La Biennale). It was the first Yemeni film to have participated at Venice to date (hopefully not the last). The film is an expansion of her long-term project 'As if we never came' supported by the Arab Documentary Photography program via AFAC. It has received additional support from Women Photograph + Nikon USA and the Prince Claus Fund. Her work has been featured in Vice Arabia, CNN, Hype Beast Art, Gulf Photo Plus, Art 29, JDEED Magazine, Khaleejesque Magazine, and Doha News.


  • Main Contact

    Shaima Al Tamimi

    Doha Film Institute

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