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Doha, Qatar; November 30, 2013: The inaugural Ajyal Youth Film Festival, presented by the Doha Film Institute, concluded on Saturday night with the winners of the Doha Film Experience in-competition segments, chosen by hundreds of young jurors from ages 8 to 21, honoured at a closing ceremony.
Abdulaziz Al-Khater, Chief Executive Officer of the Doha Film Institute, and Fatma Al Remaihi, Director of Ajyal Youth Film Festival, joined the jurors in presenting the prizes to the winners of the three categories in the Doha Film Experience. The winner in the Made in Qatar programme that recognizes homegrown talent were also honoured at the ceremony.
The Doha Film Experience winners received development awards of US$15,000 each for the Best Feature Filmmakers in the Hilal and Bader categories, and US$5,000 each for the Best Filmmakers in the Mohaq, Hilal and Bader segments, through the Ajyal Film Fund.
Addressing the audience, Mr. Al-Khater said: “In our first edition, we hope that we have instilled and reinforced the love of cinema in many of you – young and young at heart. We also hope that we have ignited many interesting conversations, exchanges of ideas and point of views – amongst children, teens, and across generations. I congratulate the young jurors for their dedication and enthusiasm over the last five days in watching your films, discussing them and working hard to decide the winners.”
Al Remaihi added: “Ajyal has addressed a clear need in this part of the world in creating a platform for young audiences to discover new facets of cinema, engage in new types of conversations and expand their imagination. We will continue to build on the bonds that have been formed through the festival and support our youth and talent to pursue their dreams.”
The winners of Ajyal Youth Film Festival are:
Doha Film Experience
- Mohaq: Best Short Filmmaker – Little Kyota Neon Hood, directed by Satsuki Okawa
- Hilal: Best Short Filmmaker – The Invention, directed by Giovanni Granada
- Hilal: Best Feature Filmmaker – Regret, directed by David Schram
- Bader: Best Short Filmmaker – Men’s barber shop, directed by Meshal Alhulail
- Bader: Best Feature Filmmaker – The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete, directed by George Tillman Jr.
Made in Qatar
- Made in Qatar Award – My Hero, directed by Nora Al-Subai
In all, the young jurors watched and critiqued 42 films before casting their votes to choose the winners. For the Made in Qatar programme, the jury evaluated eight entries, all by Qatari filmmakers or talent based in the country.
The winners of the Otaku Cosplay competition, a highlight of the anime exhibition at the Ajyal Youth Film Festival, were also honoured. Participants, who dressed up as their favourite anime character from a movie or cartoon, were judged on craftsmanship, originality, choreography.
Over the past five days, the Ajyal Youth Film Festival screened 65 films from 30 nations including Special Screenings of movies from the UK and Brazil. The spectacular world of ‘Anime’ took centre stage with the ‘Otaku Exhibition,’ which featured the works of a number of artists and social clubs.
The inaugural Ajyal Industry Forum, themed ‘Our Children First!,’ discussed aspects ranging from the value of local content to policy making and film marketing, and presented diverse perspectives of filmmakers from around the world. Participants at the panel discussions underlined the need to narrate stories for children from their perspective and to promote localized content.
A highlight of the festival was the ‘Family Weekend’ at The Cultural Village Katara, with several free of charge events including the Ajyal Studio, where audiences could be part of the filmmaking experience; storytelling workshops, and performances from local youth and international talents amongst others. The ‘Sandbox,’ an interactive space, was also a crowd favourite, and featured interactive 3D installations, educational games, apps, new digital creative tools, and hands-on production activities from Doha and the rest of the world.