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Doha Film Institute Restructures Learning Initiatives for Local Filmmakers

Jul 21, 2014

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Doha, Qatar: July 21, 2014: A group of twenty local filmmakers are about to complete a twelve-week pilot project for the Doha Film Institute’s new Filmmaking Seminars under the organisation’s restructured Learning Initiatives.

The pilot course took place as a trial run for the Institute’s new filmmaking seminar modules, and will provide detailed feedback from the participants that will be taken into account as the Institute refines the programme ahead of its first public intake in October.

Doha Film Institute CEO Abdulaziz Al-Khater said: “I am grateful to the participants of our recent pilot project for their valuable participation in developing a programme that I believe will make a dynamic contribution to our local film culture. I look forward to welcoming our new participants in October and I am confident that we will see some exciting outcomes from these seminars.”

Doha Film Institute Director of Learning Initiatives, Hakim Belabbes said: “Our Filmmaking Seminars work with participants to help them find and develop their personal voice. For filmmakers in Qatar, an essential element of this process is going back to our Arab identity, delving into our folk tales and heritage, reviving spoken images from our families, our community and our literature, and bringing the richness of Arab storytelling to the screen. Exploring the history and practice of world cinema and the master filmmakers who have shaped it is also central to the process.”

One of the participants of the pilot, Amal Al-Mufta, said: “The concept we are learning is how to adapt experiences in our lives and reflect this in our films. I’m exploring a new premise of filmmaking which is autobiographical in many ways. It’s very interesting and I am excited to continue brainstorming my ideas.”

The Doha Film Institute’s recent restructure places a strong focus on learning, which will be delivered via two streams: the Filmmaking Seminars series, which is a four-month-long programme structured around the four main phases of film production; and the Creative Consultations programme, a bespoke mentoring service designed to support filmmakers in Qatar with projects in development.

CEO Abdulaziz Al-Khater said: “Part of our role as a national film institute is to help establish the foundations for a home-grown national cinema to grow and thrive. This is not simply about infrastructure or funding; it is also about providing access to development, mentorship and training opportunities to create a fertile seedbed for future growth. Our Creative Consultations build on the work we have already been doing with many talented local filmmakers and formalises the process for them to access support.”

There are currently 17 new projects by local filmmakers being developed through the Creative Consultation programme. Filmmakers in Qatar with projects at any stage of progress are invited to approach the Institute to determine steps to bring their films to the next phase of development.

The Filmmaking Seminars series commences in October, 2014, with an information session to take place in September. The seminars are led by Hakim Belabbes, Doha Film Institute’s Director of Learning Initiatives who was appointed earlier this year to lead the restructure of the department.