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Doha Film Institute showcases 12 films highlighting Arab and international talent at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival

Sep 09, 2018

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  • Four films, including a short, mark their world premiere at the festival

Doha, Qatar; September 9, 2018: Continuing the track-record of presenting Arab and international talent to the world at major film festivals, 12 films supported by the Doha Film Institute will screen at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival to be held from September 6 to 16. This builds on the strong show of films backed by the Institute at the recent Sarajevo and Venice film festivals. Among the 12 films, four are marking their world premiere while eight have their North American premieres, one of which is in the Special Presentations showcase.

Fatma Al Remaihi, Chief Executive Officer of the Doha Film Institute, said: “It has been an exceptionally rewarding year for the alumni of the Doha Film Institute, with several films being chosen for international film festivals, including now at Toronto. We are truly delighted to present the works of our emerging talents as well as works by accomplished filmmakers that have been supported through our Grants and co-financing initiatives and nurtured through our annual industry event, Qumra. The 12 films at Toronto present distinctive narratives that celebrate the power of films to inspire and move audiences worldwide.”

In the Masters’ section are screening:
• Turkish auteur and 2014 Palme D’or winner and 2016 Qumra Master Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s The Wild Pear Tree (Turkey, France, Germany, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Sweden and Qatar), which explores the theme that for some the countryside is a place of exile where all hopes ultimately merge with solitude. This is the film’s North American premiere.

Divine Wind (Algeria, France, Lebanon, Qatar) by the established Algerian filmmaker Merzak Allouache, is about Nour and Amine, who meet in a house near the city of Timimoun in the Algerian Sahara. They are supposed to launch an armed action against an oil refinery, but things do not go quite as they expected. The film is launching at TIFF.

Also marking their world premiere at Toronto are the following titles:
Look at Me (Tunisia, France, Qatar), directed by Nejib Belkadhi, about Lotfi, a Tunisian immigrant who leads the life of a small-time thug in Marseille, and who is forced to go back home to reclaim his nine-year-old autistic son whom he has not seen for six years. It screens in the Contemporary World Cinema programme.

Freedom Fields (Libya, UK, USA, Netherlands, Lebanon, Canada, Qatar) by Naziha Arebi is a documentary screening in TIFF Docs. Set in post-revolution Libya, the film is about a group of women who are brought together by one dream: to play football for their nation.

Brotherhood (Tunisia, Canada, Sweden, Qatar) is a short film in the Short Cuts segment, directed by Meryam Joobeur. It narrates the story of Mohamed, a hardened shepherd living in rural Tunisia, whose life is shaken when his eldest son returns home from Syria with a new wife.

The six films to celebrate their North American premieres at Toronto in the Discovery section and Wavelengths programme are:
A Kasha (Sudan, South Africa, Germany, Qatar) by hajooj kuka, nurtured at the Doha Film Institute’s annual industry event Qumra, about Adnan, a revolutionary war hero whose love for fighting and his AK-47 are rivalled only by his feelings for Lina, his long-suffering sweetheart. The film recently premiered at the Venice International Film Critics Week.

Screwdriver (Palestine, USA, Qatar) by Bassam Jarbawi about Ziad, who struggles to readjust to life in Rammallah after spending more than a decade in prison for a failed attack on an Israeli settler. The film recently premiered at Venice Days.

Too Late To Die Young (Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Netherlands, Qatar) by Dominga Sotomayor, which is set in the summer of 1990 in Chile, where a small group of families live in an isolated community right below the Andes. A 2018 Qumra project, the film earned Sotomayor the Locarno’s Directing Prize, the first woman to ever win the prize.

The Day I Lost My Shadow (Syria, France, Lebanon, Qatar) by Soudade Kaadan, about Sana, a young mother struggling to raise her child in war-torn Syria in 2012. The film recently premiered in Venice’s Orizzonti section.

The Load (Serbia, France, Croatia, Iran, Qatar) by Ognjen Glavonić, about Vlada, a truck driver, who is tasked with transporting a mysterious load from Kosovo to Belgrade during the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999. The film premiered last May in Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes.

Long Day’s Journey into Night (China, France, Qatar) by Gan Bi, about Luo Hongwu, who returns to his hometown from which he fled 12 years earlier. The film premiered last May in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard.

In the Special Presentations segment is Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki’s Capharnaüm (Lebanon), which won the Jury Prize at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, a gritty film about a child who rebels against the life imposed on him and launches a lawsuit against his parents.