Doha, Qatar; December 3, 2016: Highlighting the power of film to inspire positive change and hope, the fourth Ajyal Youth Film Festival, presented by the Doha Film Institute, will put the spotlight on the global displacement crisis today (Sunday, December 4, 2016) with a series of powerful films and an open discussion as part of the Ajyal Talks.
At 7 PM at Katara Opera House, Khaled Khalifa, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Regional Representative to the States of the Gulf Co-Operation Council, will lead a discussion on the current global displacement crisis with a focus on the situation of Syrian refugees. The discussion on ‘Why Refugees Matter’ is free and, and follows the screening of Born in Syria (Denmark) at 5 PM at the Katara Drama Theatre as part of Ajyal’s Special Screenings.
Directed by Hernán Zin, it follows seven young refugees over the course of a year, witnessing everything from their escape from their homeland, their experiences in camps in the Middle East, their arrival in the “promised land” of Europe, and the settling into their new homes. A unique testimony to the contemporary refugee experience, it is backed by a compelling score by acclaimed composer Gabriel Yared.
At 9 PM, watch Fire at Sea (Italy, France), the winner of the Golden Bear at Berlinale, a compelling documentary set in the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa. It been the first stop on the migrant route from Africa to Europe for about 400,000 people, a great number of whom died trying to make the perilous crossing. Directed by Gianfranco Rosi, it will screen at Katara Opera House.
Also watch a film that affirms the joy of life with Listen to the Silence (Georgia, Qatar) by Mariam Chachia to screen at 8.30 PM at Katara 12 – Theatre A. A recipient of funding from the Doha Film Institute Grants Programme, it is about nine-year-old Luka who lives in a boarding school for hearing disabled children. The youngster finds it difficult to make friends, and he feels quite isolated – until he decides to take up traditional Georgian dancing and practise for the school’s end-of-year performance.
In Ajyal’s Midnight Screenings, watch The Girl with All the Gifts (UK), directed by Colm McCarthy, at 11 PM at Katara Drama Theatre. It is a high-tension, high-stakes drama story that reflects the divisive politics of our age.
A captivating collection of short films in all the three Ajyal Competition categories – Mohaq, Hilal and Bader – will be screening, offering the opportunity to watch insightful films from across the world including short narratives by Qatari filmmakers. These screenings are free for the public.
In the Bader Shorts 2 programme to screen at 9.15 PM at Katara 12 – Theatre B, watch Ely Dagher’s Palme d’Or-winning Waves ’98 (Lebanon, Qatar), an intriguing film that considers the contradiction of feeling lost at home. In The Waiting Room, Qatari filmmaker Hend Fakhroo tells a story of two young women to explore the universality of caring for a loved one in distress.
Dry Hot Summers (Egypt, Germany) by Sherif Elbendary depicts a straightforward errand that turns into a wild goose chase for an elderly man when he crosses paths with a bride-to-be in a taxi cab. Directed by Žiga Virc, A New Home (Slovenia) is about a woman, who is terrorised by her own imagination when she takes up residence in a brand-new apartment complex, and Yellow (Saudi Arabia) by Mohammed Salman is an intimate look at everyday life on the streets of Dammam.
The Hilal Shorts programme to screen at 8 PM at Katara Drama Theatre includes: Ari (Australia) by Alex Murawski; Gaurav and the Kites (Germany) by André Hörmann; King’s Day (The Netherlands) by Steven Wouterlood; More Than Two Days (Qatar) by Ahmed Abdelnaser; Pien, Queen of the Bees (The Netherlands) by Ellen Vloet; and The Rifle, the Jackal, the Wolf and the Boy (Lebanon) by Oualid Mouaness.
The Mohaq Shorts showcase includes: Dana’s Kite (Qatar) by Noor Al-Nasr; Fish (USA) by Andrew Ruiz; Heer (Canada, India, Singapore) by Honey B. Singh; I Don’t Even Like Her (Lebanon) by Christelle Al-Kayssar; I’ve Just Had a Dream (Spain) by Javi Navarro; Kashta (Qatar) by AJ Al Thani; The Moustache (Finland) by Anni Oja; Riceballs (Australia) by Shingo Usami; and Tangency (Jordan) by Bashi Kasawneh.
Tickets are priced QR25 for general screening, and are available for purchase 24 hours a day at ajyalfilm.com or from the Ajyal Katara Main Box Office in Katara Building 12 or Ajyal FNAC Ticket Outlet, FNAC Qatar (at Lagoona Mall).
Katara is the Cultural Partner and Oxy Qatar is the Principal Partner for the 2016 edition. Qatar Tourism Authority is the Signature Partner of the festival this year.