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Doha, Qatar; October 19, 2014: The second annual Ajyal Youth Film Festival, presented by the Doha Film Institute, will open on December 1 with the world premiere of Speed Sisters by Amber Fares, a thrilling, action-packed and insightful documentary about the Middle East’s first all-woman motor racing team.
Raising the curtain on the festival’s second edition, Speed Sisters takes viewers inside the West Bank’s streetcar motor racing scene where we follow a group of young Palestinian women brought together by their desire to live life on their own terms. The debut feature by Lebanese-Canadian director, Amber Fares, takes an intimate look at the lives of its five subjects and what motivates them to compete as they challenge social expectations, community politics and family dynamics while also facing restrictions of movement by the Israeli military occupation.
The film was developed with the support of the Sundance Institute and Doha Film Institute’s grants programme, along with a variety of international film funds and hundreds of crowdfunding backers around the world.
Fatma Al Remaihi, Festival Director and Acting CEO of Doha Film Institute, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to present the world premiere of Speed Sisters in Doha at the opening night of the Ajyal Youth Film Festival. It is a film that took us by surprise – a first feature by an exciting new director that depicts a very different aspect of life in Palestine than what we are accustomed to seeing on screen.
“Speed Sisters captures the passion and determination that this group of young women have for their sport, as well as the great sense of personal freedom, camaraderie and positivity that motor racing brings to their lives.
“Our festival is dedicated to bringing generations together through cinema, and Speed Sisters is a wonderful example of a film that explores some of the questions and challenges faced by young people in our region around notions of tradition and modernity.”
The director, Amber Fares, will be in attendance for the opening night along with a delegation of the film’s cast and crew.
Amber Fares said: “We have spent five years in Palestine bringing this story to the screen and I am very excited that Doha will mark the start of our festival journey. Speed Sisters is a story about five fiercely determined women and their drive to break through the obstacles in their lives in order to stay true to themselves and their dreams.
We felt it was a perfect fit to launch our film at this youth-oriented event in the Middle East in order to celebrate the energy, hopes and creativity of young people in the region. We are honored to be opening the second edition of the festival.”
Previously announced titles for the festival include the closing night gala which will feature the Middle East premiere of ‘Kahlil Gibran’s the Prophet’, the animated adaptation of Gibran’s beloved book which made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last month. Produced by Salma Hayek and made with support from the Institute’s co-financing programme, the film features the work of nine renowned animators who each depict a chapter from the book. Emirati filmmaker and creator of the popular Freej series, Mohammed Saeed Harib, is among the nine directors.
The full festival programme will be announced early November and tickets will go on sale on Tuesday, 18 November, at 1pm on the Doha Film Institute website and in-person at the following box office locations: Ajyal Festival Booth (City Centre Mall) from 18 November-6 December, (Sat-Wed 2pm-9pm, Thu-Fri 2pm-10pm); Doha Film Institute Katara Drama Theatre Box Office from 18-27 November, (1pm-8pm daily) and the Katara Main Box Office from 28 November- 6 Dec, (28-30 November 1pm-8pm, 1-5 December 1pm-10pm, 6 December 10am-10pm).
The Ajyal Youth Film Festival builds on the Doha Film Institute’s history of community-based programming. Ajyal, meaning ‘generations’ in Arabic, invites people of all ages to come together to discuss cinema through events that inspire creative interaction, opening up a fun, collaborative environment where young people can express themselves. Driven with the goal to inspire and create, Ajyal has been designed to empower the region’s youth and to inspire film enthusiasts of all ages in Qatar and the region.
The second annual Ajyal Youth Film Festival will take place from December 1 – 6 at Katara Cultural Village. The programme consists of daily public screenings of local and international films; family days; special events and exhibitions; the Sandbox interactive digital playground; school screenings; and the Doha Film Experience – Ajyal’s youth jury, where hundreds of young people between the ages of 8 and 21 will watch and discuss shorts and features and decide on the winning films.
For more details on the Ajyal Youth Film Festival, please visit www.dohafilminstitute.com/filmfestival