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Doha unveils new festival format

The Doha Film Institute (DFI) will hold two annual film festivals starting this year – the emerging talent-focused Qumra Film Festival in March, and the community-based Ajyal Film Festival for the Young in November.

The eight-day Qumra Film Festival will include competitions for first and second-time filmmakers from around the world. International juries will present awards in feature-length and short film categories, along with the existing Made in Qatar section.

The Qumra Film Festival’s Industry Days programme will include master classes, workshops, panels and the Doha Projects initiative, matching DFI grant recipients with producers and other industry players. Out-of-competition programming will include films from established directors and new talent; a section inviting directors to share films that influenced their work; along with tributes and directors’ first films.

The Ajyal Film Festival for the Young aims to bring cinema and film-related activities to Qatar to promote film appreciation among families and educators. Headed by DFI head of programmes Fatma Al Remaihi, the festival will feature competition sections judged by local children in three age ranges, along with thematic retrospectives, master classes, workshops and other events.

The first edition of the Ajyal Film Festival takes place in November, 2013, while the inaugural Qumra Film Festival will take place in March, 2014. DFI recently ended its partnership with Tribeca Enterprises, with which it had co-hosted the Doha Tribeca Film Festival for the past four years.

“Over the last four years, our community-based programming has been extremely popular among the residents of Doha,” said DFI CEO Abdulaziz Al Khater. “We want to harness the momentum we’ve generated there and continue developing film appreciation in Qatar.

“At the same time, the Institute has decided to focus on emerging filmmakers and expand its competitions to include films from around the world. The best path to achieving our goals is to build two separate film festivals.”

“We have designed Ajyal to enhance film education and make it a lot of fun by engaging families and educators through cinema,” said Al Remaihi.

“At the same time, we want to open a space for dialogue about the complex issues facing youth today and to empower them by giving them a platform for expression. It’s an investment in today’s youth – so it’s really an investment in the Qatar of the future.”

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