The Doha Film Institute is launching its new nationwide screenwriting development programme entitled Hezayah.

This marks the first of several initiatives planned by the newly formed Gulf Development Unit of DFI Film Financing, which will enhance skills for Qatari and regional filmmakers.

Qatari filmmaker Mahdi Ali Ali [pictured] joins DFI Film Financing as Manager of the Gulf Development Unit and will work closely with a team of mentors including film consultant and script analyst Christian Routh and filmmaker Ziad Doueiri to help build the script development programme.

Hezayah will offer mentorships and interactive workshops. Up to 14 filmmakers will participate in the six-month programme with the aim of readying industry-standard scripts readied for the 2012 Doha Tribeca Film Festival (Nov 17-24).

Most of the pilot group of filmmakers will be people who previously applied for DFI grants.

“Although Gulf filmmaking has gradually grown in the past 10 years, Qatar is catching up to its neighbours when it comes to building homegrown talent. I am confident that this development programme will further hone the skills of local talent, whether it’s working on the technicalities of scriptwriting or providing an understanding of the way the industry works. The Gulf Development Unit will help cultivate a stronger cinema culture and help build a progressive framework for all to follow”, Mahdi Ali Ali said.

Paul Miller, Head of Film Financing at DFI, added: “This initiative is an exciting opportunity to enthuse budding Qatari and regional filmmakers to help build a viable and vibrant film culture. It will present a focused platform to provide an interactive opportunity to share ideas, develop networks and communities and offer peer reviews. We’re grateful for all those involved in helping to shape this new enterprise as we build on assisting emerging writers to acquire the skills and sensibilities they need to write effectively for the screen.”

More details about applications are here: