Oscar-winning Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, French auteur Bruno Dumont and Cambodian creative documentarian Rithy Panh have been confirmed as the first ‘masters’ at the Doha Film Institute’s talent development event Qumra.

The third edition of the bespoke event, reserved for first and second-time filmmakers and their producers, will take place in Doha March 3-8, 2017.

“We are excited at the prospect of welcoming these masters and look forward to engaging interactions among them and the participating filmmakers,” said DFI chief executive officer Fatma Al Remaihi, adding that the final masters would be announced in the New Year.

DFI artistic director Elia Suleiman noted that selecting the masters was a complex process: “March can be a complicated time because it’s when a lot of the directors we’re looking at are completing films in time for Cannes. I tried to look at the selection as a whole and think about what the attending film-makers need and how masters fit together.”

Since launching in 2014, Qumra has gained a reputation as a go-to event for up-and-coming film-makers for its intimate atmosphere and easy access to top producers, sales agents and established talent.

Suleiman and Al Remaihi say they are committed to maintaining the event’s compact dimension. “From the beginning, we’ve decided it was important to contain the success and not aim for it to grow progressively. We want to keep this tender ambiance,” said Suleiman. 

Al Remaihi also confirmed that Qumra was a long-term project. “Qumra is a long-term investment. We won’t see big results in two or three years. We need to keep at it. We need to be patient with the programmes we have rather than launching new initiatives every year. The same goes for Ayjal,” said Al Remaihi, referring to the DFI’s youth film festival.

Past Qumra masters include Mexican actor, producer and director Gael García Bernal; Romanian director Cristian Mungiu; US producer and director James Schamus; Russian master Aleksandr Sokurov; Bosnian director Danis Tanović; and Japanese film-maker Naomi Kawase.