The Blind Ferryman

Source: Doha Film Institute (DFI)

The Blind Ferryman

The Doha Film Institute (DFI) has unveiled the 45 projects that will participate in the eighth edition of its annual talent incubator Qumra, taking place online March 18-23. 

The event is running as a virtual edition for the third year due to ongoing health concerns and travel restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The selection spans 28 features, 11 shorts and 6 series in different stages of development and production from 21 territories.

Features in development include Oscar-nominated Palestinian filmmaker Farah Nabulsi’s debut feature The Teacher and Syrian director Anas Khalaf’s Syrian conflict drama The Photographer, his second feature after award-winning short Mare Nostrum and the thriller The Translator.

A number of the projects in the works-in-progress line-up are tipped to secure a slot in Cannes or one of the parallel sections.

These include French-Algerian filmmaker Damien Ounouri’s historic drama The Last Queen set in 16th-Century Algiers and Mediterranean Fever by Palestinian director Maha Haj, whose debut film Personal Affairs played in Cannes Un Certain Regard.

The selection also features 16 projects by Qatar-based talent, including 13 by Qatari nationals, such as in-development features Khuzama by A.J Al-Thani and The Pearl by Noor Al-Nasr.

The online programme will consist of round-tables and tailored one-on-one sessions with cinema professionals. 

“Maintaining meaningful and valuable support for creative expression remains our strategic priority. We must also balance this important work with focusing on ensuring the safety and well-being of every participant, including our highly acclaimed team of mentors from around the world,” said DFI CEO Fatma Hassan Alremaihi. 

2022 Qumra feature-length projects

Loglines provided by DFI

Development, feature narrative

  • Al Baseer - The Blind Ferryman (Iraq-Switz-Qat)
    Dir. Ali Al-Fatlawi
    A blind ferryman finds his way around the southern Iraqi marshes until one night he gets lost and meets a mysterious woman.
  • The Photographer (Syr-Qat-Ger)
    Dir. Anas Khalaf
    A photographer working at the heart of the Syrian government decides to defect.

  • The Teacher (Pal-UK-Qat)
    Dir. Farah Nabulsi
    A Palestinian schoolteacher struggles to reconcile his risky commitment to political resistance with the chance of a new relationship with a volunteer worker and his emotional support for his most promising student.

  • Blacklight (Alg-Fr-Qat)
    Dir. Karim Bensaleh
    An Algerian student living in France, is threatened with expulsion after missing his exams.
  • Khuzama (Qat)
    Dir A.J Al-Thani
    The young heir to a Bedouin tribe is discovered to be a woman the night before her wedding to Khuzama, sent by her mother to save her from the perilous, barbaric land of Remal.

  • The Pearl (Qat)
    Dir. Noor Al-Nasr
    A tech-obsessed Qatari teen travels back in time to an era before his beloved technology existed when the city’s main source of income was pearl diving.

Development, feature documentary

  • Chasing the Dazzling Light (Syr-Qat)
    Dir. Yaser Kassab
    The director and his father in Aleppo decide to make a joint film that challenges the distance between Sweden and Syria.

  • My Dream to Fly (Egy-Qat-Leb)
    Dir. Asmaa Gamal
    An immersive portrait of a group of young people from the crowded slums of Cairo who escape their daily hardships on motorcycles by night.

  • My Father Killed Bourguiba (Tun-Qat)
    Dir. Fatma Riahi
    Set against the coup of 1987 in Tunisia, the filmmaker explores the history of his father who wanted to be part of it.

  • Those Who Watch Over (Bel-Fr-Qat)
    Dir. Karima Saïdi
    A portrait of a unique cemetery in Brussels, which is the final resting place of Muslims, Jews, the Orthodox and marginalised people.
  • When The News Breaks You (Qat)
    Dir. Hamad Al-Hajri
    A portrait of conflict journalists who keep the world informed of war, revolutions, political unrest, natural and manmade disasters. 

Post-Production, feature narrative, picture lock

  • Mediterranean Fever (Pal-Fr-Qat-Ger-Cyp)
    Dir. Maha Haj is about an aspiring but depressed writer from Haifa, who befriends his new neighbour in an attempt to convince the man to help him commit suicide.
  • The Dam (Leb-Fr-Ser-Sud-Qat)
    Dir. Ali Cherri 
    Every evening a traditional brickyard worker by the Merowe Dam on the Nile secretly erects a mysterious mud construction. A political fable about the power of imagination on the backdrop of the Sudanese revolution.
  • The Last Queen (Alg-Fr-Qat)
    Dir. Damien Ounouri
    In Algiers, at the beginning of the 16th century a queen must stand up to the most fearsome pirate.

  • The Return (Syr-Fr-Ger-Qat)
    Dir. Meyar Al-Roumi
    A young man returns to Syria to move the remains of his younger brother Kamal from the suburbs of Damascus where he was shot as a freedom fighter.
  • Autobiography (Indo-Sing-Phi-Pol-Ger-Fr-Qat)
    Dir. Makbul Mubarak
    A timid housekeeper diligently obeys his master until a seemingly minor affront sets in motion a violent chain of events.

  • Domingo and the Mist (Costa Rica-Qat)
    Dir. Ariel Escalante Meza
    A man’s house is due to be expropriated to make way for the construction of a highway. But his land hides a secret—the ghost of his deceased wife visits him within the mist 

Post-Production, feature narrative, work-in-progress

  • The Wind Blew On (Ice-Qat-Chile-Sp)
    Dir. Katrín Ólafsdóttir
    A boy says to himself, ‘Perhaps, I’m already dead.’ But these words are spoken in an unsettling world where no one can confirm this to be true or false for him.

  • Backstage (Tun-Mor-Fr-Bel-Nor-Qat)
    Dir. Afef Ben Mahmoud and Khalil Benkirane
    A stage injury during a spectacle of a Tunisian contemporary dance troupe touring Morocco, triggers a series of events through a night across a forest, on the way to the next village’s doctor.

Post-Production, documentary, work-in-progress

  • A Fidai Film (Pal-Ger-Qat)
    Dir. Kamal Aljafari
    A sabotage film in response to the looting of memories.
  • Concrete Land (Jor-Qat)
    Dir.  Asmahan Bkerat
    An intimate look at the lives of a nomadic Bedouin family in its struggle to hold on to their traditional life under the pressures of urbanisation.
  • Let’s Play Soldiers (Yemen-Qat)
    Dir. Mariam Al-Dhubhani
    A child-soldier tries to find his place in his community in Yemen, where the war forced him to become the guardian of his younger siblings’ fate.

  • Qatar Stars (Qat-US) 
    Danielle Beverly
    A girls’ rhythmic gymnastics school in Doha led by a former Russian gymnast, providing a space for empowerment and freedom.
  • The Tokyo Reel (Pal-Bel-Qat)
    Dir. Mohanad Yaqubi
    An open invitation to discover the restored digital scan of a lost 16 mm film reel found in the outskirts of Tokyo.

Post-Production, documentary, picture lock

  • Places of the Soul (Qat) 
    . Hamida Issa
    A Qatari woman travels on an environmental expedition to Antarctica.
  • Green Line (Fr-Qat) 
    Dir. Sylvie Ballyot
    A young woman decides to meet the fighters who frightened her as a child.

  • Khmerica (Fr-Cam-Qat) 
    Dir. Antoine Guide
    A portrait of a 36-year-old Khmerican returnee, exploring some pieces of his shattered personal history and years of exile.

  • While We Watched (Ind-Qat)
    Vinay Shukla
    A raw and timely film that offers an intimate portrait of the frontlines of truth in India.

Series, development

  • Under This Roof  (Leb-Qat) 
    Areej Mahmoud
    A frail, yet strong-willed, seventy-year-old woman tries to assassinate a presidential candidate and fails.
  • Out of My Mind (Som-UAE-Qat) 
    Dir. Mo Yusuf 
    A struggling Somali writer living in Dubai decides to become a stand-up comedian.
  • Why Did The Bluesman Cross The Road (Leb-US-Qat) 
    Dir. Meedo Taha
    A pair of Latin-Arab mechanics and their boss’s daughter escape the garage in search of freedom, love, and music.

  • Day Off (Alg-Fr) 
    Dir. Lina Lamara
    “It’s the weekend o’clock! Madani, Amina, Soukaina, Pierre, Atef, and Noor take us on their typical rest day. From Paris to Doha, via Casablanca, the day off is the one we prefer. Could it be longer?”

  • Yasmine/Jasmine (Mor)
    Dir. Yossera Bouchtia
    After Aher mother’s sudden and mysterious death, a grieving daughter starts to contend with haunting visitations from her doppelganger.
  • Traditional Qatari Songs (Qat) 
    Dir. Aisha Al-Jaidah and Kholoud Al Ali 
    Celebration of Qatar’s traditional children’s songs with new beats and colourful animations to appeal to the kids of today.