The annual major film festival will be back this year in a “hybrid” digital version.
The festival will go on as planned this year despite the challenges imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, Doha Film Institute [DFI] CEO and festival director, Fatma Hassan Al Remaihi said.
“It [Ajyal Film Festival] actually opens new doors for us that we were not able to have. For example, we can have more jurors from outside Qatar because it is online so it is easier to have as many jurors as we want,” said Al Remaihi in a virtual press briefing.
Al Remaihi added that DFI has been working closely with numerous organisations around the world to recruit jurors, with between 450-to-500 jurors expected this year.
With the festival partially held online, more people can xperience Ajyal from the comfort of their own homes.
The eighth edition of Ajyal, which will take place from November 18 to 23, will return“in a new hybrid format” that includes some in-person film screenings, with most activities, including the Ajyal Competitions Awards, running online.
Al Remaihi said that the festival has two tiers.
The first is for jurors under the age of 18 who will have everything available for them online except one in-person screening.
“I want to give parents a peace of mind, their children have the option to register and do it online or bring them to the festival to watch a film. There are opportunities for people to enjoy the festival,” she said.
As for the second tier, people of the 18-to-25 age group can come to Katara and watch films in small groups in accordance with all the safety measures placed by concerned government agencies.
“We are really working hard to deliver a safe festival and taking into consideration all the necessary precautions,” added Al Remaihi.
The festival is categorised in the following three segments: Mohaq (ages 8-12), Hilal (ages 13-17), and Bader (ages 18-25). During all three parts, the Ajyal Jurors will evaluate curated film programmes, including feature films and short films appropriate to their age brackets.
Last year’s event was described as a success by many, with some 96 films from 39 countries showcased at the festival.
Among the most prominent attendees was American actor Chace Crawford, who took part in the festiva’s grand opening ceremony.
The first edition of Ajyal, which is Arabic for “generations”, was held in 2013 and continued to share international and local films, instilling the importance of the industry in the youth and putting Qatar on the world stage for cinema.