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Doha Film Institute announces plans to hold two annual film festivals



The Doha Film Institute will now host two annual film festivals instead of one, the organization has announced.

Both will focus on developing regional talent, in a move that indicates DFI is taking itself in a different direction following last month’s split from Tribeca Enterprises.

The first revamped festival, the Ajyal Film Festival for the Young, will take place this November, and aims to foster film appreciation in a family-friendly way. The five-day program will include master classes for children, parents, teachers and others.

Fatma Al Remaihi, the festival’s director and DFI’s Head of Programs, said in a statement:

“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.” 

The second festival, the Qumra Film Festival, will be inaugurated in March 2014, and aims to give a leg up to first- and second-time film directors through exposure, competitions and grant awards. Screenings of early films by established directors will also be part of the program.

Arab media expert Joe Khalil, who is an associate professor in residence at Northwestern University in Qatar, lauded the move. In an email to Doha News, he said:

By separating the industry development from the film culture nurturing, the DFI team can then better focus on these two important missions.

Regionally, it allows the festival to distinguish itself from other festivals by offering first time filmmakers, veterans and industry representative tailor-made meetings. This will be a huge undertaking which I hope means expanding the DFI team to meet these challenges

Last month, DFI and the New York-based Tribeca announced it was parting ways after four years of film festivals and a slew of cultural tie-ups. Neither cited an exact reason for the split, but a DFI spokeswoman told Doha News that “it was just time to do something different.”


Credit: Photo by Doha Film Institute on Flickr

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