The Arabic word Ajyal translates into “generations,” and the seven-day event caters to young people, as well as offers screenings and events that support and promote local and regional film-makers.
Though organizers have yet to release a detailed line up of this year’s event, confirmed offerings include The Sandbox digital exhibition space, outdoor screenings and the Doha Giffoni Youth Summit industry gathering.
In a statement, Fatma Al Remaihi, DFI head and film festival director, said:
“In just two editions, we have defined a unique niche for Ajyal in the international film festival landscape.
The first two editions have shown us that we can make a positive impact on young people’s lives through cinema, and the feedback we have received from festival-goers both young and old, reinforces our belief that there is a need for a cultural event of our own that addresses the creativity of our youth.”
This year’s festival is also expected to see the return of youth juries, comprising of volunteers aged 8-21 years old who watch, analyze and discuss movies made by filmmakers from around the world.
The juries are divided into three age groups – Mohaq for jurors aged 8-12 years, Hilal for those aged 13-17 years and Bader for 18-21-year-olds.
Collectively, the juries select five directors or producers to receive Best Filmmaker awards, which gives them funding towards their next movie. The registration process to apply to become a juror will open in September, DFI said.
The Ajyal Festival started in November 2013 after DFI redesigned its events to focus on young people following the end of its four-year partnership with the Tribeca Film Festival.
Last year’s highlights
While the inaugural festival in 2013 was structured around the theme of Japanese anime, last year’s event had broader appeal, focusing on “rediscovering cinema.”
The 2014 public program of events and screenings included the the world premiere of Palestinian racing documentary Speed Sisters and the regional premiere of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, which was attended by producer Salma Hayek and which is currently showing in movie theaters in Qatar.
Last year’s event also featured 90 films from 45 countries, including the debut of 20 productions by local filmmakers under its Made In Qatar category.
Included in the lineup was one of Qatar’s first zombie films, Qarar (which means “decision” in English). The short film focused on a young married couple trying to survive a post-apocalyptic zombie epidemic – in Qatar.
The festival also had a number of family events at Katara esplanade, including a pop-up cinema that screened for free the Lord of the Rings trilogy as well as the first two chapters of The Hobbit.
DFI also organizes Qumra film festival, which launched in March this year to support upcoming film makers through masterclasses, workshops and mentoring sessions in addition to some public screenings.
Are you excited for the upcoming festival? Thoughts?