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Sunday, June 20, 2021

PHOTOS: First Ajyal Film Festival attracts diverse crowd

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Qatar’s first youth-oriented film festival kicked off last night with the regional premiere of Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki’s capstone film, “The Wind Rises.”

The animated movie, which was shown at Katara Cultural Village as part of the five-day Ajyal Film Festival, drew a diverse crowd, but attendees noted that the evening had a markedly different vibe – organizers say deliberately so – than festivals past.

The event is the brainchild of the Doha Film Institute, which has been retooling its offerings since the end of its partnership with New York-based Tribeca Enterprises in April.

At this year’s festival premiere, many more families and Qataris could be seen. There was also a red carpet, but without the star power of Tribeca co-founder Robert De Niro and other renowned actors, few festival-goers appeared interested in checking it out.

However, audience members seemed enthralled by the debut film, which was based on the life of a designer of airplanes used for battle in World War II, as very little chatter could be heard in the theater.

What’s on

Today, Ajyal, which is offering movie screenings for kids/families, teens and adults through Saturday, Nov. 30, will open its “Otaku Exhibition.” That will showcase the works of local artists and social clubs, all inspired by anime and manga.

The festival, whose theme is Japanese animation, will also offer visitors the opportunity to take part in workshops including “The Making of a Comic Book,” “Qatari Japanese Traditional Games,” costume making, origami making and Anime history.

And on Friday, Nov. 29, there will be a “Cosplay” event, where residents can dress up in costumes and compete for prizes. Here’s the full program.

Are you planning to check it out? Thoughts?

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