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Saturday, May 15, 2021

Residents’ film clips to make ‘Year in the life of Qatar’ documentary

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Feeding stray cats on the street, getting stuck in traffic jams or sending the children off to school are among the moments residents are being asked to capture on film and submit to help create a new documentary that will chart a year in the life of Qatar.

Led by Doha Film Institute (DFI) and Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), the Dari Qatar (“My home Qatar”) project aims to create a feature-length film that organizers say will be a “true reflection of life in Qatar.”

In the public call-out, which was launched yesterday, residents have until September 30, 2016, to shoot footage based on one of six themes: family, change, joyful honesty, harmony, nature or beauty.

The clips can be taken on a smart phone or using professional equipment. DFI has included a number of “top tips” for those interested in taking part:

Dari Qatar filming tips
Dari Qatar filming tips

Once submitted through the DFI website, professional film-makers will use the clips to create a story line and will edit the footage to make a documentary-style movie which will be released late next year, DFI said in a statement.

“With the participation of citizens and residents of Qatar, we will create a cinematic tribute to the nation in a feature length documentary created from footage where the people of Qatar will be the heroes and directors,” The Peninsula quotes DFI’s chief executive Fatma Al Remaihi as saying yesterday.

Tourism push

The project launches amid an ongoing campaign by Qatar authorities to boost tourist numbers. QTA has an ambitious target of 7 million visitors to the state by 2030, which would be more than double the 3 million it is predicted to have welcomed by the end of this year.

However, this goal comes as Qatar faces negative publicity internationally over several controversial issues at home, including workers’ welfare and labor rights.

With scrutiny expected to intensify as the 2022 World Cup approaches, authorities are working to spread a more positive image of life in the state:

“There are many wrong stereotypes of the country and this movie will be made to reflect what’s really going on in Qatar,” QTA’s Director of International Cooperation Saif Al Kuwari said at the launch of the DariQatar project at Katara Cultural Village.

Other ongoing tourism-related pushes include positioning Qatar as an emerging arts hub for the region, helped by projects such as the Art Mill, which will repurpose the old Qatar Flour Mills on Doha bay into a huge arts and exhibition venue.

Tourist arriving at Doha Port
Tourist arriving at Doha Port

In addition to a massive ongoing hotel and resort building boom, authorities are also working to make Qatar a more appealing destination for the lucrative cruise ship industry.

Last week, a senior ports official said the number of cruise ships docking in Doha next year is expected to increase more than three-fold, climbing from eight this season to 30 during the winter of 2016-17.

Home-grown talent

In recent years, DFI has has had an increased focus on nurturing home-grown movie talent. Initiatives such as its Ajyal Film Festival, which took place earlier this month, include a dedicated section Made in Qatar that featured work from upcoming Qatari and expat film-makers.

Ajyal Film Festival 2015
Ajyal Film Festival 2015

Meanwhile, it offers support to Qatar’s fledgling movie industry through projects like the Qumra festival, which was held earlier this year.

It attracted internationally-acclaimed film directors and actors to partner with aspiring and emerging producers and directors from the region, and organized workshops, mentoring sessions and masterclasses.

This year, of the 31 projects which were chosen to take part, nine were by independent filmmakers from Qatar.

What would you film for Dari Qatar? Thoughts?

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