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Saturday, May 8, 2021

Sh’hab: Qatari film breaks record for festival selections and rewards

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Qatari Film Fund, an initiative by Doha Film Institute is breaking new ground in sharing Qatari voices to wider audiences.

A short film written and directed by young Qatari filmmaker Amal Al Muftah, has so far been selected to compete in 46 international film festivals and has gone on to win 8 awards. Since the Qatar Film Fund’s establishment in 2015, no film has been selected to feature in as many festivals nor has any other production won so many awards.

Film poster of “Sh’hab”, directed by Amal Al Muftah. 

The Qatari Film Fund is a program in which local filmmakers apply to receive funding to develop, shoot and distribute their films. Al Muftah was awarded a fund from DFI in 2016, her short film Sh’hab tells the story of a young girl who desperately wants to go sailing with her father and brother. However, her mother works diligently to keep her daughter safe by sharing with her elaborate, mythological tales of falling stars. This only strokes the young girl’s curiosity even further, as she then decides to set out and sail on her own one night to catch a falling star.

Since its release, the film has won accolades in various festivals, such as Varese International Film Festival in Italy, Short to the Point Film Festival in Romania, Beirut International Children and Family Festival, and most recently the Alvsbyn Film Festival in Sweden. The accolades included awards for best short film, best director, best cinematography and best acting for Joori Mohammed Darwish, a young Qatari actress. 

Still from the film “Sh’hab”, directed by Amal Al Muftah.

DFI’s chairperson, Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani, congratulated the director via Instagram, stating that the film is “a testament to the bright future of the local film industry as it tours the world, scoring accolades from audiences yearning for fresh perspectives and stories untold.” She had also congratulated the team behind the Qatari Film Fund, citing the major progress that the program has reached over the years and their continued efforts to support and nurture young talent in the country’s filmmaking community.

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