Posted on August 29, 2018

A compelling selection of ten films, all recipients of the Doha Film Institute Grants Programme, selected to screen to an elite audience of film critics, industry professionals and visitors at the prestigious Venice International Film Festival and parallel sections; the International Critics’ Week and the Giornate degli Autori from August 29 to September 8.

Fatma Al Remaihi, Chief Executive Officer of the Doha Film Institute, said: “Ten bold films with powerful themes that reflect gritty stories of the region, and supported by our Grants programme, are heading to Venice, where they have the opportunity to gain international interest and recognition. Our Grants programme is central to our commitment to nurturing emerging talents, and we are delighted that the works of ten filmmakers in different stages of production are heading to Venice. We will continue to focus on strengthening the capability of aspiring talents locally and across the region.”

Two films are in the Orizzonti segment, an international competition dedicated to films that represent the latest aesthetic and expressive trends in global cinema, and two in Venice Days, a series of films independently promoted by the Italian Filmmakers Association (ANC) and by the 100 Autori Association. In the Orizzonti category are: The Day I Lost My Shadow (Syria, Lebanon, Qatar) by Soudade Kaadan, about Sana, a young mother struggling to raise her child in war-torn Syria in 2012; and Unremember (Brazil, France, Qatar) by Flavia Castro, about Joana, a 15-year-old who feeds her soul with literature and rock.

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In Venice Days is Screwdriver (Palestine, USA, Qatar) by Bassam Jarbawi, which presents the life of Ziad, the star of the Jalazon Refugee Camp basketball team in Palestine. For the first time in ten years, one documentary is among the three finalists competing for the Lux Film Prize. Directed by Mila Turajlić, The Other Side of Everything (Serbia, France, Qatar), is a feature documentary about an apartment in Belgrade that turns a family chronicle into a portrait of a country in political turmoil, which premiered at last year’s IDFA, where it won the IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length documentary.

Underlining the strong international inroads being made by films supported by the Doha Film Institute, the selection includes three films to be screened in the International Critics’ Week segment, which features a series of debut-works that are independently organised by a commission appointed by the National Syndicate of Italian Film Critics.

The films chosen to the International Critics’ Week are: A Kasha (Sudan, South Africa, Germany, Qatar) by Hajooj Kuka, nurtured at the Doha Film Institute’s annual industry event Qumra in 2018, about Adnan a revolutionary war hero whose love for fighting and his AK-47 are rivalled only by his feelings for Lina, his long-suffering sweetheart; Still Recording (Syria, Lebanon, France, Qatar) a 2017 Qumra project,  feature documentary by Saeed Al Batal and Ghiath Ayoub, which follows two art students who decide to leave Damascus and go to Douma, a suburb under rebel control; and You Have the Night (Montenegro, Serbia, Qatar) by Ivan Salatic, about Sanja, who finds herself stranded after losing her job as a hostess aboard a ship. All films are marking their world premiere at Venice.

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Three films are in the Venice Production Bridge, which focuses on the presentation and exchange of original projects for films and works in progress. Selected at the Venice Gap Financing Market are: All This Victory (Lebanon, France, Germany, Qatar) by Ahmad Ghossein, in which five people try to escape the bombing in a small village in the south of Lebanon; and the 2017 Qumra project The Unknown Saint (Morocco, France, Qatar) by Alaa Eddine Aljem, in which young Amine steals a large sum of money with the police hot in trail. Haifa Street (Iraq, Qatar) by Mohanad Hayal - has been chosen to the Final Cut category that aims to provide concrete assistance in the completion of films from all African nations and from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria.  It documents a sad incident on Haifa Street, one of the most dangerous locations during the civil war in Baghdad, in 2006.

The 75th Venice International Film Festival, organised by La Biennale di Venezia, is officially recognised by the International Federation of Film Producers Association. The aim of the Festival is to raise awareness and promote international cinema in all its forms as art, entertainment and as an industry, in a spirit of freedom and dialogue. The Festival also organises retrospectives and tributes to major figures as a contribution towards a better understanding of the history of cinema.

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