Posted on November 29, 2013

The inaugural Ajyal Youth Film Festival (AYFF), presented by the Doha Film Institute, will conclude on Saturday (November 30) with a glittering awards ceremony and the closing night gala of award-winning Japanese anime, Garden of Words (Japan 2013) and Voices of a Distant Star (Japan 2013).

At the awards and closing ceremony to be held at 8PM at the Katara Sony Open-Air Cinema, the winners of the Doha Film Experience, evaluated by hundreds of young jurors from ages 8 to 21, will be announced. Over the past days, Ajyal’s jurors had watched and critiqued 42 films, both in-competition and out-of-competition, under four categories: Bariq (the out-of-competition segment, for families with kids aged between 4-7 years old), and the in-competition Mohaq, Hilal, and Bader segments.

From the Festival.

Vying for top honours in the in-competition segment were four features and six short films in the Hilal category for youngsters between the ages of 13 to 17; four features and eight short films, in the Bader segment evaluated by jurors from the ages of 18 to 21; and seven shorts in the Mohaq segment for the ages 8-12.

The winners of the in-competition segment will receive a development award through the Ajyal Film Fund. Prizes in the short film competition include the Best Filmmaker Awards in the Mohaq, Hilal and Bader segments for USD 5,000 each. Feature film competition prizes include the Best Feature Filmmaker Award in the Hilal and Bader categories for USD 15,000 each.

The winners of the Otaku Cosplay competition, a highlight of the anime exhibition at the Ajyal Youth Film Festival, will also be announced on Saturday. Participants, who dressed up as their favourite anime character from a movie or cartoon, were judged on craftsmanship, originality, choreography. The awards include Best Male, Best Female, Best Group, Best Skit, and Open Category (open to all other costumes styles). The winners will receive a voucher courtesy of Fifty One East for the much-anticipated Sony PlayStation 4, launching this December.

(L-R) Jan-Willem Bult, Aicha Talhaoui, Marion Creely, Aldana Duhalde, Faith Isiakpere and Beatriz Rosenberg attend the Production Panel during Day 3 of Ajyal Youth Film Festival on November 28, 2013 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for DFI)

The closing gala will commence at 8.45PM at Katara Drama Theatre, with the screening of Garden of Words (Japan, 2013), directed by Makoto Shinkai. It is as elegant, metaphorical and introspective as the tanka poem that frames it with the evocative rainy season of Japan’s Kanto region serving as a poetic backdrop for a chance encounter between a dreamy teenager and an emotionally wounded woman. The film had won the Satoshi Kon Award for Achievement in Animation at Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival. It will be followed by the screening of short film Voices of a Distant Star (Japan, 2013), also directed by Shinkai, which turns futuristic technology, spaceships and emails into a most lyrical setting for a beautiful love story.

Tickets are available at the Box Office of the Ajyal Youth Film Festival, in The Cultural Village Katara and City Centre. For more details on the programme, please visit: www.dohafilminstitute.com.

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