Today (Wednesday, December 3), the 2014 Ajyal Youth Film Festival, presented by the Doha Film Institute, will celebrate the culmination of the year-long Qatar-Brazil Year of Culture and mark the commencement of the 2015 Qatar-Turkey Year of Culture with the screening of two charming films that will appeal to all ages.
Throughout 2014, the Doha Film Institute has presented monthly screenings from acclaimed Brazilian filmmakers in partnership with Qatar Museums to mark the ‘Qatar-Brazil Year of Culture.’ Today (Wednesday), this successful initiative will be feted with a red carpet ceremony and a special screening of the award-winning Brazilian film The Boy and the World.
Directed by Ale Abreu, the silent film is about Cuca, who lives a happy, simple life in the countryside. One day, his father embarks for the capital in search of work marking the end of Cuca’s childhood. He then decides to take the journey to reunite with his father, an adventure that opens his eyes to the harsh reality of a hostile world. An extraordinary feast for the eyes that captures the heart and the mind, the animated film draws inspiration from numerous modes of 19th and 20th century art. The movie will be screened at 7 PM at Katara Opera House.
Also to be screened is Ice Cream, written and directed by Serhat Karaaslan, to mark the upcoming 2015 Qatar-Turkey Year of Culture. The film is about 11-year-old Rojhat, who is incorrigible at the best of times and goes on overdrive when an ice cream man makes a rare visit to his remote Turkish village. The short film is a charming, comic statement to the determination of youth. Director Serhat Karaaslan will be in attendance at the screening.
Among other highlights of screenings on the third day of the festival is Macondo (Austria; German/Chechen; 2013) at 9.15 PM at Katara 12 – Theatre B. Directed by Sudabeh Mortezai, the film on the eponymous refugee camp in Vienna with over 3,000 asylum seekers from 22 countries, is the tale of a 11-year-old Chechen refugee, Ramasan. Rather than a social or political commentary, the film is a sensitive portrayal of a fatherless boy who tries to understand what it means to become a man in a foreign, hostile environment.
Difret (Ethiopia, Amharic, 2014), a film that mesmerized audiences at Sundance and Berlin film festivals, is screening at 9 PM at Katara Drama Theatre. Directed by Zeresenay Mehari and with Angelina Jolie as executive producer, the film is a real-life story that unfolds like a courtroom drama addressing important facets of social justice and women’s rights. It is about Hirut, a 14-year-old girl, who was kidnapped from school. Trying to escape, she ends up shooting her would-be husband with his own rifle. The girl faces a complex legal trial while the men of the village call for her execution.
Another inspirational female-led story is #chicagoGirl: The Social Network Takes on a Dictator (USA, Syria; Arabic/English, 2013) screening at 8.30 PM at Katara 12 – Theatre A. Directed by Joe Piscatella, the film is about a young Syrian woman who uses social media to contribute to protests against the regime. The devotion, drive and sheer stamina that the protagonist Ala’a demonstrates in her battle to save her homeland is a testament to the passion of youth. Ala’a is in attendance for the screening and will be conducting a Q&A session with the audience after the screening.
Also on Wednesday, the Ajyal Youth Film Festival will screen director Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (USA, New Zealand; English; 2002) as part of the SONY Pop-Up Cinema line-up. The Lord of the Rings trilogy as well as the first two chapters of The Hobbit are screening daily at the outdoor venue on the Katara Esplanade. The screenings are free of charge but guests can reserve tickets online at www.dohafilminstitute.com; seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
For other screenings, tickets are priced QR25 and can be purchased from Box Offices at Ajyal Festival Booth in City Center Mall, West Bay; Doha Film Institute Drama Theatre Ticket Outlet (Katara Building 16) and Ajyal Katara Main Box Office (Katara Building 12).