Posted on February 24, 2016

The Doha Film Institute today announced the 33 projects from 19 countries selected to take part in the second edition of Qumra, taking place in Doha, Qatar from March 4-9.

Directors and producers attached to 13 narrative feature films, 10 feature documentaries and 10 short films will participate in the 6 day programme of bespoke industry sessions designed to progress their projects and prepare them for international markets. The emphasis is on supporting first-and-second-time filmmakers with projects in development and post-production. The projects represent 19 countries of production with a total of 15 projects from Qatar-based filmmakers, 12 from the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region and 6 from the rest of the world. 11 of the 33 projects are features films in development, 12 are in post-production and 10 are short films in development.

Twenty of the feature projects are alumni of the Institute’s grants programme and 3 are by independent filmmakers from Qatar. Of the 10 short projects, 7 are by Qatari filmmakers and 3 are by Qatar-based filmmakers identified through the Institute’s ongoing engagement with local industry. Doha Film Institute CEO Fatma Al Remaihi said: “We are very excited by the diverse slate of projects selected for Qumra 2016, representing emerging talent from Qatar, the Arab region and around the world.”

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“We have prepared an intensive programme for our project delegates which is designed to inspire them creatively and support them in navigating the evolving landscape of the film industry. I look forward to welcoming each of our project delegates to Qumra for what promises to be a productive exchange of ideas, culture and creativity.” New to this year’s edition is the Qumra Shorts Programme, a dedicated strand designed to address the unique requirements of short films in development, during which 10 Qatar-based filmmakers will present their projects to a group of international industry professionals, including script consultants, producers, lab representatives, programmers and buyers, all of whom are experts in the short form.

The ten short filmmakers have been supported by the Doha Film Institute in various ways throughout their careers and many are alumni of its educational initiatives, workshops and funding programmes. Kashta by AJ Al Thani has been supported by the Institute’s grants programme and Amer: The Arabian Legend by Jassim Al-Rumaihi is supported by the Qatari Film Fund, the newly established funding and development programme for Qatari filmmakers which was announced last year.

Directors and producers attached to each of the 33 projects will attend the sessions in Doha where they will be linked with more than 100 seasoned industry experts from all facets of the film industry including representatives from leading international film festivals, funding bodies, sales, production and distribution companies along with development specialists and script consultants. The programme is specifically tailored to each project’s needs and is divided according to their stage of development.  Projects in development will participate in group and individual sessions for script consulting, legal, sales, marketing and co-production advice along with one-on-one match-made meetings and tutorials.

Projects in post-production are divided into two strands: the Work-in-Progress sessions will present a series of closed rough-cut screenings of 20-minute excerpts from the four narrative and four documentary Qumra projects in post-production followed by immediate, individual feedback from a panel of selected industry experts; and the Picture Lock Screenings will present exclusive 20 minute excerpts of four feature-length Qumra projects in the final stages of post-production for leading festival programmers, broadcasters, market representatives, sales agents and distributors.  

The Qumra Projects delegates will also attend daily master classes and screenings presented by five Qumra Masters who represent some of the leading figures in world cinema today. The 2016 Qumra Masters are Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Turkey), Naomi Kawase (Japan), Joshua Oppenheimer (US), James Schamus (US), Aleksandr Sokurov (Russia). Each Master will be matched to a selection of Qumra projects to participate in dedicated mentoring sessions with the emerging filmmakers.

The 2016 Qumra Projects are:

Feature Films:

Feature Narrative, Development

Bull Shark by Mohammed Al Ibrahim (Qatar, Bahrain, USA)

An up-and-coming investment banker makes his mark in the Arab region’s most prominent Islamic investment bank, only to find he has been caught in the middle of the costliest embezzlement scheme in Arab history.

Death Street by Mohanad Hayal (Iraq, Qatar)

Tariq, the sniper of Haifa Street in Baghdad, kills Ahmed on the day he intends to propose marriage. While Tariq prevents anyone from approaching the corpse in the street, an intimate and telling drama unfolds.

Evil Eye by Sophia Al-Maria (Qatar, Morocco)

After inheriting the keys to an apartment in The City, country girl Dihya finds out that The Village she comes from has a reputation for witchcraft in this North African take on the teen witch film.

The Pearl by Noor Al-Nasr (Qatar)

A tech-obsessed Qatari teen, disconnected from his family, travels back in time to an era before his beloved technology existed, when the city’s main source of income was pearl diving. Alone on this journey, he must learn how to survive and communicate face-to-face in order to reconnect with his family.

The Search for the Star Pearl by Hafiz Ali Ali (Qatar)

Ali, a 17-year-old pearl diver from Doha, discovers a map to the Star Pearl of Abu Derya, the most valuable gem on Earth, and sets sail with three teenaged friends in search of it. Along the way, they face mythological beasts that challenge their skills and friendship.

Stolen Skies by Laila Hotait Salas (Lebanon, Qatar)

When a bomb is detonated in Cairo, one family feels it ricochet through the erased memories of three generations.

Till the Swallows Return by Karim Moussaoui (Algeria, France, Qatar)

This is the story of three characters who are a product of the conflicted Algeria of the 2000s. Their ideals shattered and their moral strength drained, each now faces a difficult life choice.

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Feature Documentary, Development                                 

Agnus Dei by Karim Sayad (Algeria, Switzerland, Qatar)

On the vacant lot where the confrontation takes place, the tension is at its peak. Foufa and his sheep King are getting ready for the fight...

Behind the Doors by Yakout Elhababi (Morocco, Qatar)

High in the Rif mountains of Morocco, the people survive by growing kif. Beneath the shadow of the ambiguous legality of the crop, ‘Behind the Doors’ tells the story of a family through its children and their mirroring games.

The Great Family by Eliane Raheb (Lebanon, France, Qatar)

In 1976, at the age of four, Marlene was put up for adoption
in Lebanon and raised in France. In delving into her past, she discovers she is a survivor of the massacre at the Tal Al Zaatar Palestinian refugee camp, and a family of survivors grows around her.

To the Ends of the Earth by Hamida Issa (Qatar)

A Qatari woman travels on an environmental expedition to Antarctica in search of hope, before returning to the Gulf and finding unity and inspiration for positive change.

Feature Narrative, Works-in-Progress

Ali, The Goat and Ibrahim by Sherif Elbendary (Egypt, France, Germany, USA, Qatar)

Ali and Ibrahim are two lonely and weird characters who are rejected by their society. Ali loves a goat called Nada, and Ibrahim is a sound engineer who is disturbed by strange voices that he alone can hear. When their paths cross, this odd pair embarks on a journey that will change their lives.

Dede by Mariam Khatchvani (Georgia, Qatar)

As Georgia fights for its independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a young woman struggles to make a life in the remote, isolated villages high in the Caucasus Mountains, where ancient patriarchal laws threaten to separate her from her daughter.

Poisonous Roses by Fawzi Saleh (Egypt, Qatar)

The world has left nothing to Taheya apart from her brother Saqr. When he disappears, Taheya pursues him in desperation.

White Sun by Deepak Rauniyar (Nepal, The Netherlands, Qatar)

A drama about life in a Nepali mountain village in the wake of the decade-long armed conflict.                       

Feature Documentary, Works-in-Progress

Ghost Hunting by Raed Andoni (Palestine, France, Switzerland, Qatar)

Director Raed Andoni assembles an eclectic group of Palestinians to rebuild the Israeli investigation centre in which they were imprisoned – a place they never actually saw because they were always blindfolded.

My Uncle the “Terrorist” by Elias Moubarak (Lebanon, Germany, Qatar)

A film director seeks to uncover a 40-year-old family taboo: the controversial life of his Uncle Fouad, a poet and an engineer of the Munich massacre.

The Silk Railroad by Martin DiCicco (USA, Georgia, Qatar)

Wealth, opportunity, and discord collide along the route of a new railroad bridging Europe and Asia.

Tondo by Jewel Maranan (The Philippines, Germany, Qatar)

‘Tondo’ is a film about four people in different stages of life - birth, youth, adulthood and death - who are caught in the path of expansion of Manila’s busiest international port.

Feature Narrative, Picture Lock      

Bastard by Uda Benyamina (Morocco, France, Qatar)

Fifteen-year-old Dounia lives with her mother in a rough

Parisian suburb, where she has been saddled with the nickname “bastard”.

The Mimosas by Oliver Laxe (Spain, Morocco, France, Qatar)

In the Atlas Mountains in the past, a caravan searches for the path to take a Sufi master home to die. Among the party is Ahmed, a rascal who eventually becomes inspired to lead the caravan to its destination. Along the way, Ahmed is assisted by Shakib, a man sent from contemporary Morocco to guide him on his journey.

Beirut Rooster by Ziad Kalthoum (Syria, Lebanon, Germany, Qatar)

While Syrian workers rebuild Lebanon, a country ruined by a lengthy civil war, their hometowns in Syria are destroyed during the brutal conflict there. Who will rebuild their houses?

Those from the Shore by Tamara Stepanyan (Armenia, Lebanon, France, Qatar)

Marseille, 2014. Dozens of Armenian asylum seekers are trying to survive while waiting for their applications to be considered. They live in an indeterminate space, wandering in limbo.

Short Films:

Development, Short Narrative

I Want to Feel What I Feel When I Am Asleep by Abdullah Al-Mulla (Qatar)

A man wearing a gas mask is on a journey to fulfil a selfless purpose. Among the people of a drugged and mesmerised society, he cleans up a ruined city in order to cover up the destruction that has taken place.

Kashta by AJ Al Thani (Qatar)

A father takes his two sons out on a trip to the desert to go hunting, but the results are not quite what he was expecting.

Qafas by Mayar Hamdan (Qatar)

A young man tries everything to escape the cage he is chained in. Only when he realises that the true obstacle to his release is not the chains, but rather his outlook on his situation, does he finally become free.

A Ranged Marriage by Nora Al Subai (Qatar)

After being stuck in an arranged married for a year, a desperate wife discovers the perfect gift for their anniversary: a romantic dinner that will kill her husband.

The World is Blue by Amna Al Binali (Qatar)

During her sister’s engagement party, Hend comes to terms with the contradiction between how she wants her life to unfold and the inevitability of how it has been drawn for her.

Development, Short Documentary

Amer: The Arabian Legend by Jassim Al-Rumaihi (Qatar)

Sent as a gift to the late Emir of Qatar in the 1980s, Amer seemed like an average purebred Arabian. After he was taken to the tracks of Umm Qarn to train other horses, however, he showed his class, changing the face of Arabian horseracing forever.

Buqsha by Fahad Al Obaidly (Qatar)

‘Buqsha’ strives to encourage people to go beyond their preconceptions and venture into the past to look to the future Throughout our journey, we demonstrate the importance
of learning from traditional culture while preserving our own, and that the balance between artistic heritage and the contemporary arts nurtures creativity.

The Innocent Prisoner by Amina Ahmed Al-Boluchi (Qatar)

The story of a man trying to wash away his history of being a prisoner, determining his destiny by becoming a better person, and finding himself a place in his own society.

Love in the Middle East by Mostafa Sheshtawy (Qatar)

Romantic love is very common, yet it can mean something completely different from one person to the next. Through a young man’s journey, this film looks at what it means to fall in love in the Middle East.

Picture Lock, Short Narrative

More Than Two Days by Ahmed Abdelnaser (Qatar)

Over the course of two days, two brothers go through critical moments that may change their lives. ‘More Than Two Days’ examines their relationship and how each of them is trying to face up to the new situation in their lives.