Posted on August 10, 2017

Doha Film Institute is shining the spotlight on Qatar’s homegrown talent with the showcase of five Made in Qatar films at the 2017 Sarajevo Film Festival to be held from August 11 to 18. A total of 12 films supported by the Institute including the Made In Qatar titles have been selected to participate at one of Europe’s largest film events.

Qatar’s strong participation is further underlined by Fatma Al Remaihi, Chief Executive Officer of the Doha Film Institute, being chosen as one of the five jury members for the Competition Programme – Feature Film. The other jury members are writer-director-producer Michel Franco (Mexico); Mark Adams, Artistic Director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival; actor Goran Bogdan (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia); and Turkish actress Melisa Sözen. This year, nine films supported by the Institute, through its Co-Finance, Grants programme, Qatari Film Fund and other development initiatives, will be screened as part of the festival, in addition to three films – that are Grants recipients and Qumra projects – selected for the CineLink Industry Days, opening doors for the filmmakers to interact with international experts to discuss various aspects of film production.

The Doha Film Institute supported films to be screened at Sarajevo Film Festival include five films by Qatari directors underlining the strong representation of homegrown talent, with the Made in Qatar showcase of Al Johara (2016) by Nora AlSubai, a Qatari take on the classic Cinderella fairy tale that accentuates Arab traditions with a modern twist. A Qatari Film Fund recipient, Al Johara won the Special Jury prize at the Made in Qatar Awards at the 2016 Ajyal Youth Film Festival; Kashta (2016) winner of the Best Narrative Award at 2016 Ajyal, by AJ Al Thani is about a father who teaches his sons how to hunt in the quiet desert, where a careless struggle between the two brothers leads to disaster ; Smicha (2016) by Amal Al Muftah, a touching short film about a grandfather, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, who makes a promise to his grandchild; Qatari Film Fund recipient and winner of the Best Documentary Award at 2016 Ajyal, Amer: An Arabian Legend (2016), by Jassim Al-Rumaihi, that follows the story of Amer, the legendary purebred Arabian racehorse; and Aisha Al Muhannadi’s independent venture Makh'bz (2015), which follows the stages of the breadmaking process to highlight how the repetitive actions of men and machines become a dance of grace and beauty.

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Chief Executive Officer of Doha Film Institute, Fatma Al Remaihi said: “It is my privilege to serve as a jury member of the Sarajevo Film Festival, with its exceptionally curated programme of feature films that put the spotlight on new approaches to filmmaking, and in presenting compelling stories from different parts of the world.

We are also truly proud of the significant selection of Qatar-supported films at the festival including the Made in Qatar showcase that promotes the creativity of our home-grown talents and reflects our stories, values and traditions. We remain committed to this mission of supporting bold voices in filmmaking from Qatar, our region and beyond, and bringing fresh perspectives and narrative styles to global audiences. Sarajevo is also a cultural partner of the Doha Film Institute, and we look forward to continue working on joint initiatives to nurture emerging talents in cinema.”

Four granted films selected to screen at the Festival include:  Beauty and the Dogs (Tunisia, France, Sweden, Norway, Lebanon, Switzerland, Germany, Qatar/2017), directed by Kaouther Ben Hania, is based on the true story ofa Tunisian student who must file a lawsuit as a matter of her honour, integrity and tenacity; Until the Birds Return (Algeria, France, Germany, Qatar/2017), directed by Karim Moussaoui, about three individuals who must face the consequences of their choices; City of the Sun (Georgia, USA, Netherlands, Qatar/2017) by Rati Oneli is about the lives, dreams and destinies of several extraordinary characters unveiling in a semi-abandoned mining town; and Taste of Cement (Syria, Lebanon, Germany, UAE, Qatar /2017), directed by Ziad Kalthoum, about Syrian workers in Lebanon. All these titles have screened at leading international film events including the 2017 Cannes and Berlin film festivals.  

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Three Qatar-backed films and past Qumra projects will be showcased in the CineLink Industry Days programme, and will benefit from additional guidance from international experts at Sarajevo Film Festival. The short-listed projects are: iPhone Memory by Mahdi Ali Ali (Qatar) which presents three stories that intersect in Paris; The Maiden’s Pond (Lebanon, Germany, France, Qatar) by Bassem Breche about two women trying to maintain and negotiate their lives – with and against each other; and Reem Saleh’s What Comes Around (Egypt, Lebanon, Qatar), about the sense of community among inhabitants in one of the poorest residential areas in Cairo.

Sarajevo Film Festival is marking its 23rd edition this year and builds on its reputation for high-quality programming, strong industry segment, and educational and networking platforms for young talents. The festival welcomes film professionals from across the world for its unique selection of Southeast European and international films.

For more information, please log on to: www.dohafilminstitute.com

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