Posted on October 01, 2015

Opening speech for Focus on Qatar by Fatma Al Remaihi (pictured):

Good evening and welcome to the first edition of Focus on Qatar

This screening series has been designed as a tribute to our nation’s cinema and the people who make it possible. Our national cinema is young compared with other more established industries – but in a very short time, we have seen immense growth and we are here to celebrate those who have led the wave of change within our developing industry. In particular, we are focusing on the past five years – a milestone which marks the first Qatari feature film, Clockwise by Khalifa Al Muraikhi.

In this time we have also seen an explosion of emerging, youthful talent expressing their own unique creative vision through film. We at the Doha Film Institute are very proud to have played our part in this growth of the past five years, through skills-sharing workshops, technical training, funding and the enrichment that comes from experiencing the best in world cinema at our screenings and festivals. While we look back to celebrate all that has been achieved in the past five years, we are also looking forward to what the future holds.

We have recently embarked on an exciting new phase for Qatari cinema in partnership with our nation’s filmmakers through the Qatari Film Fund – a mentorship and development fund dedicated to supporting national talent. There are currently nine short films and four feature films in development through this programme and the first of these will start production this month. The men and women supported through this fund represent the next generation of Qatari filmmakers and we are honored to play a part in bringing their stories to the screen.

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I look forward to sharing these films with you over the coming years and I encourage any aspiring filmmakers here to apply for the next round of funding which opens in TBC. All of this has become a reality due to our country’s visionary leadership and the combined efforts of individuals and organisations committed to supporting the creative development of our community, and promoting Qatar on the world stage. And for this I would like to acknowledge and thank the Chairperson of the Doha Film Institute, whose vision and passion have made an immense contribution to film culture in Qatar, Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani.

Please now welcome back Latifa Al-Darwish and Mohamed Sherif for a special presentation about the history of cinema in Qatar.

- Presentation -

Thank you Latifa Al-Darwish and Mohamed Sherif.

I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the many people from the local filmmaking community – many who are here with us tonight and to those who could not be here - who have contributed to the growth of our cinematic landscape. These are the people who are spear-heading the development of our industry and paving the way for new generations to follow in their footsteps. The film you are about to see is the first feature film ever made in Qatar. Clockwise, by Khalifa Al Muraikhi was released five years ago and was made with the support of Qatar’s Ministry of Culture.

We are very honoured to have one of the leading actors of the film here with us tonight so before we start the screening, I would like to welcome him to say a few words/ Please welcome, Ali Mirza: