Posted on March 04, 2017

Qumra, the industry initiative by the Doha Film Institute to nurture the new generation of filmmakers, helps in promoting inter-festival collaboration by providing insights into promising new voices from the Middle East region, said directors of leading international film festivals.

At a networking session, industry delegates associated with Cannes, Venice, Rotterdam, Busan, Edinburgh and Dublin film festivals described the emphasis they place identifying emerging talents and lauded the role of Qumra in serving as a window into new works from the region. The session moderated by Paolo Bertolin, Correspondent at Venice Film Festival, underlined the intensely competitive nature of international film festivals, with programmers having to sift through hundreds of films before they make the final cut.

Yet, most festival directors said they are increasingly open today to identify first- and second-time directors, the cross-section of talents that Qumra too nurtures. “We are looking to expand our reach and have a larger geographic presence, especially this part of the world,” said Kim Young-woo, Programmer at Busan International Film Festival. Grainne Humphreys, Festival Director of Dublin International Film Festival, said the fest seeks to address the absences in distribution and help filmmakers to find new audiences for their films.

Christophe Leparc, Managing Director of Director’s Fortnight and Director of Cinemed, said the selection for the Director’s Fortnight at Cannes is “very eclectic and has no specific rules” – with the films chosen to range anything from comedy to experimental. While most festivals do not insist on having final cuts for their selection process, Bero Beyer, Festival Director of the International Film Festival Rotterdam, said that a foremost consideration is to pick films that are “ought to be seen.”  Humphreys added: “We hope for our films to go beyond our own festival and we are always looking for something special.”

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Every year is a new year in the selection process, said the directors, although one bottom line is that the “the films make a connection with the audience.” The directors said the key challenge today is to attract young audiences – to festivals and to have their entries – and rely on advisors and scouts in finding new talents. Qumra, they said, presents the opportunity to identity and engage with the new voices in filmmaking, adding that a number of Qumra Projects have been selected for the international film festivals.

The industry networking sessions will continue through the duration of Qumra in addition to one-on-one script tutorials for selected Qumra Projects, rough cut consultations, and group tutorials. Today (Sunday, March 5), the event will host a Master Class by Bruno Dumont, who has defined a new narrative idiom in world cinema at 10.30 AM at the Museum of Islamic Art Auditorium.

From 3 to 5, the first Qumra Talk on ‘International Digital Distribution and Marketing’ will be held. Under the Milky Way CEO Pierre Alexandre Labelle, Front Row Filmed Entertainment Managing Director Gianluca Chakra, and Iflix Head of Middle East and North Africa Nader Sobhan will share insights on the direction of the digital film distribution value chain and how independent producers can best use emerging platforms to both finance productions and recoup on their investment.

This session will provide a general overview of the VOD industry, present specific case studies and discuss the role, limits and future of digital distribution as a long-term solution to reach wider and more engaged audiences in the MENA Region. At 7.30 PM, watch the Modern Masters Screening of The Missing Picture (Cambodia, France/2013), directed by Qumra Master Rithy Panh. The film employs an astonishing device – painstakingly handcrafted miniature human figures – to describe the horrors of life for prisoners under the Khmer Rouge.

Visit for online and in person ticketing details for the screenings.

Qumra hosts leading international filmmakers, producers, industry experts and professionals, for intense brainstorming, knowledge-sharing and nurturing sessions with talents associated with 34 films from 25 countries. Directors and producers attached to 18 narrative feature films, 7 feature documentaries and 9 short films are participating in the event being held until March 8 at Souq Al Waqif and the Museum of Islamic Arts.