Ajyal Film Festival to see participation from 36 countries
November 12 2018 09:45 PM
Fatma Hassan al-Remaihi speaking at the Ajyal press conference at Katara.
DFI CEO and festival director Fatma Hassan al-Remaihi speaking at the Ajyal press conference at Katara. PICTURE: Ram Chand

 *The event will mark the illustrious career of Qatari actor Abdul Aziz Jassem

Eighty-one films from 36 countries will be screened at the fifth Ajyal Youth Film Festival, scheduled from November 28 to December 3 at Katara – the Cultural Village, Doha Film Institute (DFI) has announced.

The six-day event will open with the screening of Naziha Arebi’s first film ‘Freedom Fields,’ a recipient of DFI’s Grants programme. Such inspiring documentary highlights the power of courage in overcoming cultural and societal stereotypes in the pursuit of dreams.
“With resilience comes courage – a reality artistically reflected in the films programmed at this year’s Ajyal Film Festival,” DFI CEO and festival director Fatma Hassan al-Remaihi said at a press conference on Monday at Katara.
“In this sixth edition we continue to celebrate film with our community, and to build on what our festival has always stood for: the power of cinematic voices to help transform minds, people and communities,” she added.
Some 44 films by women filmmakers are also participating in this edition, which showcases a diverse programme of 23 features and 58 shorts, including 24 from the Arab world.
At least 14 DFI-supported films will also be screened, including 'What Walaa Wants', 'The Man Who Stole Banksy', 'Weldi' and 'Capharnaum'.
Some of the highlights include Cannes Jury Prize-winning 'Capharnaum' by Nadine Labaki, Berlinale Amnesty International Film Prize winner 'Central Airport THF' by Karim Ainouz, Sundance winner 'The Price of Free' by Derek Doneen, festival favourites '3 Faces' by Jafar Panahi and anime feature 'Mirai' by acclaimed director Mamoru Hosada.
Naji Abu Nowar’s 'Theeb', a DFI-supported film that won the Bafta for Outstanding Debut and was Oscar-nominated in 2016 for Best Foreign Language Film, also returns to Ajyal this year. 
According to DFI, the film’s special ‘trans-adapted’ screening is presented in collaboration with the Translation and Interpreting Institute of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Hamad bin Khalifa University. 
More than 550 jurors from 55 nationalities, including international jurors from Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom, form the Jury Competition slate, which consists of 13 feature films and a series of short programmes.
The jurors will watch “diversely curated sections (Mohaq, Hilal, and Bader)” and examine the films with industry experts, as well as “evaluate the individual creative and emotional impact of these films.” They will also take part in panel discussion, workshops and open forum with filmmakers.
Ajyal 2018 will see key personalities in films, arts and humanity, including director Nadine Labaki, producer and music composer Khaled Mouzanar, artist El Seed, actors Tom Felton, Evangeline Lilly, Tuba Unsal, Engin Altan Duzyatan, Bulent Inal and Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi, among others. 
Al-Remaihi said the event will also honour national icon, renowned Qatari actor Abdul Aziz Jassem with the Abdul Aziz Jassem Award for acting, as part of the Made in Qatar awards.
Meanwhile, 16 films make up Ajyal’s ‘Made in Qatar’ programme, presented by Ooredoo. It includes world premieres of next completed projects from the Qatari Film Fund recipients: Mahdi Ali Ali’s 'Amphitheatre', Amal Al Muftah’s 'Sh’hab', Mohamed al-Mahmeed’s 'Nasser Goes to Space' and Naif al-Malki’s 'I Am Not My Father'. 
A ‘Made in Russia’ section has been added in this year’s edition, as part of the Qatar – Russia Year of Culture. It is a selection of contemporary short films from up and coming Russian film directors, specially curated by Alexei Medvedev.
Official partners of this year’s festival are Katara (cultural partner), Ooredoo (principal partner), Novo Cinemas (strategic partner), and St Regis Doha (signature partner).

Expanding beyond Katara

Ajyal 2018 will feature public screenings, screenings dedicated to the Ajyal jury, interactive panel discussions, red carpet events, and community-oriented activities that will delight all ages. The event is expanding its public screenings beyond Katara to include screenings at Novo Cinemas at The Pearl-Qatar. 
The Ajyal Creativity Hub presents a vibrant programme of cultural and creative activities, including Qatar’s largest pop-culture event Geekdom – a hub for the community to come together and relive their childhood memories through music, games, competitions, talks and films.
Ajyal Talks gathers leaders from film, art, television and technology for inspiring and insightful discussions on a broad range of social impact topics.

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