Tag Archive | "Doha Film Institute’s"

World Premiere of motor racing documentary, Speed Sisters, to open Doha Film Institute’s second annual Ajyal Youth Film Festival

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World Premiere of motor racing documentary, Speed Sisters, to open Doha Film Institute’s second annual Ajyal Youth Film Festival


4128The second annual Ajyal Youth Film Festival, presented by the Doha Film Institute, will open on December 1 with the world premiere of Speed Sisters by Amber Fares, a thrilling, action-packed and insightful documentary about the Middle East’s first all-woman motor racing team.

Raising the curtain on the festival’s second edition, Speed Sisters takes viewers inside the West Bank’s streetcar motor racing scene where we follow a group of young Palestinian women brought together by their desire to live life on their own terms. The debut feature by Lebanese-Canadian director, Amber Fares, takes an intimate look at the lives of its five subjects and what motivates them to compete as they challenge social expectations, community politics and family dynamics while also facing restrictions of movement by the Israeli military occupation.

The film was developed with the support of the Sundance Institute and Doha Film Institute’s grants programme, along with a variety of international film funds and hundreds of crowdfunding backers around the world.

Fatma Al Remaihi, Festival Director and Acting CEO of Doha Film Institute, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to present the world premiere of Speed Sisters in Doha at the opening night of the Ajyal Youth Film Festival. It is a film that took us by surprise – a first feature by an exciting new director that depicts a very different aspect of life in Palestine than what we are accustomed to seeing on screen.

“Speed Sisters captures the passion and determination these young women have for their sport, as well as the great sense of personal freedom, camaraderie and positivity that motor racing brings to their lives.

“Our festival is dedicated to bringing generations together through cinema, and Speed Sisters is a wonderful example of a film that explores some of the questions and challenges faced by young people in our region around notions of tradition and modernity.”

The director, Amber Fares, will be in attendance for the opening night along with a delegation of the film’s cast and crew.

Amber Fares said: “We have spent five years in Palestine bringing this story to the screen and I am very excited that Doha will mark the start of our festival journey. Speed Sisters is a story about five fiercely determined women and their drive to break through the obstacles in their lives in order to stay true to themselves and their dreams.

We felt it was a perfect fit to launch our film at this youth-oriented event in the Middle East in order to celebrate the energy, hopes and creativity of young people in the region. We are honored to be opening the second edition of the festival.”

Previously announced titles for the festival include the closing night gala which will feature the Middle East premiere of ‘Kahlil Gibran’s the Prophet’, the animated adaptation of Gibran’s beloved book which world premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last month. Produced by Salma Hayek and made with support from the Institute’s co-financing programme, the film features the work of nine renowned animators who each depict a chapter from the book. Emirati filmmaker and creator of the popular Freej series, Mohammed Saeed Harib, is among the nine directors.

The full festival programme will be announced early November.

The Ajyal Youth Film Festival builds on the Doha Film Institute’s history of community-based programming. Ajyal, meaning ‘generations’ in Arabic, invites people of all ages to come together to discuss cinema through events that inspire creative interaction, opening up a fun, collaborative environment where young people can express themselves. Driven with the goal to inspire and create, Ajyal has been designed to empower the region’s youth and to inspire film enthusiasts of all ages in Qatar and the region.

The second annual Ajyal Youth Film Festival will take place from December 1 – 6 at Katara Cultural Village. The programme consists of daily public screenings of local and international films; family days; special events and exhibitions; the Sandbox interactive digital playground; school screenings; and the Doha Film Experience - Ajyal’s youth jury, where hundreds of young people between the ages of 8 and 21 will watch and discuss shorts and features and decide on the winning films.

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Doha Film Institute’s Co-Financed Project ‘May in the Summer’ to Open 2013 Sundance Film Festival US Dramatic Competition

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Doha Film Institute’s Co-Financed Project ‘May in the Summer’ to Open 2013 Sundance Film Festival US Dramatic Competition


Cherien Dabis’s New Feature Competes for Top Honours in the Premiere Section

262Doha, Qatar; December 5, 2012: The world premiere of acclaimed Arab-American filmmaker Cherien Dabis’s latest feature, May in the Summer, co-financed by the Doha Film Institute (DFI), will screen as the opening film for the US Dramatic Competition at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

Having won international recognition for her first feature Amreeka, Cherien’s follow-up film is a dramatic comedy set in Jordan, where a bride-to-be is forced to re-evaluate her life when she reunites with her family, only to be confronted with the aftermath of her parents’ divorce.

May in the Summer stars Palestinian actress and director Hiam Abbas (The Visitor, Lemon Tree, The Syrian Bride, Munich) and American comedienne Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development, Cedar Rapids, Amreeka, The Runaways) along with Cherien Dabis, Alexander Siddig amongst others. The film is produced by Chris Tricarico and Alix Madigan, and was co-financed by DFI underlining its commitment to nurture a strong Arab film industry by supporting regional and international productions. Whitewater Films and Durga Entertainment are the Executive Producers of the film. The project also received development support from the Time Warner Storytelling Grant, part of the Sundance Grants and Fellowship Programme and a Production grant from the Jordan Film Fund, Royal Film Commission of Jordan.

Abdulaziz Al-Khater, Chief Executive Officer, DFI, said: “One of the key objectives of DFI is to foster and facilitate the evolution of a pan Arab film industry, whereby talented filmmakers have the opportunity to tell their stories to the world. Cherien’s May in the Summer presents a compelling portrait of Arab society, and we are honoured that our latest Middle Eastern project is opening the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, reiterating the strong global inroads made by Arab films and filmmakers.”

Paul Miller, Head of Film Financing, Doha Film Institute, said: “Co-financing is an important component of our film financing initiatives, which also includes the MENA Grants and the Gulf Development Unit. May in the Summer is a powerful addition to our portfolio of co-financed projects, which demonstrates our long-term commitment to building the Arab film industry by supporting talented filmmakers both regionally and from the Arab diaspora.”

Cherien Dabis has clinched numerous laurels for her previous project Amreeka in the global film festival circuit including prizes at the Cannes Film Festival, Cairo International Film Festival, and Sundance Film Festival. She said: “I’m very grateful to Doha Film Institute for their years of involvement and their assistance in making this film possible.”

Most recently, DFI had announced funding for 27 new MENA projects as part of its fall grants session. The 27 projects supported include a diverse range of powerful and culturally authentic stories reflecting the diversity of new and more established filmmaking voices within the MENA region.

DFI is committed to identifying, nurturing, and promoting talent that will further enrich Qatar’s cultural scene and reinforce its position as the cultural and artistic hub of the region.

Following the opening of Venice Film Festival 2012 by The Reluctant Fundamentalist, financed by Doha Film Institute (DFI), May in the Summer screening on the 17 of January 2013, is the latest project co-financed by DFI to debut at an international Festival.

Launched in 1985, the Sundance Film Festival is one of the most prestigious film festivals bringing the world’s most original storytellers together for a fantastic display of path-breaking films selected for their ingenuity and narrative brilliance.


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