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Posted On: 26 August 2020 12:00 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 10:18 am

Qatari filmmaker Amal Al Muftah takes on Qatar's film world

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Amal A. Al-Muftah didn’t think much of her filmmaking class in high school (she went to the Qatar Academy) when she first started even though she loved watching films, but destiny had other plans. With time, she developed an interest in it, and the rest, as they say, is history!

Amal is a Qatari filmmaker who was raised in Al Wakrah, and has been called the 'the rising star of Qatari cinema'. At the age of 24, She already has a number of films to her credit.

Why are films important to Amal?

At a workshop, Amal explained why films are important to her:

“Film is important to me because I have found that it is the better way for me to express myself. It gives me the freedom to express how I feel through both vision and dialogue. It is a different way of expression." (Thimun Qatar Press)

What makes Amal’s films unique?

Amal, a 2019 graduate of Communications from the Northwestern University of Qatar (NU-Q) where she made the documentary called "Split Second" for the NU-Q THIMUN Film Festival winning her the Best National Award and the People's Choice Award, likes to highlight the shortcomings of human beings through her films. And, during this process, she also triggers queries and debates on different social issues we deal with in daily life.

Why does Amal call her films her 'own babies'?

Amal loves making films and is attached to each and every one of them. She regards them as her ‘own babies’ because each was brought to life and raised differently.

What is Amal's inspiration?

Amal draws her inspiration from the rich history and culture of the region.

Image credit: Middle East Eye

What kind of films does Amal like to make?

Amal likes narratives, to be able to create a story, but she also enjoys making documentaries and being able to record the existing state of affairs. Her aim is to try everything to do with filmmaking - from documentaries to narratives, to commercials - all of it!

Does Amal recommend filmmaking to other women in Qatar?

She does, especially Qatari women. She told Women of Qatar:

"There is a general lack of filmmakers in the MENA region in general, not just in Qatar, and it is very important that filmmakers are familiar with the country that they are based in, in terms of the system and the culture."
Image credit: Thimun Qatar Press

What else is Amal passionate about besides filmmaking?

Amal enjoys sports like cycling, boxing and water sports, and also likes attending sailing and scuba diving courses. That's not all. She loves to travel, read, write, cook and she can play the oud and the guitar. She told Women of Qatar:

"All these things make up who I am as a person, in addition to my passion for filmmaking."

What is Amal's advice to those around her?

In Amal's own words:

"Know who you are, but don’t overthink it. Stay true to who you are and trust your voice and the process. Know that you don’t have to follow the path to succeed; it is an option, but you can also create your own path and not only succeed but excel. Make as many mistakes as you can; now is the time. (Noor Bahzad)"

Here are some trailers to Amal's films:

Hamali” (2013)
, showed the lives of the porters at Souq Waqif and won her an award.

“Al Kora” (2014), was her first short film. It was about a brother and sister attempting to retrieve a lost football in an old Qatari village.

“Smicha” (2015), was inspired by her late grandfather. She learnt a lot and gained massive confidence from this experience. She arranged for a private screening of the film at a cinema and won a lot of praise from the locals. In particular, all her family members loved the film because it related to them.

Sh’hab” (2018), was made in partnership with the Doha Film Institute and is about a mischievous 8-year-old girl in Al Wakrah who would do anything to spend time with her father and older brother at sea. In an effort to keep her home and safe, her mother begins to share with her the most elaborate mythological tales about falling stars. But this only stokes the little girl's imagination further, and she sets out to find one at night in an enchanting tale about childlike curiosity and wonder.

Sh’hab” (2018) won the Made in Qatar’s Best Narrative Film Award at the Ajyal Film Festival in 2019, In 2020, the film won the Best Cinematography and Best Actress (Jory Al Darwish) Awards and the 2nd place in the Short Films Award category at the July 2020 VIFF - Varese International Film Festival.

Qatari filmmaker Amal Al Muftah takes on Qatar's film world
Image credit: DFI

The above are just some of Amal's films. For more information about what films she's made and what they've been about, please visit:

Get to know Amal better and see what new things she has in store when you follow her social media accounts:

Information extracted from Thimun Qatar Press, Women of Qatar, Amal Al Muftah, Noor Bahzad, Varese International Film Festival, DFI