The rise in popularity of social media platforms for creating and sharing short videos is opening up opportunities for aspiring filmmakers around the world. In Qatar, a team of experienced professionals has come together offering a unique opportunity for young female content creators who are residents and citizens of the country.
Introducing Short Film Lab!— a program that is funded by the Public Affairs Office at the American Embassy. The Lab aims to train and support the artistic and professional development of participants through free weekly seminar-style class meetings that cover screenplay writing, approaches to presenting engaging topics, drafting and workshopping their own screenplays as well as producing, directing, and editing their own microfilms.
Scroll down to learn more about the program in this short interview with the film director Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar, a South Asian American novelist, comic, and screenwriter based in Qatar.
Mohana: The Lab is a two-phase program that focuses on screenwriting and production. The program is free and is open to the general public. Short Film Lab comes out of a love for movies, and also a desire to share my own recent experiences as a screenwriter and short filmmaker.
There's a lot of energy around filmmaking in Qatar, from the Doha Film Institute to other grassroots initiatives, and Short Film Lab is just excited to join the community.
Mohana: When we saw the US Embassy's call for a proposal back in August 2021 for community development projects, we thought this was a good opportunity to share our knowledge with young women in Qatar about filmmaking.
Mohana: Girls aged 15-23 and are based in Qatar are welcome to apply. We will be able to accept 15 young women in total. The workshop is every Saturday from February to April 2022 at the Katara Art Center. Applicants who meet the criteria can apply via bit.ly/shortsbyshorties
Mohana: They will have a chance to develop an original idea for a film from script form into a short film and then showcase these films to the general public. Each participant will use her new writing skills and content knowledge to create a ten-page screenplay.
Mohana: We want to spread the love for screenwriting and filmmaking across Qatar and empower young women to use film as a medium for their messages.
Mohana: Someone told me a long time ago that the important thing to do if you're interested in movie making, is to make a movie. Doesn't matter how big or small, just start with your idea and you'll learn a lot in the process. Besides, by the end, you'll have a movie!
Mohana: Young women in the Middle East are at a confluence of global and local changes. And we hope this program helps them articulate the issues at the forefront of their conversations to a wider audience.
Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar, PhD is a longstanding member of the local community and has lived in Qatar for over 15 years. She is joined in this project by documentary filmmaker and professor of journalism, Christina Pashchyn.
Dreaming of creating your first short at 15? Don't miss out on this great opportunity and realize that dream!
Do you know of someone who has an exceptional talent or a group that is making a difference in our community? Drop us a line in the comments below and you could see them highlighted in our next Qommunity Voices!
Follow us on our social media channels:
If you have anything you want to share with us, send us an e-mail at [email protected]!
Want to send a tip? Drop us an e-mail at [email protected], anonymity is guaranteed!
You have successfully registered your account!Please confirm your e-mail address by clicking on the URL sent to you.The e-mail usually arrives in 5-10 minutes.
How ajeeb was that!? Thanks for contributing to our community! Your post will appear after we take a quick look!