The Ajyal Film Festival, presented by the Doha Film Institute, is back in all its glory and this time round, you’ll find more activities, lots more fun and new experiences for everyone – no matter what age - for you to enjoy at Qatar’s unmissable annual celebration of film, music, art and pop culture.
We know you’re just as excited as we are and to help you plan your way around the festival, we have put together all the information you will need about the events and screenings so you don’t miss anything.
Note: This year's events and activities can be attended in person and online via an online streaming platform.
Why not try something different with an outdoor cinema experience at the returning Ajyal Drive-In cinema this year, which became a unique and safe alternative to experience films in Qatar during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Six all-time favourite family-friendly and classic midnight horror screenings will air on the huge drive-in cinema screen in Lusail and these include:
Tickets for the Drive-In Cinema screenings are available at QR 100 - QR 150 per car and can be purchased at www.dohafilminstitute.com/filmfestival.
The 9th edition of the Ajyal Film Festival is showcasing 31 feature films and 54 shorts from 44 different countries, including Qatar. The screenings across seven days include 22 films by Arab filmmakers and 32 films made by women directors, indicating how women are increasingly becoming part of the film fraternity in Qatar and around the world.
This year, Ajyal will open with a screening of 'A Hero' on 7 November at 8 pm at the Katara Opera House, Building 16 (by invitation only) and Katara Drama Theatre (tickets for QR 50). This film won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Festival 2021, and has been directed by Academy Award-winning Iranian film legend and DFI collaborator Asghar Farhadi, and will be followed by others over a seven-day period of cinematic excellence.
Ajyal 2021's 'Made in Qatar' programme - presented by Ooredoo - is celebrating 10 promising young filmmakers along with more established directors who live in Qatar. The films presented under the 'Made in Qatar' programme recognise the cinematic ambitions of these filmmakers, some of whom have already showcased their films at international film events - Majid Al-Remaihi for 'And Then They Burn The Sea' and Shaima Al-Tamimi for 'Don’t Get Too Comfortable' - in Venice and Locarno respectively.
The 10 'Made in Qatar' films that will be showcased during Ajyal 2021 include 'A Lens Under Water', 'Don't Get Too Comfortable', 'Olayan', 'And Then They Burn the Sea', 'When Beirut was Beirut', 'Border', 'Fever Dream', 'Kan Fe Nas', 'Remnants' and 'Virtual Voice'. A jury made up of American actress Sheila Vand, Executive Board Member and CEO of Katara Studios Ahmed Al Baker, and Farah Nabulsi, Palestinian-British Oscar-nominated and BAFTA award-winning filmmaker of The Present, supported by DFI, will give awards to the best films.
The 'Made in Qatar' programme will premiere at the Katara Drama Theatre, Building 16 on 9 November 2021 at 7:30 pm. This will be followed by a screening at the Katara Opera House, Building 16 at 8:30 pm, and then will screen at VOX Cinemas, Doha Festival City on 11 November 2021 at 8:30 pm.
Tickets for the 9th Ajyal Film Festival screenings at Katara are available for purchase online at https://www.dohafilminstitute.com/filmfestival and tickets for screenings at Vox cinemas can be purchased directly from the Vox box office. Prices vary depending on what's screening and where it's screening, and a maximum of six tickets may be purchased per person.
Qatar Museum’s Culture Pass members will get a 20% discount on tickets sold by DFI.
This year, Ajyal is bringing film buffs in Qatar important works from award-winning filmmakers. These films including the winner of the Audience Award at the London Film Festival Mounia Akl’s DFI supported film 'Costa Brava, Lebanon'; 'Captains of Zaatari' by Ali El Arabi, winner of the Special Jury Prize for Best International Documentary and Feature Film at Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, Audience Award winner at 2021 Sundance Film Festival 'Writing with Fire' by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh, and winner of the Best Screenplay Award at Fajr International Film Festival, 'Brother’s Keeper' by Ferit Karahan, are among the celebrated films in the Ajyal line-up this year.
Register here to attend Geekdom 2021 and to check the full schedule!
Geekdom is Qatar’s largest and one-of-its-kind pop-culture event, and it's back to welcome gaming enthusiasts back into its fold with a bunch of awesome and unmissable events that include:
On 12 November 2021 at 5 pm, don your favourite cosplay character outfit and take part in the epic Geekdom Cosplay Competition and get the chance to win some awesome prizes. For rules and regulations for entering the competition and to register, click on the website: https://www.dohafilminstitute.com/pages/geekdom-cosplay-competition-2021.
Get ready for some serious gaming action and combats as Geekdom’s Gaming Tournaments return with a selection of incredible and action-packed games for you to compete in.
For rules and regulations for entering the competition and to register, click on the website: https://www.dohafilminstitute.com/pages/geekdom-tournaments
If you love Disney movies, then make sure you're at the Msheireb Screening Room between 8 - 13 November 2021, so you can watch your favourites on the big screen. Four Disney classics will be showing that include:
The Ajyal Creativity Hub is a unique destination for film, music and art lovers of all ages where they'll get to enjoy a range of different multi-sensory experiences, and this year it's being hosted by Msheireb Downtown at Sikkat Wadi.
Note: Entry is FREE, but slots must be reserved online beforehand.
Ajyal Talks is an online event that is gathering leaders from film, art, television and technology to hold inspiring and insightful discussions. These include Olympian, actress, filmmaker, and author Alexi Pappas who talks about setting ambitious goals, caring for mental health and how to chase big dreams.
There's also an inspirational discussion by a panel of game-changers in Qatar - young entrepreneurs who are giving the Qatari business landscape a makeover - who will be talking about how they built their brands and other important business issues in the world of today.
Ajyal Tunes celebrates Qatar’s local musical talent, as well as some special international guests as well, at themed concerts with plenty of live music at the Msheireb Museums’ Company House.
The concerts include:
The concerts are FREE, but since capacity is limited on first-come, first-serve basis, it's best to be there early or you'll miss some great music.
This year’s exhibit ‘We Will Not Leave’ draws inspiration from the Al-Kurd family that's living in the embattled Palestinian neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah. The exhibition, a multimedia experience and derives its name from the family's defiant and now iconic piece of graffiti art and highlights how the creative community in Qatar has united in a spirit of solidarity, kinship and support for the Palestinian cause.
The exhibition is FREE; it's open from 8 November 2021 to 18 December 2021 from 10 am - 10 pm (Saturday to Thursday) and 2 pm - 10 pm (Friday).
Sources: DFI website; DFI Press Releases
Cover image: DFI
Are you excited about Ajyal 2021? Which events would you be attending? Any film you're particularly looking forward to? Do let us know in our Comments section. Like and share the article - it keeps us going!
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