Legendary French auteur Claire Denis, BAFTA and Academy Award® nominated cinematographer Phedon Papamichael, internationally celebrated director and Cannes veteran James Gray, Silver Lion winning film director and screenwriter Jessica Hausner and Academy Award® winning sound designer Mark Mangini re-confirmed their commitments as Qumra Masters for the 2021 online edition of Doha Film Institute’s event dedicated to supporting important new voices from the Arab and world cinema.
Over the past seven years, Qumra has been a one-of-a-kind professional incubator crucial to the success of filmmakers from the Arab world and beyond. The Qumra 2021 programme, scheduled from March 12-17 will present 48 selected projects from 21 countries as part of DFI’s mission to nurture the success of filmmakers from the region and beyond and prepare them to bring their projects to audiences around the world.
Fatma Hassan Alremaihi, Chief Executive Officer of the Doha Film Institute, said: “Qumra is an extremely important event for our community and participants, and is crucial for the success of the selected projects who represent some of the most promising names in world cinema. The Institute is extremely grateful to our Qumra Masters, filmmakers and industry participants for their passion and contribution to our commitment to reshape the global storytelling landscape and empower emerging voices during this period of new challenges.
“With mentorship and guidance from these creative visionaries, participating filmmakers gain the unique opportunity to further enhance their craft and to transform inspired stories into award-winning masterpieces. Now in it’s biggest, most innovative new format that enables access from anywhere in the world, we look forward to supporting tomorrow’s most promising talent and sharing their work with our continuously growing Qumra global community.”
Doha Film Institute Artistic Advisor and filmmaker, Elia Suleiman, said: “In the midst of the adversity of the COVID-19 outbreak, it was of utmost importance for us to protect the promise of the outstanding projects in the previous edition of Qumra, regardless of the disruption that the pandemic caused to our 'normal'. A year on, we look forward to welcoming our Master’s back to bring their immense value to an exciting new line-up of projects, on a more robust and interactive online platform. The true test of powerful storytelling lies in its ability to transgress all limitations, and we are indebted to the Qumra Masters for the power of their vision to transcend physical boundaries and inspire this year's participants to boldly redefine global storytelling.”
Continuing the Institute’s commitment to support promising talent in evolving forms of creativity and new possibilities, Qumra 2021 includes sessions dedicated to exploring and developing fresh new projects from the region. This year’s event features 19 projects by Qatar-based talent, including 12 by Qatari nationals. A total of 48 projects, including Series Projects in various stages of development, will participate. Of these projects, 39 are recipients of the Doha Film Institute’s Grants programme and the Qatari Film Fund. In all, 15 feature projects are in the development stage, 15 feature projects in post-production, 6 TV and web Series Projects in Development, and 12 Shorts Projects (in Development and Post-Production).
2021 QUMRA PROJECTS:
Development- Feature Narrative
- A Road to Damascus (Lebanon, France, Qatar) by Meedo Taha is about an ambitious policewoman who conducts a murder investigation that threatens to turn her own hometown against her.
- Ashkal (Tunisia, France, Qatar) by Youssef Chebbi follows Batal and Fatma carrying out an investigation on a strange case of self-immolation. The mystery grows when a new calcined body is found in the same neighbourhood.
- Cotton Queen (Sudan, Qatar) by Suzannah Mirghani is set in a cotton-farming village in Sudan, where 15-year-old Nafisa must stand up for the idea of love and stand up to her greatest obstacle: her grandmother, the foreboding Al-Sit.
- Hounds (Morocco, France, Belgium, Qatar) by Kamal Lazraq is set in the working-class suburbs of Casablanca, father and son Hassan and Issam, survive from day to day by doing small-time deals and running errands for local gangs, when, one night they are asked to carry out an abduction.
- In a Dream You Saw A Way to Survive and You Were Full of Joy (Lebanon, UK, Qatar) by Remi Itani, faced with an unintended pregnancy, a young Lebanese woman’s shame, fear and denial turns into a ghostly veil that haunts her, forcing her to redefine her relationship with men, her city and her oblivious mother.
- My Classmate Ali for Supreme Leader (Qatar) by Nadia Al-Khater- a tenth grader’s humble campaign for student council secretary is overshadowed by her older brother’s sensational run for president.
- The Pearl (Qatar) by Noor Al-Nasser - when a tech-obsessed Qatari teen who is disconnected from his family travels back to a time before technology existed and pearl diving was the main source of income, he is forced to learns how to communicate face-to-face to reconnect with his family.
- Under Construction (Lebanon, Qatar) by Nadim Tabet -When Syrian workers mysteriously start disappearing from a construction site located near a Lebanese village, Tarek, a 30-year-old worker is haunted by the ghost of a woman who was allegedly murdered by a soldier when the village was under Syrian military occupation.
- Companions of The White Arc (Qatar, Jordan, Lebanon, Romania, Norway) by Elia Youssef and Mohammed Al-Thani - Moe Al Thani attempts his last climb solo in an effort to become the first Qatari to achieve mountaineering’s coveted “Grand Slam” title. His North Pole expedition pushes him far beyond his comfort zone, allowing him to truly discover his inner voice and deep connection with nature.
- Handala, The Boy Without a Face (Lebanon, Qatar) by Mahmoud Kaabour depicts a treasure hunt, emanating from a sketch of a young refugee that has been circulating around the world for over fifty years.
- Jodari Meno (Qatar, Italy, Zanzibar) by Jamal Al-Khanji and David Ochoa- A Qatari spearfisherman embarks on a journey of self-exploration by chasing his dream of catching a once in a lifetime fish in this story of how passion helps shape his world and the life of those around him in ways he never thought possible.
- My Father’s House (Denmark, UK, Palestine, Qatar) by Mahdi Fleifel - A personal story about memory, exile, and a father and his son.
- The Camera Never Cries (Sudan, Qatar) by Abuzar Adam, Elsadig Abdelgayoum- Driven by their passion for change, two filmmakers document the 2019 Sudanese revolution. A year later during the Covid-19 lockdown, they reunite to explore the story of the revolution and their growing friendship.
- Theft of Fire (Canada, Palestine, Qatar) by Amer Shomali- A lonely Palestinian artist hatches a daring plot to break into a secret Israeli prison and steal back a trove of looted antiquities from a legendary general. A hybrid documentary based on a true story.
- Wall of Death (Morocco, France, Qatar) by Amine Sabir- Hassan and Khadra have been performing the motorcycle acrobatics Wall of Death show for four decades but refuse to let their 27-year-old daughter Zahra take over. Zahra finds herself torn between solidarity with family and the desire to choose another path.
Post-Production- Feature Narrative
- Costa Brava Lebanon (Lebanon, France, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Qatar) by Mounia Akl -The Badri family lives in isolation in Lebanon’s mountains. When the government inaugurates a landfill outside their fence, everything they escaped catches up with them.
- El Gran Movimiento (Bolivia, France, Switzerland, Qatar) by Kiro Russo - A worker falls ill upon his arrival to the city of La Paz, and his godmother attempts to save him through a healer.
- Orca (Qatar, Iran) by Sahar Mossayebi -The dark waters you fear to enter hold the salvation that you seek.
- The Exam (Iraq, Germany, Qatar) by Shawkat Amin Korki - Rojin and her sister Shilan know that starting university is Rojin’s only way to avoid a forced marriage. So, they plan to cheat on the admission exam by buying the correct answers.
- The Sea Ahead (Lebanon, France, Belgium, USA, Qatar) by Ely Dagher - After a long absence, a young woman suddenly returns home and finds herself reconnecting with the familiar, yet strange life she had once left.
- Tug of War (Tanzania, South Africa, Germany, Qatar) by Amil Shivji -A runaway Indian-Zanzibari bride forms a strong bond with a young communist in the winding alleyways of 1950s British colonial Zanzibar. Love and resistance escalate.
- Whether the Weather is Fine (Philippines, France, Singapore, Germany, Indonesia, Qatar) by Carlo Francisco Manatad follows Miguel after he wakes up in the chaos of Typhoon Haiyan, which destroyed Tacloban—a coastal city in the Philippines, in November 2013.
- White Building (Cambodia, France, China, Qatar) by Kavich Neang - Samnang faces the demolition of his lifelong home in Phnom Penh coupled with pressures from family, friends, and neighbours, which all arise and intersect at this moment of sudden change.
Post-Production- Feature Documentary
- The Miracle of Almería (Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands, Qatar) by Moon Blaisse - The legal and illegalised inhabitants of Almeria, the biggest vegetable garden in Europe, cooperate to reveal the system of violence behind their tomatoes.
- 5 Seasons of Revolution (Syria, Germany, Norway, Qatar) by LINA - Lina wanted to become simply a camera woman. But after the uprising in Syria, it didn’t take long until events escalated, and arrests, torture, and potentially life-threatening situations became a reality for Lina to negotiate as a new norm.
- Fragments from Heaven (Morocco, France, Qatar) by Adnane Baraka - The story of nomad Mohamed, scientist Abderrahmane, and other Bedouins searching the Moroccan desert for the same celestial stone that could change the finder’s life forever, each for their own reasons. Their search merges into an inherent quest that resonates with that of all the others.
- Atlantide (Italy, France, Qatar) by Yuri Ancarani - Among the gondolas, canals, and palaces of the Venetian lagoon—tourists have replaced inhabitants. At the heart of an alternative society rebelling against this reality is a group of teenagers seeking their way to adulthood on their powerboats called “Barchini”.
- Children of the Enemy (Sweden, Denmark, Qatar) by Gorki Glaser-Müller- He lost his daughter to Islamic State. Can he save his grandchildren?
- Les Enfants Terribles (France, Germany, Turkey, Qatar) by Ahmet Necdet Cupur - In a village near the Syrian border of Turkey, a young man, Mahmut, and his adolescent sister Zeynep are regarded as sinners when they make unconventional life choices, and an impossible battle begins.
- Our Little Palestine (Lebanon, France, Syria, Qatar) by Abdullah Al Khateeb - A group of Palestinian civilian activists from the Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus decide to respond to the chaos that has turned their small community into a besieged ghetto by doing civil work, practicing agriculture, studying and spreading music, theatre, love and joy.
Development - Short Narrative
- Al Fanar (Qatar) by Aisha Al Muhannadi – A young woman left alone in her friendly neighborhood after her father ventured to the sea, turned her life into a tragedy.
- Kinship (Qatar) by Ali Alhajri– When a shadow emerges with the birth of his newborn, Khalid must come face to face with his past in order to live his future.
- The Experiment (Qatar) by Abdullah Alhor – Set in a prison in a Middle Eastern city, the film i s about a bullied 30-year-old researcher who must win a challenge to prove that his rehab experiment works, before he loses his job - and his face - to his nemesis.
- A Simple Cut (Qatar) by Maha Al Jefairi - A young girl goes to ridiculous lengths to hide her haircut from her overbearing mother.
Work-in-Progress – Short Animation
- Revenge Knows Nothing (Qatar) by Abdulla Al Janahi & Abdulaziz Khashabi - merges two stories to showcase the horrific effects of human injustice and selfish actions on its victims—human or otherwise.
Work-in-Progress- Short Documentary
- Let’s Play Soldiers (Yemen, Qatar) by Mariam Al-Dhubhani - The story of Nasser, Adham, and Ahmed -three generations of child soldiers lost in the cycle of war in Yemen.
Short Documentary Lab with Rithy Panh
- And I Was Left Behind (Qatar, Kuwait) by Maysaa Almumin – Long after her passing, my grandmother’s words told to me as a child, finally make sense to me decades later.
- And Then They Burn the Sea (Qatar) by Majid Al Remaihi – is an elegy to the filmmaker’s mother. Weaving through images, personal archives, and cultural motifs, the film is a meditation on ambiguous loss, the sea, and dreams.
- Fever Dream (Qatar, USA, Poland) by Ania Hendryx Wójtowicz – When dreams overtake waking life and reality masquerades as fiction – “Do Not Leave the House.”
- Ode to Loneliness (Qatar, Lebanon) by Rawane Nassif – A woman lives alone in a cubical hotel room with a view to the city. She ﬁlms herself, the city, and her dreams for a month.
- Virtual Voice (Qatar, Sudan) by Suzannah Mirghani – Suzi is the voice of her generation…the virtual voice of her generation.
Picture Lock Creative Short Documentary
- Don’t Get Too Comfortable (Yemen, UAE, Kenya, USA, Netherlands, Qatar) by Shaima Al Tamimi - More than fifty years after his death, this heartfelt multimedia letter addressed to Shaima’s paternal grandfather reflects on the intergenerational journey of migration and resettlement and examines the burden of relocation that impacts Yemeni migrants across generations.
- Locals. Qatar. (Qatar) Directed by Saud Al Thani, written by Stephen Ochsner, produced by Fahad Al Attiya, Julia Shaginurova, Galina Bott
A hyper-inclusive look into what responsibility and sense of belonging mean in a place where 90% of the population are guests.
- Mornings in Jenin (Palestine, USA, UK, Qatar) Directed by Annemarie Jacir, Produced by Alison Sterling, Screenwriters: Ismail Khalidi, Naomi Wallace
Mornings in Jenin is a deeply human chronicle of the intertwining lives of three siblings who make starkly different choices in the face of turmoil and conflict. Beginning in Palestine in 1947, it is a searing exploration of friendship, love, courage, and hope.
- Oddity Tales from a Strange Land (Jordan, Qatar) Directed and written by Ahmad Samara, Produced and co-written by Alaa Alhussan, co-writer: Alaadin Qaraqish
A coming-of-age story, following a girl named Aya, through which we explore a collection of stories that share with us the diverse ancient historical tales and mythologies spread throughout the Arab world.
- Rise of the Mad Cat (Qatar)- Directed, written and produced by Meshaal Al Abdulla and Ibrahim Al Abdulla
CHIMBIR is a stray cat He meets CASPER the fish. With the help of their new creation GEMII. They team up to face various challenges, and build relations in order to establish an advanced empire.
- TCA186: The Tarmac Year (Lebanon, Qatar)- Directed & Written by Mohamed Berro, Co-Written by Fuad Halwani, Producer: Mohamed Berro, Fuad Halwani
In the time of the Cold War in 1980's, two Lebanese cousins hijacking a plane to demand the release of political prisonersget tangled up with cold war politics, and the hijackers and passengers find themselves attempting to survive the longest hijacking in history.
- Jet Set Arabia (Qatar) by Abdulla Al Abdulla, Exec. Producers: Abdulla Al-Abdulla, Basel Owies
A glimpse into the glamorous exploits of celebrity Khaleeji social media influencers Fatima Al Momen, Ascia Farraj, Abdulla Al Abdulla, Reem Al Sanea and Rawan Bin Hussain, who juggle their unconventional modern lifestyles under the microscopes of their families and traditional cultures of the Middle East.
Source: Press Release
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