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Posted On: 6 February 2019 02:28 pm
Updated On: 3 April 2019 12:58 pm

Movie screening in the deserts of Qatar!

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Have you guys ever thought of watching your favourite movies in the middle of nowhere? What about out in the desert where the temperature tends to reach the most extreme level?

Well, if this out-of-the-box idea makes you excited, then you might wanna know that Cinema In The Wild (CITW), a group of passionate and equally-talented cinephiles, is turning the 'movie screening in the desert' concept in Qatar a reality!

Movies playing outside the conventional theater are not anymore new in this part of the globe. The concept has existed in many countries and has now been brought to Qatar to keep pace with the latest developments.

Cinema in the Wild Qatar

During the last quarter of 2017, Aspire launched the first drive-in cinema in the country which featured an open theatre that can accommodate 80 cars with ample amount of food and snacks available on carts.

This was followed by more attempts with undertakings such as an open-air cinema programme called 'HawaScene,' Doha Film Institute's outdoor pop-up cinema screenings during every Ajyal Youth Film Festival, and the 'Cinema Under the Stars' programme which recently screened Academy Award winner 'Coco' at the Museum of Islamic Art

The idea behind CITW can be simplified in four steps:

  1. Once a movie night is announced in CITW's Instagram page, interested joiners will be instructed to meet the organizers at a specific time and location in Doha (usually at 3:30 PM in Al Murkhiya's Ibn Al-Qayeem Bookstore)
  2. When everyone's in, the joiners will drive all the way to the village dessert of Zekreet in the form of a convoy
  3. Pay 30 QR upon entrance, set up your chairs, snuggle down, and enjoy the movie!
  4. After the screening, joiners will have a chance to enjoy the cold weather by spending some free time, meeting new friends, and playing games
Movie screening in the deserts of Qatar

Speaking to ILoveQatar.Net, CITW founders Abdallah Khattab and Ahmed Owais, who are cinematographers and animators by profession respectively, said that they were just two friends who have multiple interests in cinema, filmmaking and youth ideas who built CITW from scratch. "We have a great interest in creating a tourist experience that is open to everyone, especially those interested in cinema and film."

Joiners just need to bring a cozy chair and blankets of their own to have the ultimate movie desert screening experience. Abdallah shared that one of their plans is to gather joiners of multiple nationalities to watch movies, create networks, and later collaborate in the future.

"In each grouping, we choose a theme or identity, whether in the nature of the film displayed and the types of activities in our schedules. Currently, we are planning to allot a day to screen movies helmed by Qatari filmmakers and we're even planning to add Q&A session with the directors and to give them our sincere feedback."

Movie night at Zekreet

Inside Zekreet, the venue for CITW's desert screenings, is the contemporary recreation of an antique Arabic village called 'Film City.' Surrounded with anomalous palm trees in a never-ending arid landscape, the site was said to either function as the set of a big Hollywood production or for a native Arabic film, or for Qatar’s 2022 World Cup video promo.

This is the reason, according to the founders, which made them choose Zekreet as their undertaking's prime location. Though they haven't screened any feature film outside of Zekreet yet, the young filmmakers shared that they're also planning to do it somewhere at Sealine Beach but under certain conditions.

Abdallah and Ahmed's first two cinema desert nights happened on the 11th and 25th of January and because many more cinephiles are getting interested to join, they've recently announced February 8 (Friday) as their 3rd movie night at Zekreet with 1966 classic 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly' in the spotlight.

If you're keen to know more about the CITW team and their future plans, make sure to follow them on their Instagram page.

Did this unique weekend getaway idea excite you? If yes, tell us why in the comments below and also, don't forget to like and share this article—it keeps us going!