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Awards & Recognition

2015 Ajyal Youth Film Festival Updates

The Doha Film Institute (DFI) announced that the third edition of the Ajyal Youth Film Festival will be held from 29 November to 5 December 2015. ‘Ajyal’, Arabic for ‘generations’, brings people of all ages together through screenings and events that inspire creative interaction and stimulate cinematic dialogue. Youth participation is at the heart of the Festival and its jury programme which provides young people between the ages of 8 and 21 with an opportunity to watch, analyse and discuss films from all over the world, developing critical thinking, self-expression, and an appreciation of cinema.

The third Ajyal Youth Film Festival will consist of daily public screenings of local and international films; the popular ‘Made in Qatar’ section dedicated to showcasing home-grown talent from Qatar; SONY Cinema Under the Stars; family weekend; the Doha Giffoni Youth Media Summit; special events and exhibitions; the Sandbox interactive digital playground; school screenings; and the Ajyal Competition, where hundreds of young jurors between the ages of 8 and 21 will watch and discuss shorts and features and decide on the winning films.


Family Weekend

The Ajyal 2015 Family Weekend offers a host of fun and creative activities for the entire family and people of all ages to engage in. From 3 to 5 December, community members are invited to a weekend of fun focusing on environmental and healthy lifestyle activities. The Ajyal Family Weekend also offers a playground of giant games, face-painting stations, 5D Cinema Simulator experience, a TV studio, musical concerts and cultural performances from around the world. Some of the highlights include a performance by the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, featured in the documentary Landfill Harmonic, a jazz rendition by nine-year old Norwegian YouTube sensation and cine-concert of live music by Festival Tout-Petits Cinema to accompany four short animated films.

Highlights at Ajyal Youth Film Festival Family Weekend 

3 December 2015

Show for Visually Impaired

The third Ajyal Youth Film Festival marks the first of its kind inclusive cinema experience in the Gulf region on the occasion of the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Hero and the message_ajyal youth film festival 2015 Katara Qatar At 6 pm at Katara Drama Theatre (K16-DT), the festival will mark the screening of Hero and the Message (Qatar, 2012), directed by Pawel Borrowski, which can be experienced by visually impaired people through sound alone. The film’s audio description transmits not only through dialogue but also the visual elements that cannot be understood through dialogue, music or sound effects.

Deaf and hard of hearing viewers as well as those who have difficulty understanding speech will benefit from subtitles enriched with extra information about sound effects and music. The ‘transadapted’ version has been developed with the support of the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

Hero and the Message has been developed with the support of the Ministry of Youth and Sports through a collaboration between the Doha Film Institute and the Translation and Interpreting Institute at Hamad bin Khalifa University. Students attending the MA programme in Audiovisual Translation have created the audio description and enriched subtitles.

The animated short was produced by Al Rayyan Productions to celebrate Qatar National Day in 2012, and tells the fantastical tale of a Qatari brother and sister, who travel back in time on the prototype of a futuristic train to witness the founding events of the State of Qatar.

Other Screenings on 3 December 2015

  • Academy Award winner Jean-Jacques Annaud’s Wolf Totem (China, France; 2015) at 8 pm at Katara Drama Theatre.
  • Seven international short films, in the festivals’ Bader in-competition section, will be screened at 8.30 pm at Katara 12 – Theatre A. Through 102 minutes, explore compelling short films including: Artificio Conceal (UK, USA; 2014), directed by Ayoub Qanir; Bad Hunter (Belgium; 2014) by Sahim Omar Kalifa; The Beaten Path (India; 2014) by Phurba Tshering Lama; By Mutual Agreement (France; 2014) directed by Remy Cayuela; Footprints (USA; 2014) by Bill Plympton; Light (Canada, Jordan, Lebanon; 2014) by Yassmina Karajah; and Light Sounds (Qatar; 2015) by Karem Kamal.
  • Academy Award-nominated Hany Abou-Assad’s The Idol (Palestine, UK, Qatar, The Netherlands; 2015) about the life of ‘Arab Idol’ champion Mohammed Assaf at 11 pm at Katara Drama Theatre.
  • Director Anna Muylaert’s film, The Second Mother (Brazil; 2015), at 7 pm at Katara Opera House (K16-OH). 
  • An (Japan, France, Germany; 2015) at 9.15 pm at Katara 12 – Theatre B. It is a delicate story of two wounded souls who come together and inspire one another to let go of the past.
  • Tagalog film Scarecrow (The Philippines; 2015) at 10 pm at Katara Opera House.
  • The festival will host the screening of Landfill Harmonic (USA; 2015), directed by Brad Allgood and Graham Townsley at 7.30 pm at Katara SONY Cinema Under the Stars, followed by a concert by members of the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura.  Entry is free to the public.

4 & 5 December 2015

Other activities include nine-year-old Norwegian YouTube sensation Angelina Jordan singing jazz standards on 4 & 5 December, and the Festival Tout-Petits Cinema presenting a cine-concert of live music to accompany four short animated films on 4 December.

Box Office for Third Ajyal Youth Film Festival Now Open

15 November 2015: The box office for the third annual Ajyal Youth Film Festival opens on 16 November with two public locations and online sales available for movie lovers to purchase tickets to screenings, panels, and special events.

Ajyal15_Digital Banner_Marhaba Featured Post_300x250_ENTo accommodate the increase in Festival activity, and to provide easier access to Festival tickets, movie fans and Festival-goers can now purchase tickets from the Ajyal FNAC Ticket Outlet located in Lagoona Mall in addition to the Ajyal Katara Main Box Office located in Katara Building 12.

The Ajyal Katara Main Box Office will be open from 2 pm – 8 pm from 16-27 November, and from 10 am to 10 pm from 28 November to 5 December. The Ajyal FNAC Ticket Outlet will be open from 16 November to 5 December from 2 pm till 9 pm.

Tickets can also be purchased online through the Festival’s website. The website is a valuable source of information for all things Ajyal, including synopses of all the Festival’s offerings, daily schedules, venue information and Festival news.

Tickets are priced at QR 25 for regular screenings, and QR 40 for premium screenings (including the opening and closing night films). Doha Film Institute is pleased to offer QM Culture Pass members a discount of QR 5 on all regularly priced Festival screenings and events when they present their QM Culture Pass at any Festival ticket outlet. Pass holders can purchase up to two discounted tickets per screening.

All Festival screenings and events will take place at Katara, with venues including the Katara Drama Theatre and the Katara Opera House located in Building 16, Katara Building 12 (Theatres A & B) and the SONY Cinema Under the Stars located on the Katara Esplanade.

Ajyal will also offer many free events during the Festival. Free screenings and events presented in Festival venues require a ticket for admission. Free tickets may be reserved online or requested at any ticket outlet location. All events at the SONY Cinema Under the Stars are free to the public, and do not require a ticket for admission.

Special Screenings

BILAL ANIMATION MOVIE AJYAL FILM FESTIVAL QATARThe festival will come to a close with the world premiere of, Bilal (UAE/2015), a new animated feature film made with funding from the Doha Film Institute and produced by Dubai-based Barajoun Studios. Involving creative talents from 22 countries, Bilal by Directors Ayman Jamal and Khurram Alavi is an inspiring adventure story of faith, hope and self-discovery. Combining a wonderful script inspired by the real-life story of Bilal Bin Rabah, the film presents breathtaking animation technology, impeccable research and high production values that will resonate with audiences across generations. The cast and crew of the film will be in attendance for the premiere including the directors of the film and cast members Andre Robinson (Despicable Me 2) and Adewale Akinnuoye Agbaje (Lost, The Bourne Identity, Game of Thrones) who voice the young and adult Bilal respectively.

The Ajyal Family Weekend will feature the regional premiere of The Good Dinosaur (USA/2015), the new film from Pixar Animation Studios and the team behind beloved Pixar classics Finding Nemo and Inside Out. Taking place on Friday 4 December, the film’s first screening in the region will feature a special ‘kids red carpet’ for all families and young people from the community to participate.

Marking the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Ajyal 2015 will present in a regional first, an inclusive cinema experience specially ‘transadapted’ to suit audiences with different abilities, a special screening of Al Rayyan Productions animated short Hero and the Message (Qatar/2012). Guests will be able to view the film through sound alone, with special subtitles for people who have difficulty understanding speech. This inclusive version of the film has been developed with the support of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and is the result of a collaboration between the Doha Film Institute and the Translation and Interpreting Institute at Hamad Bin Khalifa University who are spearheading the development of transadapted content in the Gulf region.

Earlier announced titles within the Special Screenings programme include Nanni Moretti’s Mia Madre (Italy/2015) and Tigers by Danis Tanovic (India, France, UK/2014), screening on the 30th of November and the festival’s opening night gala The Idol by Hany Abu-Assad which will have its regional premiere at Ajyal.

Academy Award nominated director, Hany Abu-Assad and Arab Idol champion Mohammed Assaf, whose life story the film is based on, will attend the opening night in Doha on 29 November and will also participate in a special ‘In Conversation’ session on 30 November. The talented duo will provide an in-depth discussion about bringing Assaf’s life story to the big screen and highlight the power of combining music and cinema and the challenges facing Arab artists today.

Out-Of-Cinema Experience at ‘Creativity Hub’

The ‘Ajyal Creativity Hub’ will offer guests an opportunity to explore an out-of-cinema experience, helping them discover the latest in technology, the media arts and world cultures. Running from 30 November to 5 December, the Ajyal Creativity Hub will host specially curated workshops, performances and fun activities devised to spark the imagination and promote creativity. Key components of the Ajyal Creativity Hub, which is free for the public to attend, include the popular Sandbox digital exhibition space, Family Weekend activities, and the festival’s special 2015 initiative – Geekdom: Video Game Exhibition.

Geekdom: Video Game Exhibition is a special initiative for Ajyal 2015 that celebrates gaming and links video games to cinema with screenings and panels that discuss the impact of visual storytelling in contemporary media. The exhibition features a gaming lounge and a space for Qatari collectors and video-game lovers to share their interest with others. Participants include the Qatar Animation Centre, The Gaming Lounge, AnimeQtr, the Qatar FIFA Players, Khalasta Gaming and the Youth Hobbies Center.

Some of the other fun activities at the exhibition include an Ajyal Superhero Film Hunt, an Ajyal FIFA Tournament, Ajyal Cosplay Competition and a Game Development Workshop and Ajyal Pitchathon amongst others.

From the archives: Ajyal Youth Film Festival to Bring Middle East Premiere of ‘Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet’

The Sandbox, running from 30 November to 5 December, is a unique interactive environment that provides hands-on access to the latest digital gadgets and technologies. A festival favorite of the past two editions, The Sandbox creates an exciting atmosphere for people of all ages featuring futuristic installations, educational games, apps and cool new tools. Some of the fun activities planned at Sandbox this year include creating graffiti with water, music with sticky notes and creating an immersive virtual world for participants. Additionally, to celebrate 120 years of cinema, Sandbox at Ajyal Creativity Hub will allow participants to recreate their favorite movie moments within the interactive playground.

Family Weekend

The Ajyal 2015 Family Weekend offers a host of fun and creative activities for the entire family and people of all ages to engage in. From 3 to 5 December, community members are invited to a weekend of fun focusing on environmental and healthy lifestyle activities. The Ajyal Family Weekend also offers a playground of giant games, face-painting stations, 5D Cinema Simulator experience, a TV studio, musical concerts and cultural performances from around the world. Some of the highlights include a performance by the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, featured in the documentary Landfill Harmonic, a jazz rendition by nine-year old Norwegian YouTube sensation and cine-concert of live music by Festival Tout-Petits Cinema to accompany four short animated films.

Ajyal Youth Film Festival Competition Line-Up

More than 500 young people from the ages of 8 to 21 who make up the Ajyal Competition Jury will watch and analyse a dynamic programme of films under three competitive sections – Mohaq, Hilal, and Bader – followed by discussions and events including panels, workshops and Q&A sessions with filmmakers.

Each of the three Ajyal Juries awards a Best Film prize
to their favourite short and feature-length films, for a total of six awards. The directors of the winning films are awarded funding toward their next film, so jurors are empowered
 to support and promote future content that is relevant
and important to them, in a proactive way.

More than 500 jurors are registered for the programme including 24 international jurors who will travel to Doha for the event from 12 countries including Australia, Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq, Italy, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Serbia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

Ajyal Film Festival Paper PLanes copyMohaq means ‘New Moon’ in Arabic, and these are Ajyal’s youngest jurors, aged 8 to 12. These jurors will watch one programme of short films and four feature-length films, marking the first year that competitive feature films are included in this category. They are: Celestial Camel (Russia) by Yury Feting
 about a young sheepherder living in the desolate Kalmyk Steppe, who sets off on an epic journey after his father is forced to sell the family’s beloved camel calf; The Greatest House in the World (Guatemala, Mexico) by Ana V. Bojórquez and Lucía Carreras – a film about the never-ending circle of life told through the story of a young girl in the isolated highlands of Guatemala; Paper Planes (Australia) by Robert Connolly – a tale of friendship, creativity and the bonds of family which centers around an 11-year-old boy with an exceptional talent for creating paper airplanes; and Phantom Boy by Jean-Loup Felicioli, Alain Gagnol (France, Belgium) a heart-warming animated film about an 11-year-old boy whose illness allows him to have out-of-body experiences and mysterious powers.

Ajyal’s jurors aged 13 to 17 are the Hilal jury – the term means ‘Crescent Moon’ in Arabic. Five feature films and a programme of shorts make up this jury’s film selection. The feature films competing in this section are: Lamb (France, Ethiopia, Germany, Norway, Qatar) by Yared Zeleke, a beautifully crafted portrait of a young Ethiopian boy trying to find his way in the world; Landfill Harmonic (USA) by Brad Allgood and Graham Townsley, a documentary that tracks the astounding rise of a Paraguayan youth orchestra who live next to one of South America’s largest landfills and make their instruments from recycled materials; Mina Walking (Canada, Afghanistan) by Yosef Baraki, a powerful tale of a 12-year-old girl in war-torn Afghanistan struggling to make ends meet for her family; Scarecrow (The Philippines) by Zig Madamba Dulay
which explores the complicated relationship of social injustice and familial expectations through the story of a young mother in a rural town; and Wolf Totem (China, France) by Jean-Jacques Annaud. Set against the backdrop of the Chinese Cultural Revolution 1967, it is the story of a two young Chinese students who are sent on a research assignment with the nomadic herdsmen of Inner Mongolia and become fascinated by the wolves that roam the plains.

Ajyal Film Festival TaxiThe most mature of Ajyal’s juries, Bader (Arabic for ‘Full Moon’) jurors are aged 18 to 21 and will select their favourite films from five features and two programmes of short films. The feature films vying for top honours in this section are: An (Japan, France, Germany) by Naomi Kawase is a graceful drama about a lonely baker whose life is reinvigorated when he hires an elderly woman with a special culinary skill; The Second Mother (Brazil) by Anna Muylaert
which is an exploration of the bond between mothers and their children told through the story of a housekeeper in Sao Paulo; Taxi Tehran (Iran) by Jafar Panahi in which the celebrated Iranian director places himself in the driver’s seat of a cab, taking fares
to their destinations in a wonderful portrait of contemporary Iran; Very Big Shot (Lebanon, Qatar),
a bold and insightful dark comedy by Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya that skewers political corruption and the media circus that goes with it; and Walls (Spain) – a fascinating documentary by Pablo Iraburu and Migueltxo Molina
that follows several subjects on both sides of three contemporary international borders, demonstrating that the people on each side of the barriers are not as different as they may believe.

In addition to the three competitive sections, the Festival’s youngest audiences under the age of 8 years will also vote for their favourite film with the help of
their parents who will determine the Parents’ Choice Award in the Bariq programme. Bariq films are selected to satisfy the excitement and curiosity of young children and are suitable for the whole family. This year’s programme features a delightful collection of eight short films and will also include a special outdoor cine-concert on the Katara esplanade by the Festival Tout-Petits Cinéma from Paris, with four films accompanied by live music by pianist Anthony Boulc’h and saxophonist Fanch Minous.

For more information on the movie timings and the Ajyal Youth Film Festival, visit DFI website.

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