The first-ever hybrid edition of the 8th Ajyal Film Festival, presented by the Doha Film Institute (DFI) opened this week with a glamorous red carpet event at Katara Cultural Village.

In line with government guidelines and with the health of all Ajyal participants as top priority, the six-day film festival will be delivered with a mix of virtual and in-person events.

HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani
HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani

On occasion of the festival opening, DFI Chairperson HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani addressed the youth, emphasising the unique opportunity offered by Ajyal.

Ajyal 2020 offers a unique opportunity for you to connect with peers around the world who share your passion for learning and discovery through cinema.

Our culture’s rich history of literature, art, music and performances serves to preserve our past and our unique identity and perspective as Arabs and as modern-day storytellers.

Now it’s your turn to shine, as creative role models for the generations of the future.

According to DFI CEO and Festival Director Fatma Hassan Alremaihi, in previous years, the size of their audiences were limited to the number of seats available. She said that Ajyal 2020’s new hybrid format breaks these limitations and enables audiences from around the globe to join in cinematic celebration of culture and creative expression from wherever they are.

I want to thank all our local and international participants for their support and trust in the unwavering spirit of Ajyal. This year’s festival theme ‘The Show Goes On’ aptly reflects the essence of that spirit – one of vibrant creativity, community and resilience.

DFI CEO Fatma Hassan Alremaihi
DFI CEO Fatma Hassan Alremaihi

She said that they are very proud to embrace youth from all backgrounds and cultures as they explore individual freedom of thought, imagination and expression in the environment of intercultural understanding and respect of Ajyal.

Delivering important messages of humanity, the festival opened with Sun Children (Iran/2020) by Iranian director Majid Majidi, which made its debut at the 77th Venice International Film Festival earlier this year. The film highlights the resilience and creativity of youth, which when nurtured brings lasting social change and inspires great innovators and problem-solvers of tomorrow.

The festival will showcase a diverse programme of 22 features and 58 shorts, including 31 from the Arab world and 30 by women directors. Bringing together award-winning filmmakers from across the globe, Ajyal Film Festival continues to amplify powerful voices and rouse all generations through cinema.

Expanding audience access across the region via an online streaming platform and exciting new Drive-In cinema in Lusail, Ajyal 2020 brings back the highly-anticipated Made in Qatar programme presented by Ooredoo, to celebrate emerging film talents who call Qatar home.

For up-to-date information and ticket reservation, visit dohafilminstitute.com