A diverse slate of 14 films supported by the Doha Film Institute will be screened at the 22nd Sarajevo Film Festival to be held from 12–20 August underlining the strong relations shared by the two entities, providing another compelling platform for emerging filmmakers to highlight their talent.
Fatma Al Remaihi, Chief Executive Officer of the Doha Film Institute, said:
We share strong synergies with the Sarajevo Film Festival, a prestigious event that showcases the newest trends in filmmaking. The industry partnership between Sarajevo Film Festival and our own initiative, Qumra, has created a strong sounding board that supports emerging talent from Qatar and beyond and fosters cultural exchange. We are confident of the positive reception to these films, which present diverse themes and distinctive narrative structures that will resonate with audiences across the world.’
Among the highlights of the Doha Film Institute showcase is the screening of two films in the exclusive ‘Sarajevo Film Festival Partner Presents’ category. These include Hedi (Tunisia, Belgium, France, Qatar/2016), the recipient of the Institute’s Fall Grant 2013, directed and written by debutant Mohamed Ben Attia.
A romantic comedy about Hedi, a simple young man, who takes life as it comes, the film charts his relationship with an activity leader during the week of his wedding celebrations. Highly acclaimed at Berlinale 2016, where it was the first Arab film in competition in two decades, the film won the Best First Feature Award and the Silver Bear for Best Actor.
Also to be screened in the same category is the feature documentary We Have Never Been Kids (Egypt, UAE, Qatar/2015), directed by Mahmood Soliman, and the recipient of the Spring Grant 2014. The film tracks the subjects of Soliman’s 2003 documentary Living Among Us, over the next 10 years reflecting the socio-political changes in Egypt.
Dogs (Romania, France, Bulgaria, Qatar/2016), a recipient of the Institute’s 2016 Spring Grant, is screening at Sarajevo Film Festival in the Feature Film competition for its regional premiere. Directed by Bogdan Mirica, the film had earlier been screened in the Un Certain Regard at Cannes Film Festival, and narrates the story of a man who wants to sell the land he has just inherited near the Romanian border with Ukraine.
Under the Shadow (Iran, UK, Jordan, Qatar/2016), directed by Babak Anvari, is the recipient of the Doha Film Institute’s Spring Grant 2015. Screening in the Kinoscope segment, the film is set in Tehran 1988, and revolves on the life of Shideh who lives amid the chaos of a war. Accused of subversion she is blacklisted from medical college and is in a state of malaise. Her husband is at war and she must also take care of their daughter. The film takes a turn when Shideh, convinced that supernatural forces are trying to possess her daughter, finds no choice but to confront them.
In the ‘In Focus’ segment, another Spring Grant 2014 recipient is being screened: Frenzy (Turkey, France, Qatar/2015) is directed by Emin Alper and narrates the story of Kadir, who is released after a 15-year prison term, and goes in search of his younger brother Ahmet. Kadir takes up job as an informant in Istanbul and when Ahmet shuts himself up in his house to care for a wounded dog, he thinks he is being threatened by militants.
In the CineLink Co-Production Market, One of These Days (Lebanon, Qatar/2017), the recipient of the Doha Film Institute’s 2012 Spring Grant, currently in post-production is being showcased. Directed by Nadim Tabet, the film is set in Beirut on an autumn day in a city on the edge of chaos. Four youngsters question themselves about coming of age concerns.
A number of films that are ‘Made in Qatar’ by Qatari filmmakers and those who call the country home will also be screened. These include: The Palm Tree by Jasim al Remaihi; Asfoora by Mayar Hamdan; Good as New by Jasser Alagha; Yellow Nights by Abdullah Al Mulla; The Notebook by Amna Al-Binali; Light Sounds by Karem Kamel; Veganize It by Khalid Salim; and To My Mother by Amina Ahmed Al Bloshi.
Doha Film Institute has formed a strategic alliance with Sarajevo Film Festival to strengthen connections between Arab and European cinema. Over the past years, the Institute has curated films for SFF, while Danis Tanović, the celebrated Bosnian filmmaker, has served as a Qumra Mentor. Delegates of Sarajevo Film Festival have taken part in mentoring sessions with Qatari filmmakers and participate in both Qumra and Ajyal Youth Film Festival.
The Sarajevo Film Festival has a special focus on the region of South-East Europe. The festival is marked by high-quality programmes, a strong industry segment, an educational platform for young filmmakers and the participation of leading industry experts. Sarajevo Film Festival serves as a common platform for film businesses from all over the region, setting the future standards in festival organisation, film promotion and presentation in South-East Europe.
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