As part of the Qatar Germany 2017 Year of Culture, the Doha Film Institute (DFI) has launched a series of Practical Labs on various aspects of film production led by expert professionals from Germany. The programme, aimed at building the professional skills of young filmmakers in Qatar, is supported by Qatar Museums, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany and Goethe-Institut Gulf Region in collaboration with Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in Ludwigsburg.

The Practical Labs, held for the first time in Qatar, will commence this September with four dedicated sessions on Lighting, Grip, Cinematography, and Editing. Each session will combine theory, demonstrations, and practical exercises to train participants on the technical aspects of filmmaking.  Open to filmmakers from beginner to intermediate levels, the Practical Labs will build hands-on skills in filmmaking and further strengthen home-grown competencies in film production.

Fatma Al Remaihi, Chief Executive Officer of the Doha Film Institute said that the Practical Labs, which draw on the creative traditions of German cinema, reflect DFI’s commitment to offer holistic training and development initiatives to the country’s talented film aspirants.

They will gain in-depth knowledge of the practical aspects of film production which will inspire them to go beyond conventions and create their own individual craft, and contribute to our nation’s evolving film scene.’

The Practical Labs on Lighting, Grip, and Cinematography will be led by Marcus Zaiser, who has worked on more than 100 productions in various positions. He is an alumnus of Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg and has been working as a cinematographer for movie and television productions.

German documentary filmmaker Thorsten Schütte, who has worked for more than 20 years as a writer, director, and producer, is the Lab Advisor. His thought-provoking and well-reviewed films have been widely shown at international film festivals. Schütte has coordinated documentary and fiction studies at Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg since 2002,

The Practical Lab on Editing will be led by Alex Bushe, a Los Angeles-based editor with extensive experience in both documentary and narrative filmmaking. He has worked on over a dozen films, notably on films with director Werner Herzog. His works include Nick Broomfield’s Tales of the Grim Sleeper and Lynne Ramsay’s recently completed noir thriller You Were Never Really Here.

Art of Lighting with Marcus Zaiser
17-20 September

Participants will get useful insights on working with light in a creative way. They will learn about natural and artificial light sources by analysing paintings and still photographs. They will also get the chance to create numerous light set-ups on their own, and experiment with light parameters. These exercises will teach them the art of creating a light dramaturgy for future projects, an essential part of telling a visual story. The last date for applications is 3 September.

World of Grip with Marcus Zaiser
22-25 September

This practical lab will teach participants how to realise complex camera movements with the help of grip tools like dollies, jibs and car mounts, among other utilities. They will learn how to operate the dolly, build dolly tracks in difficult terrain and other essential grip-mounting techniques. The seminar also focuses on safety and responsibilities of the grip department. The last date for application to the Lab is 7 September.

Cinematography with Marcus Zaiser
27 September – 1 October

Participants will be taught advanced cinematography, all the way from the preparation and planning of a project through shooting and post-production. Participants will learn about visual language and visual storytelling, how to block a scene, how to get from script to film, and how to create a visual concept and cinematic look that corresponds to the story. Sessions will also cover topics on how to move the camera and how to paint with light. Deadline for applications is 13 September.

Editing with Alex Bushe
2-6 October

In this five-day course, students will learn the skills needed to operate in a professional environment as a film editor. Through a combination of lectures, curated film clips and practical exercises, participants will learn to recognise and evaluate the creative considerations behind the editing of both fiction and non-fiction films. They will also be taken through common post-production workflows, from organising raw footage to delivering a finished film. Students are expected to bring a previously edited scene of no longer than 10 minutes, to screen for feedback. The deadline for applications is 18 September. Applicants to this practical lab should also have a basic understanding of Adobe Premiere Pro.

All individuals interested to apply for a slot in any of the labs should submit their CV and a copy of their Qatar ID together with a brief letter of intent (maximum of one page only), show-reel, and samples of previous work (if available). Application should be submitted by email to [email protected].

All sessions will be conducted in English and are scheduled from 2 pm to 8:30 pm. Each lab can accommodate a maximum of 12 participants only. Fee for a single lab is QAR 1,000 and package fee for three labs (lighting, grip and cinematography) is QAR 2,500.

For more information, you can also visit the DFI website at