Photo of Film Preview of If They Only Knew FilmIn 2014, Qatar residents were burying many young men and women due to accidents occurring from excessive speed on the country’s roads.

When it hit close to home, 17-year-old Qatari Sana Al Ansari decided enough was enough. She thought long and hard about how to stop or decrease these deaths. Sana said:

It’s not fair for everyone. It affects the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends and acquaintances of the accident victims.’

Sana, who is a student at Raba’a Secondary Girls Independent School, decided to make a short film about this problem — but from a different angle. There were hundreds of films where ‘boy drives car, boy speeds, boy dies.’ She wanted to make a film from the viewpoint of how that accident affects the ones left behind — the other people who survive the car accident: the mother, father, sisters, brothers, friends and the community as a whole.

Sana recently finished her film, titled ‘If They Only Knew,’ which was entered the Northwestern University in Qatar’s (NU-Q) film festival, Thimun Festival, which will be held from 2 to 4 April 2015. She has been nominated for three awards — Best National Film, Best Editing and Best Sound.

Doha Film Institute (DFI) worked diligently step-by-step with Sana to help develop the script, shoot the film and edit it. They also encouraged her to enter her film in youth film festivals. Thanking them, Sana said:

Any Qatari youth interested in film should contact Doha Film Institute and they will help them develop and film their ideas. They are a great group of people to work with and I couldn’t have done it without them.’

Sana was invited to debut her film at Reach Out to Asia’s (ROTA) EMPOWER Conference held from 12 to 14 March 2015. She appreciated ROTA’s encouragement; over 500 youth attending the conference saw the film. She said:

Seeing the film encourages the youth to slow down on the roads and make it back home to their families safely.’

Sana Al Ansari Photo
Sana Al Ansari

Sana will attend a workshop in Washington, DC, in early April at the National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) Conference, as part of Qatar Foundation International’s (QFI) programme to encourage youth to ‘change the world.’ She will screen her film there and explain how she came up with the idea while encouraging other youth to develop their ideas to better their community.

Sana had the idea for the film, but QFI and NYLC helped her develop her idea and encouraged her to make the film. She is excited to be showing it to youth from all over the world in Washington, DC. She said:

This will spread my message in the film internationally, not only for Qatar youth. It’s an important message that needs to be spread around the world.’

She hopes to enter her film in the Giffoni Film Festival in Giffoni, Italy, this summer, and in the Ajyal Film Festival here in Doha this fall.

Sana is pleased that with the help and support of her family and friends, she has completed her first film. She hopes to show this film to local boy’s high schools to encourage youth to think before stepping behind the steering wheels of their cars.

For those interested in seeing ‘If They Only Knew,’ contact Sana Al-Ansari through Doha Film Institute, at 4420 0505 or through the DFI website, to arrange for a screening.