An innovative teaching collaboration between the Interior Design programme of Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) and the Doha Film Institute (DFI) has won a Merit Award for Excellence from the US-based Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) for a project called, ‘Exploring Space through the Lens—Production Design’.

The aim of the collaboration was to provide the interior design students from VCUarts Qatar with hands-on experience of film production and at the same time to support Qatar’s rising film industry.

CIDA is an independent, non-profit, accrediting organisation responsible for setting standards and evaluating degree-granting interior design programmes. There are 190 CIDA-accredited programmes in the US, UAE, Canada, and Qatar.

The teaching collaboration was led by Interior Design programme Associate Professor Johan Granberg; Ben Robinson, Producer / Internship Programme Manager, and Fahad Al Kuwari, Youth Programmes Coordinator from DFI, all of whom were given the Merit Award for their work on the project.

Three Phases

‘Exploring Space through the Lens—Production Design’ was structured in three phases: workshops, production, and post-production.

During the workshops, the students worked to build up an understanding of the inner workings of film making, such as by creating models, storyboards, moodboards, title sequences, and so on. The students then took the knowledge they had acquired in the workshops and began work to turn those ideas into a real movie production called, ‘The Reluctant Warrior’ during the production phase. This part of the project required the use of actors from outside of the university and also the support of an expert film team from DFI.

DFI CEO Fatma Al Remaihi said that the VCUarts Qatar students they worked with are exceptional.

As natural Art Directors, bridging the transition from their interior design training to creating the worlds of film sets has been truly inspiring. Collaborations such as these are essential to DFI’s commitment to support the development of sustainable film and creative industries in Qatar, and to our contribution to a global creative community.’

The collaboration has been a great success because the students were put in a situation where they had to be innovative, and where they had to learn work collaboratively under tight deadlines and regularly under pressure, while dealing with time-consuming demands of  unpredictable situations.

VCUarts Qatar and DFI have already started the second year of the project. Eight new students will get to experience the same complex organisational and design challenges that the previous students went through, to enhance their skills, and contribute to Qatar’s growing film industry and diversifying economy.

For more information about VCUarts Qatar’s Interior Design programme, visit this link.