Celebrities from the Arab world and international cinema graced the opening of Ajyal Film Festival 2018 Wednesday, marking a colourful red carpet gala at Katara – the Cultural Village.
“Ajyal has cemented its reputation in the cultural scene as a force bringing young and established talents together and providing them an inspiring platform to present their films and ideas to the public,” Doha Film Institute (DFI) CEO and festival director Fatma Hassan al-Remaihi said.
Ajyal, the annual cinema event by DFI, was also attended by high ranking officials, including DFI board members HE Sheikh Thani bin Hamad al-Thani and Issa bin Mohamed al-Mohannadi and distinguished guests from the region.
Reviving the true spirit of cinema and lending voice to emerging filmmakers from Qatar and around the world, the sixth edition of Ajyal will run until December 3, with an assortment of activities including film screenings, the insightful Ajyal Talks, and family-oriented activities at the Ajyal Creativity Hub.
For the first time, the film screenings will also be held at Novo Cinemas, The Pearl-Qatar, bringing meaningful cinema closer to the audiences.
Thanking the leadership of Qatar and all government and private sector entities that inspire and contribute to the success of the festival, al-Remaihi said.
“Ajyal Film Festival’s spirit is underlined by its new theme, ‘A Voice for Generations’ and it serves as a space for highlighting the power and responsibility that comes with having a voice and reflects the vision of Qatar’s leadership – and that of DFI – to celebrate the values of openness, mutual dialogue, respect for others and diversity” she added.
Guests from Qatar who walked the red carpet include: Ali Abdulsatar, Faleh Fayaz, Saad Burshaid, Ahmad al-Maadeed, among others.
Guests from the region and international cinema included renowned Canadian actress Evangeline Lilly, Engin Altan Duzyatan, Bulent Inal, Shuaib Rashed, Saleh Zaal, Mohamed al-Hamli, and Muna Shaddad, among others.
In line with its overarching theme, the Ajyal 2018 opened with Freedom Fields (Libya, UK, Netherlands, US, Qatar, Lebanon, Canada/2018), a compelling story about three brave women and their efforts to build a football team in post-revolution Libya, even as the country descends into civil war. Directed by Naziha Arebi, the DFI-supported film was nominated for the Best Documentary Award at the Stockholm Film Festival 2018.
The programme also includes a special ‘Made in Russia’ segment to mark the 2018 Qatar – Russia Year of Culture.
Keenly awaited is the ‘Made in Qatar’ presented by Ooredoo programme that celebrates the talents of Qatari and Qatar-based filmmakers, which underlines homegrown talent and the robust state of filmmaking in the country.
The Jury Competition line-up at Ajyal 2018 will consist of 13 feature films. This year, there are 550 jurors from 55 nationalities including 25 international jurors who will travel to Doha for the event from places such as Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
“Ajyal revives the fundamental spirit of cinema, by connecting people to our shared roots through stories that resonate with our aspirations and hopes,” al-Remaihi said. “In today’s fast-paced tech era, it is important that we find a true balance between the sublime message of art and the use of technology.”
“Ajyal serves the purpose of bridging this important gap in today’s cultural scene,” she pointed out.
Festival’s official partners include Katara – the Cultural Village (cultural partner), Ooredoo (principal partner), Novo Cinemas (strategic partner) and St Regis Doha (signature sponsor).
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