The Doha Film Institute (DFI) has announced that it will host a creative writing workshop in Arabic, the ‘Screenwriting for Beginners Lab’, from August 24-28.
The five-day lab led by Qatari writer and art director Fahad Ahmed al-Kuwari aims to introduce aspiring filmmakers to the creative process of writing for the screen and will focus on developing dialogue and storytelling techniques in the Arabic language, DFI has said in a statement.
An English version of the lab will be offered to non-Arabic speakers from August 3-7.
The aim is for participants to come out of the lab with a minimum of one scene of their screenplay.
They can continue to work with DFI’s development team after the lab and work towards applying for other labs or grants.
The deadline for applications to the lab is July 20.
Between eight and 12 participants will be selected for each lab, which will cost QR500 per person, DFI has said.
To apply, one has to submit applications to [email protected], while more information is available online at www.dohafilminstitute.com.
Al-Kuwari will mentor participants through a mixture of lectures, assignments and group discussions.
The English session of the lab will be hosted by Palestinian screenwriter Dana J Atrach, assistant professor in Residence at Northwestern University in Qatar, where she teaches screenwriting.
The lab will complement the existing screenwriting programmes offered by the Institute, Hezayah for development of feature screenplays and the Short Scriptwriting Lab, and will be an entry point to guide budding creatives into the basic principles of storytelling, the statement notes.
Fatma Hassan Alremaihi, chief executive officer of DFI, said: “Screenplay story structure is probably the most important component in the creation of original and compelling content. Our screenwriting lab for beginners will help participants learn how to tell a story, develop a story concept and write a screenplay, especially in the Arabic language.
“We are excited that a local filmmaker like Fahad is leading the workshop and will bring in his filmmaking experience in Qatar to mentor the next generation of aspiring writers. This will be a first step for our young emerging talent to learn the skills of developing a good story and creating content that will engage with the audiences.”
Al-Kuwari is an award-winning writer and art director who began his career in filmmaking on the sets of Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist.
As an art director with DFI, he worked on several Qatari Film Fund short films, including Aljohara, Our Time is Running Out and A Journey to from Love.
He also wrote and directed Ruqya and wrote the screenplay for I.
Al-Kuwari is the joint recipient of a Merit Award from The CIDA Awards for Excellence for developing a production design curriculum for Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar, where he is a guest lecturer.
The ‘Screenwriting for Beginners Lab’ will cover all aspects of writing and be divided into two parts.
The first part is focused on the architecture of screenplays and covers the foundations of storytelling, screenwriting guidelines, non-verbal storytelling and characterisation.
The second part is focused on formatting scripts, looking at visual grammar and the use of software programmes like Celtx and Final Draft.
The lab will follow the same format in both English and Arabic.
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