On November 18th, 2019, the seventh annual Ajyal Film Festival kicked off. The festival, presented by the Doha Film Institute, will conclude on November 24th, 2019.
The theme for this year’s Ajyal Film Festival is “Find Film, Find Life”. The festival will screen approximately 96 films from 39 different countries. Feature-length films and short films will compete for three Ajyal Juries awards for each category. A total of six awards will be handed to those involved in the production of the films and shorts. The event will also play host to interactive and community-oriented activities that foster cinematic and creative dialogue.
Most notably, out of the approximately 96 films submitted, 50 were from the Arab world and 56 of the competing filmmakers are women.
The opening of the Ajyal Film Festival commenced with Elia Suleiman’s film, “It Must Be Heaven”. The film narrates Suleiman’s experiences of leaving his homeland of Palestine in order to find a new one. Additionally, the festival hosted several high profile players from both the international and regional entertainment scene. Participating during the opening of the festival, American actor Chace Crawford, stated,
“It is my first time in Qatar. It is amazing to get the young generations into the film making to get to see the cinema, to see short films, independent films. It is nice to keep the independent spirit alive. [I’ve] never seen such a festival with children juries and I think [the] Ajyal Festival is amazing,”
Lastly, the film festival will also pay note and celebrate the Qatar-India Year of Culture 2019. In light of the year, the festival will dedicate a “Made in India” section displaying a series of short films presented by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Images.
Growing Film Education and Culture Together: Doha Film Institute Partners with The Qatar-America Institute