Sandy Powell and Bennett Miller join the 2018 Qumra Masters lineup

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Sandy Powell, Order of the British Empire (OBE), Oscar® winning British costume designer (The Young Victoria, The Aviator, Shakespeare in Love), and Oscar® nominated director, Bennett Miller (Capote, Moneyball, Foxcatcher) have been confirmed as Masters in the fourth edition of the Doha Film Institute’s Qumra, to be held March 9 to 14, 2018. 

 

They join Venice Golden Lion winning Russian director and writer Andrey Zvyagintsev, Cannes Palme d’Or winning Thai filmmaker and visual artist Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and the only documentary director to win the Berlinale Golden Bear Italian director Gianfranco Rosi for the 2018 edition of the one-of-its-kind dedicated industry forum that focuses on first and second time filmmakers.

The Qumra Masters will share their insights with emerging filmmakers, provide feedback on projects in consultation sessions, and discuss their own inspiring creative journeys in daily Masterclasses. 

Qumra 2018 will provide 34 projects from 25 countries access to Masterclasses and networking opportunities for first and second-time filmmakers, driving Qumra’s mission to expand support for the development of emerging filmmakers from Qatar, the Arab region and around the world.  

Announcing the line-up of Qumra Masters at Berlinale, Fatma Al Remaihi, Chief Executive Officer of the Doha Film Institute, said: “We are honoured to be hosting five of the most celebrated contributors to contemporary world cinema. All creative visionaries in film, their presence in Doha and interaction with Qumra delegates will incredibly benefit emerging filmmakers, and inspire them to take their works to the next level. With the masterful crafts of Sandy Powell (OBE) and Bennett Miller, the Qumra Masters will push the conversation and learning in exciting new directions this year.” 

Filmmaker and Doha Film Institute Artistic Advisor Elia Suleiman said: “Sandy Powell’s adeptness at transporting audiences into directors’ environments makes her a modern legend in design, while Bennett Miller possesses a powerful ability to dissect social constructs by skillfully tapping into the psyche of his protagonists. Their contribution to film is evident in their long list of critical and awards acclaim, and we look forward to the depth of understanding and possibilities that their participation will bring to Qumra delegates.” 

34 projects from 25 countries 

This year, over six days, the Qumra delegates will take part in bespoke industry sessions designed to progress their projects and prepare them for international markets, in addition to the Masterclasses and mentoring sessions by the Qumra Masters. 

There are 14 Qumra projects by Qatar-based talent, including 9 films by Qatari nationals. While 6 Qatar-based projects are works-in-progress, the others are in development stage. In all, 16 projects are in development, 13 projects are works-in-progres, and 5 are in picture lock. There are 13 fictions and 10 documentary features and 11 shorts. Of the 34 projects, 23 are recipients of the Doha Film Institute’s Grants programme, 2 are supported through the Qatari Film Fund and all others are shorts by either Qatari nationals or residents.  

Directors and producers of these projects will attend the sessions in Doha where they will meet over 100 industry experts.  The activities are specifically tailored to each project’s needs, according to their stage of development. Projects in development will take part in group and individual sessions in script consulting, legal, sales, marketing and co-production advice, along with individual matchmaking and tutorials. Projects in post-production are presented in a series of closed rough-cut screenings for leading festival programmers, broadcasters, market representatives, sales agents and distributors.  

2018 Qumra Projects: 

Feature Narratives: Development

The Voice of Amirah (working title/Qatar), by Khalifa Al-Thani, is about an adolescent girl in the 1970’s, whose life takes a wonderful turn when she stands up for what she believes in. 

Khuzama (Qatar), directed by AJ Al-Thani, is about a Bedouin girl who dreams of exploring the desert until she discovers that the desert is not what she imagined it to be.

Behind Closed Doors (Qatar) by Hend Fakhroo tell the story of six-year-old Leila, who wakes up one day and finds her mother gone with only her father to take care of her. 

A Gaza Weekend (Palestine, UK, Qatar) by Basil Khalil. When a viral epidemic consumes Israel, Gaza becomes the safest place in the region.

Dead Dog (working title/Lebanon, Qatar) by Sarah Francis. When Farid, a 60-year-old man living abroad, visits his wife, he learns that his beloved dog has died. Tensions arise and Farid confesses he is returning home for good.

Noura Dreams (Tunisia, France, Qatar) by Hinde Boujemaa, about Noura who struggles to raise her three children alone while her husband is in jail, until she meets Lassaad. Their plans to be together are however jeopardized by the impending release of her husband, and the two decide to flee.

The Unknown Saint (Morocco, France, Qatar) by Alaa Eddine Aljem. After years in captivity, a thief returns to retrieve the money he stole and discovers a mausoleum unexpectedly built on the site where he stashed the money.

Feature Narrative: Work in Progress 

1982 (Lebanon, USA, Qatar) by Oualid Mouaness, is about 11-year-old Wissam, who decides to tell a classmate that he loves her. But his will is challenged, his courage falters and an impending war threatens to separate them permanently.

Sofia (Morocco, France, Qatar) by Meryem Benm'Barek. At 22, Sofia is the only daughter in a rather traditional family. While having dinner with her family, she discovers she is about to give birth.

A Kasha (Sudan, South Africa, Qatar) by hajooj kuka, an offbeat love story set in the time of civil war. Through a series of wry and humorous incidents over 24 hours, it explores life and love in rebel-held areas of Sudan.

Feature Narrative: Picture Lock 

Late to Die Young (Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Netherlands, Qatar) by Dominga Sotomayor, which is set in an isolated community, where Sofía, Clara and Lucas prepare for New Year's Eve. They may live far from the dangers of the city, but not those of nature.

The Load (Serbia, France, Croatia, Iran, Qatar) by Ognjen Glavonić, set during the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999. Vlada is driving a truck. He does not know what the load is, but his cargo slowly becomes his burden.

Weldi (Tunisia, France, Belgium, Qatar) by Mohamed Ben Attia, in which a father is confronted by his own reality and has to question himself and his choices.

Feature Documentary: Development 

NAZ (working title/Palestine, UK, Qatar) by Omar El-Khairy and Ana Naomi de Sousa, explores the historical and cultural formations of the British Yemeni boxer Prince Naseem Hamed. It is a film that not only celebrates a forgotten era, but also sheds light on where we are now.

Displaced in Heaven (Palestine, Germany, Qatar) by Khaled Jarrar, which follows a family through the Balkan route, with the Palestinian director plunging into the horror of exile in a desperate need to recover his lost memories.

Suspended Wives (Morocco, Qatar) by Merieme Addou, which follows three women, who were abandoned by their husbands, and their lengthy battle to obtain divorces.

The Fifth Resurrection of Farid (Egypt, Qatar) by Khalid Youssef, a feature essay that explores how in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, a new life was awarded to Olympic champion, pilot, Hollywood actor, war hero, and all around professional Farid Semeka.

Feature Documentary: Work in Progress 

Batata (Lebanon, Canada, Qatar) by Noura Kevorkian, was filmed over an unparalleled eight-year period, documenting the life of charismatic Syrian migrant worker Maria. An intimate story of love, friendship and perseverance set to the back-drop of an age-old conflict between Syria and Lebanon.

Chaos (Syria, Austria, Lebanon, Qatar) by Sara Fattahi, is about three Syrian women, each living in a different time and place, separated by the very things that unite them – fear and trauma.

Underdown (Lebanon, Germany, Qatar) by Sarah Kaskas, a pulsating journey of three unbreakable characters struggling to live below the poverty line in the chaos of Beirut.

Tiny Souls (Jordan, France, Lebanon, Qatar) by Dina Naser, portrays the changes in Marwa’s life, as she goes from childhood to adolescence within the walls of the Al Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan, reflecting its effect on her reality and future.

Feature Documentary: Picture Lock 

Constructions (Argentina, Qatar) by Fernando Martin Restelli, about a 60-year-old watchman of buildings under construction, who has a second chance in life to become a father.

Nine Months War (Hungary, Qatar) by László Csuja, in which Jani has left his family to serve in the Ukrainian Army. His mother wants her son back and Jani just wants independence. 

Qumra Shorts

Sh'hab (Qatar) by Amal Al-Muftah, upon hearing a myth about falling stars, a young girl’s curiosity is sparked. When night falls on Al Wakrah village, she sets out in her father’s boat to chase the fabled comets. 

Chained Prey (Qatar) by Mohammed Refaat, is about a domestic falcon who lives a life of prestige at his falconer’s house in Doha faces the threat of losing his secure lifestyle forever. 

Bandits (Qatar) by Sara Al Obaidly. Two young rebels leave behind their London lives for dream of the Middle East, but when reality sets in they realize have taken on more than they bargained for.

Burn the Bird (Qatar) by Zahed Bata, is about Samaa and her son Sari who drive out in the dead of night to bury Naghnoush, their pet parrot.  Ultimately, they realise the only way to set him free is to set him on fire. 

Gubgub (Qatar) by Noof Al-Sulaiti. An adventurous young girl goes crab-hunting with her father and brother. Discouraged when her father undervalues her accomplishments compared to her brother’s, she sets out to win her father’s approval.

In Connect (Qatar) by Maha Al-Jefairi, a young mother dies and is brought back to life in a robotic body – and must confront her new reality, in which her six-year-old son is afraid of her. 

Al Sit (Qatar) by Susannah Mirghani, in a Sudanese farming village, old Al Sit must be consulted for her blessings ahead of any wedding. But in a modernising world, does the matriarch’s word hold any power?.

Pastimes (Qatar) by Majid Al-Rumaihi, interrogates the repetition of traditional scenery in painting practice in Doha, and the factors that sustain as well as complicate it.

Hatshepsut in the Box (Qatar) by Hadeer Omar, is set in a world where people wear transparent boxes on their heads to reveal their identities, 14-year-old Leila goes rogue and divides the materials in her box to become like a new Pharaoh Hatshepsut.

Amphitheatre (Qatar) by Mahdi Ali Ali. A young girl rebels against her family’s traditions in front of a professional photographer’s lens.

Okht Rjal (Qatar) by Obada Jarbi, three women become the breadwinners for their families, necessary for survival.

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