9th Ajyal Film Festival opens with an action-packed red carpet ceremony

9th Ajyal Film Festival opens with an action-packed red carpet ceremony By Darlene Regis - November 08, 2021
9th Ajyal Film Festival opens with an action-packed red carpet ceremony

Distinguished guests, filmmakers and VIPs during the 9th Ajyal Film Festival grand opening

After the resounding success of the Ajyal Film Festival’s hybrid edition last year, the ninth edition of the annual event by the Doha Film Institute (DFI) marked an action-packed opening at Katara Cultural Village yesterday.

Distinguished guests walked the red carpet during the festival's grand opening  to welcome the community for a week-long calendar of exciting cinematic, music, art and other cultural experiences starting November 7 to 19, 2021.

Following COVID-19 safety protocols, the festival is once again being held in hybrid format, with a selection of in-person events and online activations.

One of the region’s most anticipated film festivals celebrating creative interaction and promoting cultural understanding through cinema, Ajyal Film Festival 2021 returns to showcase compelling films from across the world.

Until November 13, Qatar residents and visitors have much to look forward to at the 9th Ajyal, including screening of 85 films from 44 countries and 31 feature films and 54 shorts from emerging and accomplished talent.

Read also: All You Need to Know About Ajyal Film Festival 2021

DFI’s annual signature event is an immersive celebration of community and the permeating power of film for audiences across generations, with a unique focus on young talent development through its internationally acclaimed youth jury programme for ages 8 to 25.

The Ajyal Creativity Hub remains a Festival favourite with an array of cultural talks, music performances and the ever-popular Geekdom and Ajyal Art Exhibition to assure memorable moments for all. 

Celebrating this year’s theme, ‘Press Play!’, Ajyal continues to offer its programme in its innovative hybrid format to ensure not only the safety of visitors but also to expand the festival’s reach to global audiences. 

Fatma Hassan Alremaihi, Festival Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Doha Film Institute, said: “In the past two eventful years of uncertainty when the world was brought to a standstill, we at the Institute pressed forward and led our creative community to defeat the challenges we faced and keep the momentum of our growth and successes uninterrupted, by launching one of the first innovative hybrid format cultural celebrations in the world. We also integrated our new approach to our year-round programmes and activities to identify new talent, amplify new voices and bring together the film industry with renewed purpose to celebrate talent and independent voices to tell the stories of our humanity.

“However, our work has never been solely about Qatar. Our dream has always been to build bridges to form a creative community in the region, and in fact a global one, where all voices are heard and all perspectives respected and valued. We have seen how Qatar’s creative industry has been transformed to break down barriers of geography and boundaries to strengthen our collective voice. United, we continue to reinvigorate our creative spirit to create connection and shine brighter than ever.”

She earlied said that the: “The ninth edition of the festival reinforces its founding philosophy: to celebrate the finest of cinema from around the world while nurturing the appreciation and engagement of youth in creative and critical thinking. Ajyal continued to set a new standard in promoting cinema, despite the challenges following the pandemic, and we will build on our positive momentum by delivering a community-oriented festival that will inspire all.

Special guests who walked the red carpet included Amir Jadidi, Fereshteh Sadre Orafaiy, Hamid Ghorbani of A Hero; accomplished photographer Brigitte Lacombe, and diplomats including the Ambassador of Spain, Bélen Alfaro; Ambassador of Palestine, Moneer Abdulla Ali Ghannam; and Ambassador of France, Jean-Baptiste Faivre. 

Other special guests included Minister of State, H E Dr. Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kuwari; Issa Al Mohannadi; H E Sheikh Thani bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani; Ahmad Al Namla; Yasmine Hamdan; Elia Suleiman Saad Burshiad; Mahdi Ali Ali and Hafiz Ali Ali and others.

Resonating with audiences globally, the festival opened with A Hero (Ghahreman) [Iran/France/2021], directed by Academy Award winning filmmaker and DFI collaborator and Qumra Master Asghar Farhadi. The winner of the Grand Prix at Cannes Film Festival this year, it is a riveting tale of morality in the age of social media. 

This year’s highlights include the Made in Qatar programme presented by Ooredoo, which features 10 films that represent the evolution of Qatar’s homegrown talent and storytellers. Another festival favourite is DFI’s Drive-In cinema at Lusail in partnership with QNTC returns with a diverse line-up of family-friendly titles and midnight horror screenings.

The Ajyal Creativity Hub Sikkat Wadi Msheireb will host the Ajyal Art Exhibition themed, ‘We Will Not Leave’, which presents the works of 27 artists who express the harsh realities of the Palestinians in solidarity with them.

“Ajyal’s focus on nurturing young talent and cinematic voices from around the world fuels our belief that in these unprecedented times, the impact of film and art moves beyond boundaries and limitations, and its innate power to connect and inspire is now more important than ever. Taking into consideration that travel restrictions are still in place in many countries, we will continue to maximise the reach of the hybrid model and ensure that all safety protocols are met,” Alremaihi disclosed.

Source: Doha Film Institute

By Darlene Regis - November 08, 2021

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