Doha Film Institute wraps successful fifth edition of Qumra

Screen | 3/21/2019 | Geoffrey Macnab
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The Doha Film Institute wrapped a successful fifth edition of its respected Qumra industry event on Wednesday.

The five-day meeting, running March 15-20, followed its tried and tested formula of pitches, work in progress screenings, mentoring sessions and masterclasses around 36 projects backed by the DFI, in an informal, friendly atmosphere.

Industry - Professionals - Producers - Directors - Festival

Industry professionals – spanning producers, directors, festival programmers and sales agents – heaped praise on the fifth edition as it came to an end with its traditional open-air party in the Qatari desert.

“To my knowledge, it’s the only event like this that happens without a festival. Qumra is really something very unique. It is only professionals who are here,” said Sarim Fassi-Fihri, director of the Moroccan Cinema Centre. “I am by very impressed by how things go here. It is very professional.”

Rasha - Salti - Commissioning - Editor - French-German

Rasha Salti, a commissioning editor at French-German broadcaster ARTE, specialising in experimental documentary, echoed Fassi-Fihri’s remarks. She highlighted Qumra’s “relaxed” schedule, “informality” and “conviviality” as well as the boldness of the programming.

“Qumra is open to artistic expression. Films that follow the classic TV format have more trouble finding a space at Qumra than the crazy films,” Salti said. “There is an awareness among institutions like the DFI and regional funds that there is an explosion of creativity in the Arab world.”

Salti - Marrakech - International - Film - Festival

Salti also programmes for the Marrakech International Film Festival, which regularly screens titles backed by the DFI. Nadine Labaki’s Capernaum and Saeed Al Batal and Ghiath Ayoub’s Syrian war documentary Still Recording were among the recent DFI grantees screening at its rebooted 2018 edition last December.

In her ARTE role, Salti also recently boarded Syrian filmmaker Diana El Jeiroudi’s autobiographical documentary The Republic of Silence, which is now in early post-production and was among the 36 projects presented at Qumra this year.

Producer - Tania - El - Khoury - Qumra

Lebanese producer Tania El Khoury praised Qumra for putting...
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