Wadad Hachichou-Doha Qatar
In an exclusive press briefing for the first-ever hybrid edition of the 8th Ajyal Film Festival, Fatma Hassan Alremaihi, Festival Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Doha Film Institute (DFI) discussed the Festival as an important arts and culture incubator.
“Continuing on the path of the Institute’s mission and our commitment to the community, I am very proud that we remained resilient in the face of the challenges of this year to preserve and deliver the beloved experience of Ajyal in new ways, both physically and virtually.”
“Our concern for the health and safety of all participants guided our decisions in delivering the programme in a safe and meaningful way,” said Alremaihi. “Ultimately, it expanded our own creativity in offering exciting new elements such as the Drive-In Cinema in Lusail, which was met with an incredibly positive response. We also learned how taking certain elements of the programme online extends the spirit of Ajyal to an even greater number of international participants and helps give us a more complete view of the world.”
She added: “The success of Ajyal is measured by its role in incubating arts and culture across backgrounds, interests and disciplines. Qatar’s largest pop-culture event, Geekdom, grew out humble beginnings as a small programme of anime films at Ajyal. Our multidisciplinary art exhibition has reached international recognition, and in only its second year, Ajyal Tunes has quickly become an event in Qatar not to be missed.”
“Ajyal helps us understand film in a multidimensional way, and I am proud that in only ten years, we have shifted our community’s perception of film from a medium of entertainment to a tool for youth development and cultural education.”
Referencing the Ajyal 2020 virtual jurors experience, Alremaihi added: “I witnessed the spirit of Ajyal in many magical moments with the jurors in their online interactions and Q&As with our international guests this year, and they reaffirm just how amazing our young community of future leaders is.”
Alremaihi also commented on the influence of Ajyal Film Festival in the development of gender parity in the film industry in the Arab world.
“As an Institute, we choose films based on the merit of the story, not who is behind the camera. In Qatar, about 60 percent of filmmakers are women, but this happens to be more about the authenticity and originality of the work itself and less about the gender of the person behind the camera. The fact that this automatically creates an inclusive environment is something we are very proud of and hope it demonstrates the inspiration that can be discovered within openly inclusive practices.”