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450 to 500 jurors to take part in Ajyal Film Festival

  • Oct 20, 2020
  • Author: QT-Online
  • Number of views: 53580
  • Cinema/Showbiz
Catherine W Gichuki
Doha
Between 450 and 500 jurors are expected to join the jury programme at the eighth edition of the Ajyal Film Festival to be held from November 18 to 23, organised by Doha Film Institute (DFI).
The jury programme featuring curated workshops, daily film screenings, jury discussions, and opportunities to interact with global film talent to inspire creative interaction and stimulate cinematic dialogue is scheduled from November 11 to 23.
The Ajyal juries feature three age groups including Mohaq who are aged between 8 and 12, Hilal (13 to 17 years) and Bader (18 to 25).
Speaking at a virtual press conference CEO of Doha Film Institute Fatma Al Remaihi urged not be anxious participate in the festival and she said that because of the current COVID-19 situation, the festival has two tiers. “The first tier is for anyone who registers in the festival as a juror and have everything available to them online including watching the films, Q&A sessions and they can have an opportunity to speak with the other jurors in their group (virtual jurors hub) where they will all meet together and meet their mentors. We have announcements in this virtual hub and also Ajyal Talks online and others.”
She added that for the second tier, there will be physical things available to the jurors, for instance for the bader (aged between 18 and 25), their films are available to be watched in the cinema at Katara. According to her, all the COVID-19 measures will be in place including checking Eheteraz, temperature as well as observing social distance. “We are working very closely with the Ministry of Public Health and all the government entities in charge to make sure that we deliver a safe festival. The Bader has a choice to come to Katara in small groups to watch their films.”
Al Remaihi added that for those who are under 18 years old have an opportunity to go to Katara to watch one film screening during the period of the festival. They will watch other films online.
According to her the jurors have been divided into groups and each group can go to Katara to watch one film screening at Katara throughout the festival.  “From before the festival, the jurors wanted on-ground activities instead of having all activities online. Therefore we are giving them a chance and we have the approvals from the MoPH to do that and though they cannot go to the actual cinemas, they can come to Ajyal and watch a film together.”
She added that the fee for the jury programme has been reduced and the full programme will be delivered like every year and the jurors will still get their badges and juror bags. “They will also get a programme of films, Q&A with guests from Qatar and around the world. There will be a full-fledged programme delivered to them.”
Urging parents to register their children for the programme, Al Remaihi said, “We are taking the same approach like the one for blended learning where we have everything available online available for anyone who cannot come but there are opportunities for people to come and enjoy the festival on the ground.”
Explaining why this year the jury programme starts earlier and it is longer, Al Remaihi said, “It is easier and have less time in front of the screen because we understand they are also spending time in front of the screen for school.  We have taken all these things into consideration and it will be much easier programme to go through on a daily basis.”
According to her, what makes this year’s edition unique was that it was a challenge to prepare and plan for it but it opened a few doors for them that they were not able to have. “For the jury programme, for example, we can have more jurors from Qatar because it is online. People now can watch from their own countries and homes. This opens the jury programme internationally and we are working with organizations in different countries to recruit jurors in these countries. Also for the public, some of the films will be opened for the region and people in the region can watch. In earlier editions only people in Qatar can watch.”
Talking about how she sees the future of film making in Qatar given the current situation that the world is facing, Al Remaihi said, “In general, it is a difficult time for the film industry all over the world but there are places where they have started shooting and working. People are trying to adapt. In DFI, we are trying to put together policies and procedures for safety and production and how can we shoot something without jeopardizing anyone. This is not a permanent situation and it will go away and as soon productions will pick up again.”
Al Remaihi reiterated that locally, they have been working very hard on animation films. “The situation has not affected the animation industry and as soon as we have all policies and procedures ready for live productions, we will start producing films soon.”