For the third year in a row, due to the worldwide pandemic, the Doha Film Institute will hold its annual industry incubator for exceptional talent from the Arab world and beyond online. While the format is necessary during these extraordinary times, we can't help but feel disheartened at the news.
The DFI announced today that it will host a virtual edition of Qumra 2022, the annual talent incubator for Arab cinema and beyond, from March 18 to 23. Dedicated to nurturing new and independent voices in cinema, Qumra 2022 will feature a wide range of activities tailored to support emerging talents from their script-to-screen journey.
Qumra Masters and the participating projects will begin to roll out in the coming weeks and in past editions have included French film director Claire Denis, Polish filmmaker Paweł Pawlikowski, Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul (pictured below), costume designer Sandy Powell and actress Tilda Swinton.
Fatma Hassan Alremaihi, Chief Executive Officer of the Doha Film Institute, said: “Despite the challenging situation globally, we are hosting Qumra 2022 in a virtual format because we believe it is important to support new voices, especially in these times when creative pursuits are even more important. With Qumra, our mission is to empower the global storytelling landscape and emerging voices to create inspiring cinema, exercise creative expression, and transform inspired stories into acclaimed masterpieces.
Alremaihi added: “To maintain the current momentum towards success for the stand-out projects, the Institute will proceed with an online programme to support the filmmakers through this challenging period. Over the past seven years, Qumra has been crucial to the success of filmmakers from the Arab world and beyond and in supporting important voices in global storytelling. We hope Qumra Online will continue with its proud tradition of supporting the most promising talent and help share their work with our growing Qumra global community.”
Support given to the selected projects will include mentorship sessions, in addition to roundtables, meetings and networking sessions. Continuing the Institute’s commitment to supporting promising talent in evolving forms of creativity and new possibilities, the 2022 Qumra Online event will have sessions dedicated to exploring and developing fresh new projects from the region.
All the selected projects will have their one-on-one sessions delivered online, to accelerate the success of filmmakers and prepare them to bring their projects to audiences around the world, with more details announced soon.
The Arabic term ‘qumra’ is popularly said to be the origin of the word ‘camera’, and to have been used by the scientist, astronomer and mathematician Alhazen (Ibn al-Haytham, 965-c.1040 CE), whose work in optics laid out the principles of the camera obscura. During the DFI's Qumra event directors and producers attached to projects in development and post-production are invited to participate. They also include a number of emerging filmmakers from Qatar, as well as recipients of funding from the Institute’s Grants Programme. The robust programme features industry meetings designed to assist with propelling projects to their next stages of development, including work-in-progress screenings, bespoke matchmaking sessions and tailored workshops with industry experts.