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Principal Partner

Short Film of the Week

Introducing our new unmissable Short Film of the Week series! Every Thursday we will be bringing you the very best of DFI supported short films to enjoy from the comfort of your own home. We hope you enjoy and stay tuned for more exclusive releases and behind-the-scenes insights from the filmmakers every week!

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Available Now:

Light Sounds

• Available from Thursday, 17 September 2020, 12:00 PM, online.

Synopsis:
Inseparable, if not by choice, two Sri Lankans work as cleaners at a mosque in Qatar. Lazy and mischievous, Sajid is often late and forever playing pranks on those who frequent the mosque; while he spends his days gazing out at the world around him, wishing for more in life, Razzak does what he can to keep his friend out of hot water. This gentle film reminds us that every face might hide an unrecognised talent, if only we took the time to look.

About the Director:
Karem Kamel is an Egyptian-American filmmaker and a native of New York City. He studied Film at Hunter College, where he made his directorial debut with the short film ‘Lucky Night’, featuring a young Lady Gaga. He has held positions at ABC and the Sundance Film Institute, where he was involved in various workshops at the Institute’s Summer Labs. His most recent short, ‘The BACKyard’, premiered at New York’s Big Apple Film Festival. Kamel has also worked at Columbia University, and he currently works at the Doha Film Institute.


Makh’bz

• Available from Thursday, 10 September 2020, 12:00 PM, online.

Synopsis:
The repetitive actions of men and machines become a dance of grace and beauty in ‘Makh’bz’ as Aisha Al Muhannadi transforms the making of bread in Madinat Khalifa into a mesmerising vision. Following the stages of the breadmaking process – from mixing ingredients through kneading, baking and packaging – ‘Makh’bz’ is a stunning meditation on the time, energy and skilled craft that go into providing Doha with its daily bread.

About the Director:
Aisha Al Muhannadi is currently studying Communications at Northwestern University in Qatar. Her first experience with filmmaking was when she directed and produced the documentary ‘Big Dreams’, which was nominated for best sound and cinematography awards at the Qatar Model United Nations Film Festival in 2011. She then continued making short films, including documentaries as well as promos for a friend’s business. She also supports others who are working in the film world. Her documentary ‘Mubabak AlMalik’ screened in the Doha Film Institute’s Focus on Qatar series earlier this year.


Just Another Memory

• Available from Thursday, 3 September 2020, 12:00 PM, online.

Synopsis:
Amidst the ongoing war in Yemen; torn between being “safe” and “away”, weighed down by the ever-present mental and emotional baggage that still holds you back. How does one move forward and heal? How to deal with so much suppressed pain? In this profoundly affecting documentary, we investigate these questions and explore what it feels like to be suddenly uprooted and displaced by war.

About the Director:
Mariam Al-Dhubhani is a Yemeni-Russian journalist and filmmaker. She is currently a senior at Northwestern University in Qatar. Al-Dhubhani co-founded a production named Background Group for Media. Her first short film ‘We are the Peace’ (2011) received an award in Yemen’s first film festival. ‘Wishes for the New Year’ (2012) was the first chalkboard animation in the Middle East. Her recent film ‘Just Another Memory’ (2018) is her directorial debut and was produced as part of the Doha Film Institute’s annual Documentary Lab in 2018 which was led by world-renowned Cambodian documentary filmmaker Rithy Panh.


The Palm Tree

• Available from Thursday, 27 August 2020, 12:00 PM, online.

Synopsis:
In a sterile lab, sprouts are methodically planted, their growth observed and tracked. Seeds are washed and sifted by machines, before being precisely set in soil under bright lamps. Mainly shot using disorienting close-ups, ‘The Palm Tree’ is an observational documentary that shows us how unnatural nature can be, and unearths the science fiction in reality.

About the Director:
Jassim Al-Rumaihi has worked as a reporter at Al Jazeera News channel, and joined the Supreme Legacy for Delivery and Projects, the body responsible for hosting the 2022 World Cup, as a Media Relations Specialist. At Northwestern University in Qatar, he took several classes in film production. ‘The Palm Tree’ won the Made in Qatar Award at the Ajyal Film Festival in 2015. His second documentary ‘Amer: The Arabian Legend’, won the same prize at Ajyal in 2016 and was screened in several international festivals.


Caravan

• Available from Thursday, 20 August 2020, 12:00 PM, online.

Synopsis:
Trapped in a traffic jam, the mind has the chance to wander, since the primary task at hand – getting from A to B – is in a state of suspension. With ‘Caravan’, Suzannah Mirghani examines the daydreams of a cross-section of Doha residents as they explore their inner thoughts. Preoccupations like work, the future, maths tables and music are just some of the many absent-minded meanderings the film’s various characters follow as they wait for daily life to start up again.

About the Director:
Suzannah Mirghani is a writer, researcher, and independent filmmaker, highlighting stories from the Arab world. Being of multicultural Sudanese and Russian backgrounds, she is interested in stories that examine the complexity of identity. Suzannah is a media studies and museum studies graduate, currently working at the Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS), Georgetown University in Qatar. She has made several short films, including, ‘Msheireb Oral History Films’ (2017), ‘There Be Dragons’ (2017), ‘Caravan’ (2016), ‘Hind’s Dream’ (2014), and ‘Hamour’ (2011).


1001 Days

• Available from Thursday, 13 August 2020, 12:00 PM, online.

Synopsis:
‘1001 Days’ tells the story of the life of Sheherezade, the creative and heroic storyteller. Night after night, Sheherezade fought for her life by crafting stories for the King. Within a traditional fairy-tale structure, this animated short addresses eternal issues like sacrifice, equality and bravery, and considers how today’s women deserve equal treatment and privileges. The film imagines a story behind the famous fable, and a strong woman who fights for her independence, dignity and freedom.

About the Director:
Aisha Al-Jaidah is an illustrator and animator. She began her career in 2010 as a motion graphics artist at Al Jazeera Children’s Channel. As a senior animation producer, she developed the first animated children’s series created by a Qatari. Al-Jaidah received a scholarship to study animation and graduated from Kingston University London, an achievement that motivated her to launch her own animation production company. She hopes Blue Penguin Animation will be one of the first companies in Qatar to fully produce animation locally.


Kashta

• Available from Thursday, 9 July 2020, 12:00 PM until 15 July 2020.

Synopsis:
Out in the beautiful quiet of the desert, a man teaches his young sons how to track and hunt. Frustration leads to an apparently harmless struggle between the two brothers – but their carelessness brings about sudden disaster. Qatari filmmaker A.J. Al Thani’s film strikes just the right balance of calm and calamity, adolescence and adulthood, knowhow and panic to tell a seemingly simple story with a sense of gravity that will echo with anyone who has seen an innocent plan go horribly wrong.

About the Director:
A.J. Al-Thani is a Qatar-born filmmaker. Her love for movies and moviemaking began at the age of six when she saw ‘Star Wars’ (1977) in the cinema in 1999. She began to pursue her dream of being a filmmaker with the launch of the Doha Film Institute (DFI). Her relationship with the Institute began in 2010 when she participated in one of its first film workshops, which opened the door for many local filmmakers to pursue their passion. For almost six years, she has been developing her skills with the help of the Institute, and her film ‘Kashta’ was made through a grant from DFI.


Smicha

• Available from Thursday, 2 July 2020, 12:00 PM until 15 July 2020.

Synopsis:
Seven-year-old Lulwa dotes on her elderly grandfather, whom she spends time with every Friday. He is showing early signs of senility— sometimes he forgets his promises, and sometimes he even calls Lulwa by someone else’s name. Still, her time with him is important, even if she has to be extra-patient and remind him of simple things he needs to remember. ‘Smicha’ shows that love is not found in blurry details, but in a powerful bond that never fades.

About the Director:
Amal Al-Muftah is a Qatari filmmaker. In high school, Amal discovered a fascination with filmmaking as a form of storytelling. During this period, she directed and shot an award-winning documentary ‘Al-Hamali’ (2014) and her first short film ‘Al-Kora’ (2014). While studying Communications at Northwestern University in Qatar, Amal made two award-winning films’ Smicha’ (2015) and ‘Sh’hab’ (2018) amongst other films and documentaries. Her body of work is inspired by the rich history and culture of the region.


Land of Pearls

• Available from Thursday, 25 June 2020, 12:00 PM until 15 July 2020.

About the Director:
Mohamed Al-Ibrahim is an award-winning filmmaker who holds honorary degrees in Criminal Justice as well as Film Studies. He is a three-time grant recipient from DFI between 2013 & 2019. His short films ‘Land of Pearls’ (2011), and ‘Bidoon’ (2013) have won awards and toured worldwide festival circuits, including Cannes, Venice, and Tribeca. Mohamed has also served as a writer on several TV series. He is currently developing the TV series ‘Bullshark’, and the feature films ‘You Should Be Dancing’, as well as ‘81‘—all revolving around characters inspired by actual events in the Arabian Gulf.


Gubgub

• Available from Thursday, 18 June 2020, 12:00 PM until 15 July 2020.

Synopsis:
After getting her first catch of the day while crab-hunting with her father and brother, bright-eyed Jawaher shows it to her father. He dismisses her but goes on to praise her brother’s catch. Determined to win her father’s approval, Jawaher shrugs off his hurtful reaction and sets out to catch ten crabs. On her quest, she finds herself battling for a catch with Nawaf, a boy who shares her goal.

About the Director:
Nouf Al Sulaiti is a Qatari producer with a passion for storytelling. She has worked on numerous film projects, both fiction and documentary, including AJ Al Thani’s ‘Black Veil’, Yassine Ouahrani’s ’Noor’ (2017), Zaki Hussain’s ‘How to Get Over a Heartbreak’ (2017), and her own ‘Outdated’ (2016) and ‘Papers’ (2016), both of which she also produced. Nouf has received grants to make Zaki Hussain’s ‘Terima Kasih’, and Zahed Bata’s ‘Burn the Bird’, which she is producing, and her own, ‘Gubgub’. Nouf is currently producing a feature film called ‘Khuzzama’.


The Unlucky Hamster

• Available from Thursday, 11 June 2020, 12:00 PM until 15 July 2020.
Synopsis:
Fluffy is a cute little hamster who just can’t catch a break! Every day he patiently waits in his cage at the pet store for someone to pick him. Dreaming of a new home, he thinks he has finally been rescued when a mysterious man approaches. But poor Fluffy’s dream soon turns into a living nightmare, as his new owner has ulterior motives for the purchase.

About the Director:
Abdulaziz Mohammed Khashabi is a Qatari filmmaker and engineer, who worked for seven years as a maintenance planning engineer. He graduated from the University of Portsmouth in the UK and holds a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering. He has a passion for animation films and has written scripts, as well as designed characters and storyboards. His scriptwriting work includes a feature film, a couple of short films, and a traditional Qatari series consisting of 15 episodes.


In the Middle

• Available from Thursday, 4 June 2020, 12:00 PM until 15 July 2020.

Synopsis:
In a rarely seen perspective of war, we follow Ali—a Yemeni soldier on tour in the temporary capital of Aden. Leaving his hopes, dreams, and education behind to join the military, Ali dutifully sits at his checkpoint, performing a mundane task that he is clearly overqualified to do. His story represents the majority of youth in the country, people who are unable to just ‘live’, but instead are forced to continually struggle to survive.

About the Director:
Mariam Al-Dhubhani is a Yemeni-Russian award-winning journalist and filmmaker. Al-Dhubhani is currently doing an MA in Museum and Gallery Practice at UCL Qatar. She first pursued her passion for media during the 2011 Arab uprisings and co-founded her first media production. Al-Dhubhani’s films have been screened globally in festivals such as Carthage, Interfilm, and Oaxaca. She also utilizes Virtual Reality in highlighting stories from Yemen.


Elevate

• Available from Thursday, 28 May 2020, 12:00 PM until 15 July 2020.

Synopsis:
After a hard day’s shopping, Latifa, a rude and vain woman and her long-suffering maid Rosie get trapped in an elevator. Already haughty and dismissive, Latifa becomes downright nasty in her treatment of Rosie, even going so far as to blame her for the mechanical failure. This brings emotions to a head, and Latifa goes on a journey in her mind, in which she confronts her own egotistical nature and rediscovers the lessons of humility and respect she learned as a child.

About the Director:
Hamida Issa is a Qatari director, writer and producer. She graduated with a BA in Politics from University College London and a MA in Global Cinemas and the Transcultural from the School of Oriental and African Studies. Issa worked for the education team at the Doha Film Institute at its inception and made her first short film, ‘15 Heartbeats’, which premiered at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, in 2011. She has made numerous short films since, which include a music video and a video art installation. She is the first Qatari woman in history to step foot on Antarctica and is currently making her first feature-length documentary, ‘Places of the Soul’, which considers her experience and environmental sustainability.


Red

• Available from Thursday, 7 May 2020, 12:00 PM until 15 July 2020.

Synopsis:
A shy and lonely boy trudges through the snowy streets of a desolate, abandoned urban landscape, where he sees an abandoned pair of red trainers hanging from a telephone wire. He wants them dearly – but can he stamp out his fears and find a way to get them on his feet? The spectre of fear and doubt that lives inside us all, questioning our courage and making our confidence falter, gets a kick in the pants in this charming animated work.

About the Director:
An alumna of Qatar University, Kholood Al-Ali majored in Art Education. She was the director, producer and writer on the team that created the first animated series on Al Jazeera Children’s Channel. Her art allowed her to gain a significant fan base on social media platforms such as Instagram. ‘Red’, her first short animated film, has been well received in the filmmaking community in Doha.


Amer: An Arabian Legend

• Available from Thursday, 30 April 2020, 12:00 PM until 15 July 2020.
Synopsis:
Amer, a gift to Sheikh Khalifa, then Emir of Qatar, is a beautiful purebred Arabian. He raced like the wind, but racing opportunities were curtailed while doubts about his pedigree were settled. Eventually, Amer proved himself to be a leader of his breed; now a prize stud, he has fathered hundreds of the best Arabian racehorses of today. This film follows his story through conversations with some of those whom Amer deeply touched over the course of his career.

About the Director:
Jassim Al-Rumaihi has worked as a reporter at Al Jazeera News channel, and joined the Supreme Legacy for Delivery and Projects, the body responsible for hosting the 2022 World Cup, as a Media Relations Specialist. At Northwestern University in Qatar, he took several classes in film production. ‘The Palm Tree’ won the Made in Qatar Award at the Ajyal Film Festival in 2015. His second documentary ‘Amer: The Arabian Legend’, won the same prize at Ajyal in 2016 and was screened in several international festivals.


Al-Johara

Available for your viewing pleasure is ‘Al-Johara’ by Nora Al-Subai—a Qatari take on the classic Cinderella fairy-tale.

• Available from Thursday, 23 April 2020, 12:00 PM until 15 July 2020.

Synopsis:
Made a servant in her own home by her evil stepfamily, Al-Johara receives a wedding invitation from an old childhood friend. With the help of a neighbour, an eccentric, traditional old woman—Al-Johara might be able to attend her very first wedding and finally be like her beautiful sisters. ‘Al-Johara’ is a Qatari take on the classic Cinderella fairytale accentuating Arabic traditions with a modern twist.

About the Director:
Born and raised in France, Nora Al-Subai is a Qatari writer and director. She graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar with a degree in Computer Science. Her short film, ‘My Hero’ (2013), was named Best Short Film at the Ajyal Film Festival and appeared in the markets of the Festival de Cannes and the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival. ‘Al-Johara’ premiered at Ajyal, where it received the Special Jury Award. It also made its way to Cannes and the Sarajevo Film Festival.