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Doha Film Institute announces Agnès Varda, Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Pawel Pawlikowski as Qumra 2019 Masters

Jan 07, 2019

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  • Recipient of the Academy Honorary Award for her contribution to cinema, visual artist and ‘grandmother of the French New Wave’, Agnès Varda continues to redefine documentary filmmaking with her playful yet political body of work, more recently with her latest Academy Award® nominated Faces Places
  • Prolific Japanese director, writer, film critic, and Professor Kiyoshi Kurosawa is an international awards veteran who defies the limits of genre boundaries in classics such as his latest Before We Vanish and Foreboding
  • Polish filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski creates cinematic masterpieces that dominate Foreign Language Oscar® races, such as Oscar® winner Ida, and his current romantic epic, Cold War

Doha, Qatar; January 7, 2019: French New Wave cinema legend Agnès Varda, prolific Japanese director and writer Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Polish filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski have been confirmed as the first three Qumra Masters of the Doha Film Institute’s dedicated industry incubation and talent development event.

The three leaders in global cinema will nurture the development of local and international upcoming filmmakers in Qatar in a series of masterclasses and mentoring sessions at the fifth edition of Qumra. A selection of pivotal works of Agnès Varda, Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Pawel Pawlikowski will be screened as part of the programme that provides unique professional development opportunities to emerging filmmakers and introduces them to some of the finest works in global cinema by true vanguards of the industry.

Delegates with projects will also participate in workshops and working sessions with industry experts, advancing their progress, covering all stages of the production life cycle from scripting and direction through to post-production, distribution and marketing.

“We are honoured to welcome three true masters of cinema to be our 2019 Qumra Masters, and to share their wisdom, learning and insights with emerging filmmakers,” said Fatma Hassan Alremaihi, Chief Executive Officer of the Doha Film Institute. “The participation of these three living legends who have established remarkable identities in cinema will expand the possibilities of the medium for Qumra delegates. Agnès Varda, Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Pawel Pawlikowski have redefined storytelling, inspiring generations of filmmakers around the world to create fearlessly and to be true to their creative spirit.”

“The assembly of masters of filmmaking Agnès Varda, Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Pawel Pawlikowski conjures the essence of ‘Seven Samurai’ in providing essential protection of the cinematic community from the ‘looting’ of global cultural bandits” said Elia Suleiman, the Doha Film Institute’s Artistic Advisor.

Agnès Varda
Born in 1928 to Greek father and French mother, Agnès Varda was a photographer in the 1950s. In 1954, she founded Cine-Tamaris to make La Pointe Courte, which earned her the title of ‘Grand Mother of the French New Wave’. Her body of work includes 33 short and feature length documentary and narrative films, including Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962); Vagabond (1985), Jacquot de Nantes (1991), The Gleaners & I (2000), The Beaches of Agnes (2008) and Faces Places (2017).

In 2003, Varda launched a third career as a visual artist, and her installations have been exhibited at the world’s most prominent galleries and museums. She has won several recognitions including the Silver Bear Prize at Berlinale (1965) for her film Cleo from 5 to 7 (1965); Golden Lion at Venice International Film Festival (1985) for her film Vagabond (1985), Léopardo d’Onore at the Locarno Film Festival (2014), Palme d’Or d’Honneur at Festival de Cannes (2015), Grolsch Audience Award for Best Documentary at Toronto Film Festival (2017) for Faces, Places (2017), and an Academy Honorary Award® for her contribution to cinema.

Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Born in 1955 in Hyogo Prefecture, Kiyoshi Kurosawa is a world-renowned film director, writer, film critic, and professor at Tokyo University of the Arts. A graduate of Rikkyo University, he produced independent 8mm films and made his commercial feature directorial debut in 1983 with Kandagawa Wars.

Initially attracting international attention with Cure (1997), he then delivered the notable License to Live (1998), Barren Illusion (1999), Charisma (1999), and Pulse (2000), which was awarded the FIPRESCI Prize in the Un Certain Regard at 2001 Festival de Cannes.

Kurosawa continued to garner awards with Tokyo Sonata (2008), taking the Jury Prize in Un Certain Regard and Best Film at the 2009 Asian Film Awards; Seventh Code (2013), which won Best Director at Rome Film Festival; and Journey to the Shore (2014), winner of Best Director in Un Certain Regard. In 2017, he screened Before We Vanish in Un Certain Regard, and its spinoff Foreboding in Berlinale’s Panorama. Daguerrotype (2016) marked Kurosawa’s first overseas production, and his current film, To the Ends of the Earth (working title) is an international co-production shot in Uzbekistan.

Pawel Pawlikowski
Born in Warsaw, Pawel Pawlikowski has lived in London, Germany and Italy since the age of 14. A graduate of literature and philosophy at London University, he started making short films during his postgraduate studies at Oxford, later joining BBC’s documentary department. He started making unique documentaries in 1987, moving into narrative fiction 1996 with Twockers while teaching documentary and narrative film directing at the National Film School. In 2013, he moved back to Warsaw, where he continues to make films and teaches film writing and directing at the Wajda School.

Among Pawlikowski’s acclaimed narrative works are Last Resort (2000); My Summer of Love (2004); The Woman in the Fifth (2011), Ida (2015 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar®); and Cold War (2018), winner of Best Director at Festival de Cannes and Polish submission for Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award®. The masterful quality of his work has established him as one of the foremost filmmakers of our time.

Previous Qumra Masters
Previous Qumra Masters include iconoclastic Oscar® winning actor Tilda Swinton (Isle of Dogs, Michael Clayton, We Need to Talk about Kevin); Oscar® winning British costume designer Sandy Powell, OBE (The Young Victoria, The Aviator, Shakespeare in Love); Oscar® nominated director Bennett Miller (Capote, Moneyball, Foxcatcher); Venice Golden Lion winning Russian director and writer Andrey Zvyagintsev (Leviathan, Loveless); Cannes Palme d’Or winning Thai filmmaker and visual artist Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives); the only documentary director to win the Berlinale Golden Bear, Italian director Gianfranco Rosi (Fire at Sea);

Argentina’s eminent Lucrecia Martel (The Swamp, The Holy Girl/ The Headless Woman); internationally acclaimed Portuguese producer Paulo Branco; Best Foreign Language Film Oscar® winning Iranian master Asghar Farhadi (A Separation/ The Salesman); French auteur Bruno Dumont (P’tit Quinquin); Cambodian creative documentarian Rithy Panh (The Missing Picture); Mexican actor/ director/ producer Gael Garcia Bernal (Amores Perros/ No/ Deficit), Best Foreign Language Film Oscar® nominated Mauritanian director Abderrahmane Sissako (Timbuktu); Romanian auteur and Palme d’Or winner Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days/ Beyond the Hills); Best Foreign Language Film Oscar® winning Bosnian writer/director Danis Tanović (An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker/ Tigers, No Man’s Land); Palme d’Or winning Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Winter Sleep); Cannes Grand Prix winning Japanese filmmaker Naomi Kawase (The Mourning Forest); Oscar® nominated director Joshua Oppenheimer (The Act of Killing / The Look of Silence); Cannes Best Screenplay winning writer James Schamus (The Ice Storm); Aleksandr Sokurov (Russian Ark/ Francofonia).

The final 2019 Qumra Masters will be announced shortly.