As part of the RECONNECTING – Contemporary Art from Qatar exhibition, we invited 5 filmmakers to screen their films and 4 of them joined us in London.
The surge of new platforms available to local up-and-coming talent has helped realise a diverse range of stories in recent years. From these stories a new class of dynamic homegrown filmmakers has emerged. Two screenings took place, one at P21 Gallery and another at SOAS University and Jassim Fakhro a comedian and actor kindly hosted the show.
A discussion took place at the end of the screening where they discussed their experiences throughout the filmmaking process, including opportunities, directing, censorship and the future of film for Qatar and them individually.
To recap a few of the discussion points:
With talk on censorship, Aisha Al Muhannadi made it clear that she prefers not to label any film ‘controversial’, because she believes films simply show lived realities that shouldn’t be labeled controversial. She also talks about how we are so wrapped up in equipment, we forget the very essence of filmmaking and that it doesn’t matter about the latest equipment all the time but the way in which you tell your story. Sarah Al Derham also talked about her experience studying in Northwestern University where exploration of any subject was encouraged, however she also mentioned most of the time it is the way you state something that can help a filmmaker depict a sensitive story without crossing the red line as we continued on the topic of censorship. Sarah Al Derham also talked about the importance of narrating ones own story and that most books and research are by white males in the past with quite orientalist view points, so histories were often distorted, she makes it clear it is now time to reclaim our stories and histories, to be the story tellers because if we don’t, other people will. Yousef Al Madadi talked about his struggles however to source Qatari scriptwriters and felt he had to depend on outside sources, this only makes it clear that more Qatari’s need to pursue such paths from filmmaking, writing, journalism and more to ensure narratives can be authentically portrayed. Another topic covered was the way in which filmmaking in Qatar is very diverse and dynamic, where the filmmakers cross various mediums and don’t necessarily box themselves into one category, Amal Al Muftah screened her documentary film with us, filmed in refugee camps and now been working on her 50 minute feature film Smicha, she’s an optimal example of being able to navigate between categories.
These are the films that were shown on the night. Each film encapsulated different elements of the filmmakers thoughts, ideas and self.
Amal Al Muftah
AlHamali, a documentary about the life of the Hamali, the porter, that assists shoppers at Qatar’s most visited market, Souq Waqif, hauling their goods in his wheelbarrow, while they shop around.
Watch her film here
Sarah Al Derham
Jumana of the Middle East I & II – Sarah Al Derham
Jumana is an everlasting gemstone that represents women in the Middle East. She is the symbol of strength and perseverance. She tells the story of the unwritten rule about love in different cities, focusing on both Doha and Paris. She determines that she does not need a love of a man to grow strong, and in order for her to develop and grow she needs to explore different cities. This is where her love lays. Jumana is strong because she allows herself to be free and explore the beauty of different cityscapes.
Aisha Al Muhannadi
Jazaa is a short documentary on the relationship between a man and his falcon. He reflects on his first ever falcon, training it and the time he got caught hunting in Pakistan.
Yousef Al Madadi
10% is a witty take on everyone’s dependence on mobiles that rings timely and true. Told in hilarious flashbacks, ‘10%’ narrates the story of a young man obsessed with his mobile phone. Worried because his battery is running low, he gets into all kinds of trouble because of his beloved gadget – he loses his job, crashes his car and even falls into a sewage pit. Is this the end of the love affair between man and machine?
With great Thanks, Yousef is being sent by Doha Film Institute.
Mohamed Al Ibrahim
Aziz and Rana, two Qatar Foundation students of different social standing, have a secret love. When they decide they want to take their commitment to another level and get married, their families object to the proposed union. Now, Aziz must decide on his next step.
Watch his film here
This film screening was part of RE CONNECT ING – Contemporary Art from Qatar in London.
Purchase our limited edition exhibition catalogue here with detailed info about all 26 Qatari artists featured in the exhibition.