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Damien Chazelle’s Oscar-tipped drama Whiplash has joined the lineup of the upcoming Ayjal Youth Film Festival in Doha. The 90-strong selection of titles, including 21 feature films, will screen over six days Dec. 1-6 in the Qatari capital.
Alongside Whiplash, British/Jordanian filmmaker Naji Abu Nowar will be bringing his debut feature Theeb, which picked up awards in Venice and Abu Dhabi and received a special mention at the BFI London Film Festival.
Other films include Brazilian feature The Boy and the World, which won the best feature and audience awards at this year’s Annecy International Animated Film Festival, and Difret, Ethiopia’s official entry in the best foreign-language film category at the Academy Awards.
Following last year’s anime theme, animation continues to have a strong presence at the festival. The Tale of Princess Kaguya by Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata will screen, alongside Song of the Sea by Oscar-nominated Irish director Tomm Moore.
As previously announced, the festival will open with Palestinian documentary Speed Sisters, about the West Bank’s all-girl racing team, and close with the Salma Hayek-produced animated feature Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet.
The festival will help draw to a close a turbulent year for the Doha Film Institute, the government-backed cultural body that organizes Ajyal. In January, the inaugural Qumra festival — for first- and second-time filmmakers — was canceled two months before it was due to start. The institute’s CEO Abdulaziz Al-Khater stepped down in August after less than two years at the helm.
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