Cannes: Doha Film Institute Plans Two Festivals

Abdulaziz Al Khater - P 2012

An international event for first and second filmmakers named Qumra will launch March 2014, steered by newly-appointed artistic advisor and filmmaker Elia Suleiman.

Qatar's Doha Film Institute said Saturday in Cannes that it plans to launch two film festivals in the territory's capital city.

The independent cultural organization in the Middle Eastern state of Qatar is planning an international film festival for first and second time filmmakers named Qumra Film Festival, Doha with the debut edition set for dates in March 2014.

The Institute is also planning to use its traditional November slot for the launch of the inaugural Ajyal Film Festival for the Young, a community-based event that brings cinema and film-related activities to Doha to promote film appreciation among families and educators.

DFI CEO Abdulaziz Al Khater told The Hollywood Reporter that the changes -- which follow the winding up of the previous event's cultural partnership with Tribeca Enterprises -- come as a result of a desire to expand its international exposure while boosting its community activities separately.

RELATED: THR's Complete Coverage of the Cannes Film Festival

"We want to harness the momentum we’ve generated there and continue developing film appreciation in Qatar," Al Khater said. "At the same time, the Institute has decided to focus on emerging filmmakers and expand its competitions to include films from around the world. The best path to achieving our goals is to build two separate film festivals."

The Qumra event will carry jury awards for features and short films, master classes with established filmmakers and will also program films from across the globe, events backers said.

Days into being announced as artistic advisor for DFI, filmmaker Elia Suleiman said the festival will aim to be international and offer a home for first and second filmmakers no matter where in the world they live.

“The intention is clear and sincere – to build a cinematic house of culture, anchored to the principle of hope," Suleiman said.