DOHA FROM the time when it opens to capacity crowds on November 17, to when the curtain falls on the Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF) 2012, women filmmakers will remain in the limelight of DTFF’s fourth edition, with 26 films by women directors slated to be shown.
The films are distinct in their thematic and narrative approach, highlighting the imprint left by women filmmakers globally.
The Doha Film Institute’s (DFI) annual cultural celebration opens with accomplished Indian filmmaker Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist and pays tribute to women filmmakers, increasingly playing an active role in the Arab world’s film industry. Mira Nair will also lead a panel on the making of The Reluctant Fundamentalist.
At DTFF 2012, eight Qatari films are helmed by women directors, 11 films by Arab women filmmakers are to be screened in the Festival’s Arab Film Competition, while the Contemporary World Cinema, Special Screenings, and Tribute to Algerian Cinema are to feature another six films directed by women.
In the Arab Film Competition segment are Maggie Morgan’s Asham: A Man Called Hope, which narrates the stories of six couples at different stages in their relationship, set against the backdrop of the January 25 (Egyptian) Revolution; and Hanan Abdalla’s In the Shadow of a Man, that presents the personal revolutions of four women from different backgrounds in post-revolution Egypt.
Also in competition are Tamara Stepanyan’s Embers, a touching tribute to the memory of the filmmaker’s grandmother; A Deep Long Breath by Tahani Rached which documents the 18 days that brought about the end of dictatorship in Egypt; Rafea: Solar Mama by Jehane Noujaim and Mona Eldaief, which follows the story of a Jordanian Bedouin mother, who leaves her home to travel to India to obtain an education; The Lebanese Rocket Society co-directed by Joana Hadjithomas– a reflection of the reawakening of hopes in the wake of the Arab spring; Sanctity by Ahd Kamel, which documents the story of Areej, a pregnant, young Saudi widow, who will endure anything to protect her unborn child; L`Mrayet by Nadia Rais is about a man who is hired to write the future; Ismail by Nora Alsharif is about a young Palestinian boy living in a refugee camp who struggles to escape imminent death when he and his little brother stray into a minefield; When They Slept by Maryam Touzani is about the relationship between a grandfather and a granddaughter and The Wall by Odette Makhlouf Mouarkech is about living everyday life in Beirut during the civil war.
‘Made in Qatar,’ includes Amna al Khalaf’s Brains of Empowerment, an experimental film about the empowerment of women in the Middle East; and Lyrics Revolt by Shannon Farhoud, Ashlene Ramadan, Melanie Fridgant and Rana Khaled al Khatib, a documentary that started as a student project at Northwestern University in Qatar, exploring the events of Arab Spring through hip hop artists of the Middle East in addition to Ghazil - The Story of Rached & Jawaher by Sarah al Derham, Rain by Rehab El Ewaly, The Worker by Manal Ahmed, His Name by Hend Fakhroo, Bader by Sarah al Saadi, Maaria Assami, Latifa al Darwish and Crazy Calm by Noor Ahmed Yaqiub.
As part of the Contemporary World Cinema line-up, DTFF will screen Children of Sarajevo by Marija Pikic and Ismir Gagula, the story of two siblings living in the harsh battlescarred Sarajevo, Dominga Sotomayor’s Thursday Till Sunday, narrates the story of 10-year-old Lucia, her parents, and brother and their holiday in the north of Chile, which results in broken familial bonds, ending in an emotional farewell and a family in crisis and Venus and Serena by Maiken Baird and Michelle Major, document the story of the greatest tennis champions in the world.
The dedication to women filmmakers under the Special Screenings’ segment includes Naomi Kawase’s Traces, an unusual personal documentary focusing on the aging foster mother of the filmmaker; The Tsunami and The Cherry Blossom by Lucy Walker, a stunning, moving visual poem about the ephemeral nature of life and the healing power of Japan’s most beloved flower and Assia Djebar’s The Nouba of the Women of Mount Chenoua, under the ‘Tribute to Algerian Cinema,’ segment, documenting conversations with Algerian women, 15 years after the end of the war for independence.