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Hangda Zhang

Video still from ‘After fleeing’

A Yemeni woman who moved to Qatar to escape a civil war at home has opened up about her journey in a new short film.

Mariam Al-Dubhani is now a journalism student at Northwestern University in Qatar.

In the film, she explains to one of her peers that she started making films and music in Yemen as a way of expressing herself and defying constraints society put on her.

“Living in Yemen, where a girl isn’t allowed to do much, just because she’s a girl – it always pissed me off, and made me do things my way,” she said.

Missile attack

Al-Dubhani said that she decided to flee Yemen after a missile landed close to her family home, blowing out the windows.

“I just wanted to leave, I had no other thoughts in my head, I would have gone anywhere. I can’t be helpless, I can’t wait for things to happen.”

She eventually moved to Qatar with her fiance (now husband), after a Qatari woman she had previously worked with offered her a new job in Doha.

In the film, she said that she continues to live by her beliefs, which are to “never stop pursuing what you want, and don’t let anyone tell you to stop.”

Student filmmaker

The film was produced by 20-year-old Hangda Zhang, who is studying journalism and economics at Northwestern University in the US.

Last year, she came to the school’s Doha campus for five months, and used her time to make two films about young women she met.

Speaking to Doha News, Zhang said the five-minute video is part of her series on inspiring women.

Santiago Sanz Romero/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

After Fleeing shows the story of a married woman who fled from Yemen to Qatar and who possesses this courage and independence to face her life,” she said.

Zhang’s second Qatar film – which has not yet been released – will feature a Qatari woman who has started a global movement to unite young people through charity work.

She explained:

“I want to tell these stories to inspire other women, and to start conversations with the audience on issues seldom covered by media or discussed among people.”

Zhang added that she wants to become a professional documentary maker after graduation.

What do you think of the video? Thoughts?

A Qatar resident has spent a year producing a stunning time-lapse video of the desert at Zekreet on the country’s west coast.

Croatian expat Vedran Strelar moved to Qatar in 2011, and since then has been a regular visitor to the area, often camping overnight.

Strelar told Doha News that he decided to produce the video to make residents more aware of what the area has to offer:

“Many of my friends here would ask me if photos I took in Zekreet were actually taken here in Qatar,” he said.  “This encouraged me to make a video that would introduce the Zekreet area to residents.”

Zekreet is characterized by limestone “mushrooms” and cliffs, and home to Film City, Zekreet Fort and Richard Serra’s towering “East-West/West-East” sculptures.

Painstaking work

Strelar said that in order to make the film, he visited the area many times over the course of one year.

And last stop for today. Clouds are gone 😧😭 #sunset #timelapse #desert #qatar #sonya7r2

A photo posted by Vedran Strelar (@strelar) on

During each visit, he would put cameras in different locations and set them to take pictures for hours.

Many were mounted on rails so that the shot would move very gradually.

Strelar said he tried to choose timings when things in the area might “move” to make the video more interesting:

“For day time-lapses, I was waiting for the days when there were more clouds in the sky. For the night shots, it’s good to avoid light from the moon, therefore I would usually wait for a new moon period, when there is no moonlight so I can get a great view of the Milky Way,” he said.

Do you like the video? Thoughts?

QPO's Mannequin Challenge video.

Video still

QPO\’s Mannequin Challenge video.

This month, many Qatar residents have been embracing the Mannequin Challenge, a new global internet trend that involves recording yourself frozen in mid-action.

Locally, several individuals, schools, sports teams, businesses and other organizations have all shared themselves partaking in the challenge.

Here are five of the most memorable videos:

1. Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra

In this beautifully-shot video, the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO) is seen frozen in their seats while Qatari artist Dana Al Fardan’s song “My Eyes” plays in the background.

The production was the result of a collaboration between QPO, DNA Records, ILoveQatar.net, Austrian filmmaker and producer Alex Klim, and others.

Speaking to Doha News, ILQ co-founder Khalifa Saleh Al Haroon said the team shot this video in only one take, because the QPO only have five free minutes before rehearsal.

ILQ had been preparing for the shoot for three days, however.

“We joined the mannequin challenge in a way that shows off Qatar’s direction towards culture, supporting new talent, and setting new standards,” Al Haroon added.

2. Qatar Olympic football team

In this clip, 20 Olympic football players freeze in the middle of what appears to be a gym workout.

Stop are stopped in the middle of lifting weights, while others are paused doing crunches or working on the elliptical machine.

3. Marsa Malaz Kempinski

Here, hotel employees and staff take the challenge at the Kempinski’s Cafe Murano.

Two customers pause mid-greeting, while a chef and waiters are shown poised to pour hot beverages into guests’ cups.

The clip, like most other #MannequinChallenge videos, is accompanied by a rendition of hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles.”

4. Redbull/College of the North Atlantic-Qatar

A busy campus freezes for about 25 seconds in this challenge, where students pose mid-selfie, perch on trees and hold a yoga pose indefinitely.

This clip ends of course with someone opening a Red Bull.

5. Jamid Box

Finally, one more workout video. Here, members of a Qatar gym are seen frozen in several challenging positions.

Some are doing a headstand, while others are lifting exceptionally heavy weights, or climbing opposite a wall.

Bonus:

This one was a reader submission – construction workers having a bit of fun trying out the challenge:

Which challenge videos have you been enjoying? Thoughts?