New time-lapse film welcomes visitors to Doha with eye-popping imagery

A pair of American photographers/filmmakers have traveled to Qatar to produce a time-lapse video highlighting a country that “entices our curiosity and excites the imagination.”

Entitled “Welcome to Doha,” the video is the brainchild of local production company Zoom Art & Design, and filmed by well-known time-lapse photographers Michael Shainblum and Brian Hawkins. The duo spent about a week in Qatar, traveling from the “emerging metropolis” of Doha, north to Zubarah Fort and down south to the Sealine dunes.

It went live on video-sharing website Vimeo just yesterday, but has already been viewed over 9,000 times, and is featured on the likes of Vice.com and photo portfolio site 500px.

A scene from the "Welcome to Doha" time-lapse video

Michael Shainblum

Speaking to Doha News, Zoom Arts Director of Operations Obaida Chaiban said the film tells the story of modern Qatar, starting with the old Zubarah Fort and Souq Waqif, then moving on to oil and gas infrastructure and a construction boom, and the appearance of countless skyscrapers on the Doha skyline.

“We feel proud of being part of this country. We thought… it’s worth producing something that shows the beauty of the country,” Chaiban said.

He added that Zoom Art’s CEO Hussam Maatouk conceived of the idea, storyboarded the film and directed it, with their team scouting locations and collaborating with the American photographers.

This initial release is targeted at an international audience, while another version will be produced later in the year with a local orientation.

Beyond the likes of Souq Waqif and the iconic Doha skyline, the film also zooms in on the massive Msheireb Downtown Doha construction site, and offers a detailed look at the Sheikh Muhammad Abdul Wahab Grand mosque.

According to the comments on Vimeo, as well as the reaction on Facebook and Twitter, it’s already receiving a warm welcome.

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