A year after its anime-themed debut, the Ajyal Film Festival, an initiative by the Doha Film Institute to celebrate young, budding local filmmakers, returns to Katara Cultural Village on Dec. 1.
As part of the event, the “Made in Qatar” section will shine a spotlight on 20 of the best of locally produced short and feature films, including one of Qatar’s first zombie films, Qarar (which means “decision” in English).
The movie is the brainchild of 22-year-old Qatari Ali Al Ansari, a media and film production student at Bangor University in Wales.
It focuses on a young married couple trying to survive a post-apocalyptic zombie epidemic – in Qatar.
Speaking to Doha News, Bassam Al-Ibrahim, the film’s producer, and a member of the 2010-founded Qatari filmhouse Innovation Films which funded Qarar, explained the short film’s genesis:
“As CEO of the organization, I needed to ensure that there was a legacy that we were leaving behind. I wanted to ensure that we were fostering talent locally, and so we kicked off a creative bootcamp. We did one-on-one script writing, film, editing, and production classes, and divided the members into teams. Out of the bootcamp came Qarar, for which Ali was both director and screenwriter.”
The movie, which runs for around 15 to 18 minutes in Arabic (with English subtitles), is an entirely local production.
The actors, Mohammed Sharif and Sally Al-Mansouri, are both Doha-based, as are the film’s Qatari producers Al-Ibrahim, Mohammed Al-Hamadi and Khaled Al-Jabor.
The production house’s co-founder and prominent Qatari director, Ahmed Al-Baker, was the film’s executive producer.
Though it was shot locally, much of the graphics and CGI for the film, which showcases, among other scenes, a ruined West Bay skyline, were done by an American company that worked on the blockbuster Transformers films.
Color correction for the movie was outsourced to a Pakistani firm that also, incidentally, worked on Transformers.
While Al-Ibrahim declined to comment on the total cost of the project, he said that the film, which was funded by members of Innovation Films, wasn’t “massively expensive.”
“We own a lot of our equipment, so that reduces the cost. We also have a full-time makeup artist. The actors that are featured in the film do it because they love filmmaking, so they do it for free.
The majority of the costs went towards the CGI stuff, and the US-based band On Being Human, which has scored almost all of our films, and gives us a set discounted fee,” he added.
The film house’s other productions, including Lockdown: Red Moon Escape (2012), a feature film, and Bidoon (2012), a 20-minute short, have also enjoyed international acclaim, with screenings at the DFI-Tribeca Film Festival, and Cannes, Venice, Abu Dhabi, and Gulf Film Festivals respectively.
The 20 films in the Made in Qatar category will be screened at Katara on Dec. 4 and 5.
Including Qarar, there are seven films in the “Made in Qatar 1” category, which showcases short films made as part of a collaboration between DFI and Seha.
The second sub-category, “Made in Qatar 2,” includes independent productions, and films on water and electricity conservation by the six winners of the Tarsheed Short Filmmaking Competition, which was organized by Kahramaa on Earth Day this year.
The first category includes Coucou directed by Meriem Mesraoua, a film that captures the distorted reality of a senile mind of 80-year-old woman; and Lumiere directed by Aisha Abduljawad, an experimental film on light and shadow, open and closed spaces and urban and natural landscapes.
Both were created by students and alumni of Northwestern University in Qatar.
Another, Kings and Queens of Qatar by Shamir Allibhai, focuses on the Qatar’s women’s chess team – the nation’s first generation of female players as they compete at the 40th World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul.
“Made in Qatar 1” will screen on Thursday, Dec. 4, 7pm at Katara Drama Theater, and “Made in Qatar 2” will screen on Friday, Dec. 5 at 5:45pm at the Katara Opera House. Screenings are free of charge but residents are required to reserve tickets to secure a seat.
Seats can be reserved at box offices in City Center mall and Katara.
That image of the skyline is what I imagine Doha will look like after the World Cup when 100,000+ angry football fans are not allowed into the stadiums despite holding tickets, can’t drink alcohol and are involved in numerous traffic accidents involving unlicensed and uninsured teenagers!
Loll this is hilarious 😀
looooool… Or for not being admitted to 5 star hotel bars for a drink, because the Lebanese Loser on the door requires them to have a Qatar Airways tra * mp with them to get’m in lol..
are you THAT addicted to a drug that you cant watch a football match without drinking it?
Should have shot the movie in my office – lot of zombies and circus clowns, would have saved them some bucks…..
You must work with me dude. LOL.
Message to zombies, be sure to “Reflect your Respect”
A-level comedian here.
This is kind of cool! It also shows the difference between Qatar and Dubai when image and artistic license is taken into account. As an example, the destruction of the Doha skyline, no problem. However, when the video game ‘Spec Ops: The Line’ showed Dubai in a similar destroyed state, the UAE government banned the sale of the game.
A sign of a modern state is the ability to let your capitol be destroyed on film. Thank God because destroying New York is so passé.
A sign of a progressive state is that you wish for your Capitol to be, at least partially, destroyed?
Bye Bye London?
We will miss you…???
None of the zombies are doing the head bobble. Do you loose the bobble when you become a zombie… Yes… no… Maybe? LOL!
So, first the place sucks the life out of you, then it wants to eat your brains.
Already Zombies everywhere, look at the poor slaves on building sites…..
congratulations you win this years award for most comments unrelated to the article. i look forward to seeing how you relate every article to either A) villagio or B) kafala. good job sir
you forgot c) wc2022
Actually, I believe one of the films that screened at DTFF 2012 would count as Qatar’s first zombie film. DFI even held a “zombie run” at Katara to celebrate it.
We qualified it by saying first zombie film with ruined Doha skyline 🙂 And the other movie also gets a shoutout in the story!
The whole zombie storyline is too cliche nowadays and way overdone. If the storyline was about the ghost of a young national who died in a car accident coming to haunt expats who make disagreeable comments on Doha news, now that would be something worth seeing. As soon as they hit “post” and leave their homes, they drive on a major road and see a white landcruiser flying behind them flashing its lights rapidly, (a 1992 model landcruiser because that’s when the national died), they try to move to the next lane and suddenly the landcruiser is there, they try to move back and he is on their tail again, until eventually he causes their vehicle to lose control and flip over.
The best and most interesting part about this plot is the national ghost does not speak English very well, so sometimes he misinterprets positive comments made by expats about Qatar and still drives them off the roads of Doha, and the clever thing about this part is it reflects the unpredictable nature of things in Doha, as you can be doing the “right thing to do”and still find yourself getting f*****.
Perfect. Can I be in this movie please? I’d be great for the role: some days this ALMOST feels true! 🙂
Sure thing. There is a role for ESL tutor who fails the national, the innocent dn posting expat, the evil expat on dn, and the hero who is bilingual and helps the ghost understand English better so that he selects his targets more accurately. Take your pick of the available roles dude.
Haha, all take a crack at any of those roles as long as it includes being tailgated. I’ve become very adept at being tailgated while in Qatar. Unless, of course, your script isn’t finished yet and you’d consider a write in role: half-loony, fully-snaggletoothed footballer by day, undercover agent at night convinced that he’s going to prove that the phantom is the real guilty party and mastermind behind the 2022 WC scheme.
This looks like Musheribconstruction area 🙂