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.