The Doha Film Institute has launched a film fund designed to support Qatari filmmakers. The announcement, made during the Ajyal Film Festival, will see up to four features and up to eight short films supported by the Qatari Film Fund. At least one feature film from the development fund will also receive production funds in 2016.

The move is part of a strategic recalibration of DFI led by acting CEO Fatma Al Remaihi, also director of the Ajyal Film Festival.  The development fund will offer up to $50,000 for feature films, with another $50,000 as a combined development and production award to short films.

“Through film, and in fact, all forms of culture and entertainment, we reflect ourselves,” commented Al Remaihi, who is widely respected at home and abroad for her work at DFI “We reflect our human experience – our beliefs, custom, tradition, language and our culture. Nurturing the creative community of our own country is vital to accurately reflect our stories on screen – so that we can share them amongst ourselves and also with the rest of the world. It is with this in mind that we launch the Qatari Film Fund and I am confident that it will add another exciting dimension to the Qatari film industry.”

The 2nd Ajyal festival, designed for youth audiences, wraps Dec. 6 with the Middle East premiere of animated feature Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, which DFI co-produced and co-financed along with Salma Hayek-Pinault and Participant.  The film, directed by Roger Allers (The Lion King), is an adaptation of Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran’s iconic long-form meditation on life and love.

The animated film is based on the 1923 classic collection of Gibran's spiritual and philosophical poetic essays.
The animated film is based on the 1923 classic collection of Gibran’s spiritual and philosophical poetic essays.

DFI will work jointly with each granted project to develop and finalize their script, establish a budget and schedule, secure a creative and technical team to shoot the film and provide mentorship opportunities with industry specialists where required.