The Doha Film Institute unveiled today its lineup for the 2nd annual Ajyal Film Festival. The fest, which unspools December 1-6, will host 90 films from 43 countries including the Middle East premiere of Salma Hayek-produced Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet, directed by Roger Allers (The Lion King).
The animated film, based on the Lebanese writer’s iconic long-form meditative poem, features the voices of Liam Neeson, John Krasinski and Hayek. DFI co-financed and co-produced the film, which will close the festival. Hayek will be attending the premiere.
Festival director and acting DFI chief exec Fatma Al-Remaihi has also placed a firm emphasis on local filmmaking talent with a Made In Qatar section that boasts 20 short films by Qatari filmmakers.
“This year, we were overwhelmed by the number of submissions by professionals and aspiring filmmakers. We are also delighted that we have been able to support their ambitions through our filmmaking challenges and look forward to sharing the results of these initiatives through the Made in Qatar programs,” said Al-Remaihi.
“The thematic diversity and quality of projects in the Made in Qatar section is a testament to the growth and vibrancy within the creative community of our nation.”
Also confirmed to attend is Jordanian director Naji Abu Nowar to present Theeb, which also received financing from DFI. The film, a coming-of-age story of a Bedouin boy who embarks on a perilous journey across the desert as the Ottoman Empire crumbles, has already won the Orrizonti Award for Best Director at the Venice Film Festival this year; as well as best Arab Film and the FIPRESCI Prize for best narrative feature at the recent Abu Dhabi Film Festival.