Qumra means “camera” in Arabic, and this word can be traced back to Arabic scientist, astronomer and mathematician Alhazen (Ibn al-Haytham, 965-c.1040 CE),
whose work in optics laid out the principles of the camera obscura.
And now a new experiment is taking place for the second year. Designed for first and second time filmmakers, somewhat similar to
Mexico’s first such event which I attended last month, Pueblo Magico
, the Qumra Industry Manager, Ali Khechen has close ties to Mexico, having worked for seven years with
Guanajuato Film Festival and a good friend of Pueblo Magico’s Flavio Florencio.
Following the huge success of its inaugural edition, Qumra, set to take place in Doha March 4 to 9, 2016, just announced the first two acclaimed filmmakers
who will serve as Masters: Japanese filmmaker Naomi Kawase (“Suzaku”, “Still The Water”,
“An”) and Argentinian filmmaker Lucrecia Martel (“La Ciénaga”, “The Headless Woman”).
They will mentor first and second-time filmmakers to support the development of emerging filmmakers both from Qatar and around the world.
As part of their role as Qumra Masters, each of the seasoned filmmakers will participate in a series of master classes, workshops and one-on-one sessions
with participating Qumra projects and industry professionals from around the world, with the filmmakers acclaimed work being screened for Doha audiences
during the event.
The Qumra Meetings are a series of one-on-one meetings, workshops and tailored mentoring sessions between representatives from the 25
selected projects and seasoned industry experts.
The Qumra Master Classes are daily sessions; each led by one of the Masters. Participating filmmakers have full access to these sessions.
The Qumra Screenings are open to the public and feature projects funded by the Institute through its grants and co-financing initiatives,
as well as a series of films chosen by the Qumra Masters accompanied by Q&A sessions.
Fatma Al Remaihi, CEO of Doha Film Institute said: “The inaugural edition of Qumra had a meaningful impact not only on those who participated, but on the
industry as a whole. The summit garnered productive results and offered tangible benefits to all in attendance and the contribution of our Masters was a
key part of the success of our new initiative.”
“Naomi and Lucrecia are each masters of their craft, who have established their unique voices in world cinema and we are looking forward to welcoming them
to Qumra in March,” continued Al Remaihi.
Filmmaker and Doha Film Institute Artistic Advisor Elia Suleiman said: “Having Lucrecia
and Naomi give master classes at Qumra is very compelling because they both possess what it takes to be Masters of cinema – a unique sensibility and
cinematic prowess – yet they are
young enough to connect and be in the close proximity of the cinematic experience of the young generation of filmmakers who will participate at Qumra.”
Japanese filmmaker Naomi Kawase gained international acclaim in 1997 when she became the youngest winner of the Camera d’Or at Festival de
Cannes with her first feature film “Suzaku.” In 2007, her film “The Mourning Forest,” won the Cannes Film Festival Grand Prix. Her work is
heavily associated with the distorted space between fiction and non-fiction and she is known for employing an almost documentary-style realism in her work.
Kawase’s presence in Cannes continued with her 2011 film “Hanezu” which premiered In Competition in 2011 and in 2013 she was a member of the main
competition jury. Her 2014 film “Still the Water” was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or in 2014 and her most recent film, “An” –
which had its Middle East premiere in Doha at this week’s Ajyal Youth Film Festival – was screened in the Un Certain Regard section in 2015. Kawase is the
founder of the Nara International Film Festival which is known for its support for and collaboration with emerging filmmakers from all over the world.
Argentinian filmmaker Lucrecia Martel has been described by critics as one of the members of the so-called ‘New Argentine Cinema’.
Beginning her career directing shorts, her debut feature “La Ciénaga” received several international awards and was voted the greatest Latin
American film of the decade in a poll of New York film critics, programers and industry professionals. Follow up films “La Niña Santa”/”The Holy Girl” and
“The Headless Woman” were both selected for competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004 and 2008 respectfully. Martel’s films have also been acclaimed
at Berlin, Sundance, Toronto, New York and Rotterdam, among others. Retrospectives of her work have been screened around the world, including prestigious
institutions like Harvard, Berkeley and the London Tate Museum. She has taken part in official juries in Berlin, Cannes, Venice, Sundance, and Rotterdam
and Martel is currently in post-production of her fourth film, “Zama” to be premiered in 2016.
Previous Qumra Masters include Mexican actor, director and producer Gael Garcia Bernal (“Amores Perro”s, “No”,” Deficit”), Mauritanian director
Abderrahmane Sissako (“Timbuktu” – nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2015 Academy Awards); Romanian auteur and Palme d’Or
winner Cristian Mungiu (“4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days”, “Beyond the Hills”); and Bosnian writer/director Danis Tanović (“An Episode in the Life of an Iron
Picker” “Tigers”, “No Man’s Land” – winner of Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2001).