Films by NU-Q students win big at Ajyal fest

 06 Dec 2017 - 9:05

Films by NU-Q students win big at Ajyal fest
Chief Administrative Officer of Doha Film Institute Abdulla Jassim Al Mosallam (left), CEO of Doha Film Institute Fatma Al Remaihi (right) with award winners Nada Bedair, Rawda Al Thani, Nibu Vasudevan and Amal Al Muftah at the award ceremony during the Ajyal Youth Film Festival.

The Peninsula

Films on gender stereotyping, family relationships, and cultural barriers by Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) students and alumni won awards at this year’s Ajyal Youth Film Festival’s “Made in Qatar” section.

The films were made independently or with the support of NU-Q and Doha Film Institute’s workshops or funding programmes. 

“NU-Q has supported Ajyal since its inception five years ago and are delighted to see so many film entries from NU-Q students, graduates and faculty, each carrying an important message that addresses social, cultural, or political constructs. The awarding of four of these films is also an indication of the high-quality production our students, graduates, and faculty are bringing to the film industry,” said Everette E. Dennis, dean and CEO of NU-Q.

NU-Q student Amal Al Muftah – who won the Best Narrative Award for her film, Smicha – also received the Qatar Woman of the Year Award 2017 for Best Young Talent. Her film tells the story of the bond between a seven-year-old girl, Lulwa, and her elderly grandfather, who is beginning to show signs of senility. It has also just been announced that Al-Mufath’s film will also be available for viewing on Qatar Airway flights. 

Rawan Al Nassiri and Nada Bedair, also NU-Q students, won Best Documentary/Experimental Award for Treasures of the Past, a documentary that follows three older Qatari women as they strive to defy gender stereotypes by starting their own businesses.

The documentary was also screened at the Middle Eastern Studies Association annual meeting in Washington DC, and will be displayed during Qatar Foundation’s upcoming Town Hall event, “I AM QF.” 

“The award is a celebration of the Qatari women from previous generations who constantly fought against forced gender stereotypes. To me personally, it is an acknowledgment of those warriors who refused to lean on anyone but themselves,” said Al Nassiri.

NU-Q alumna Rawda Al Thani received the Special Jury Documentary/Experimental Award for her abstract short film I Have Been Watching You All Along which follows a woman as she explores an abandoned cinema, guarded by men, through a trance-like journey into its past by using the film reels she finds. 

Also recognised at the festival was NU-Q Professor Rana Kazkaz for her film, Mare Nostrum, which she co-directed with Anas Khalaf. 

Four other films by NU-Q students and alumni were also screened at the festival. These were The Palm Tree by Jassim Al Rumaihi, Kashta by AJ Al Thani, Makh’bz by Aisha Al Muhannadi, and Our Time is Running Out by Meriem Mesraoua.