Doha has potential to become a film destination: Experts

 02 Oct 2015 - 17:37

Doha has potential to become a film destination: Experts

 

BY RAYNALD C RIVERA
DOHA: Doha has a potential to be a film destination with support from concerned sectors, say some local production firms.
“I’ve been here for 10 years in the film industry and it has grown phenomenally. Ten years ago there were one or two production companies, now there are probably 20,” said Kirby Kearns (pictured), Director, Resolution Productions.
Kearns was responding to a question on whether Doha can develop into a film destination, at a panel organised yesterday at Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) as part of the three-day ‘Focus on Qatar’ showcase by Doha Film Institute (DFI).
“The industry is growing. There are more people interested in it now and there’s a lot more opportunity for them,” added Kearns.
Stefan Lindberg-Jones, Managing Director, Ginger Camel, was of the same view.
“Eight years ago many high-end productions were produced and directed by companies abroad as local clients did not believe or trust local production firms. Over the past eight years, local production companies have worked hard to prove agencies and large companies here that there is an industry and that we are better than companies abroad,” said Jones.
However, there is a need to support local production houses to venture in short, documentary and feature films rather than focusing on making corporate and promotional videos.
“The only way for us to survive is go out to the corporate world and do promotional videos, and TV commercials; that’s our bread and butter,” said Jones, calling on local production houses to support each other.
Jones hailed yesterday’s event as ‘a big achievement for all production companies.’
“Our hope is that DFI and local production companies can work together to build an industry in Qatar, work together to promote local talent and films.”
He also pointed out the need to “put pressure on government agencies to ease permissions on filming here”.
“We would like to see a more structured situation in the industry. What I mean is there’s a proper charter for the production business with strategic goals,” suggested Simon Ferguson, Chief Operating Officer, Resolution Productions.
He also suggested a research on the production market in Qatar with cooperation of local production companies and supporting local talent.
“Ten percent of our employees are fresh graduates and interns. We have to give back and develop local talent,” he said.
Innovation Films is one of the local production companies committed to promoting local talent and elevating the industry by making films that have entered in international festivals. 
Like other companies, it had to resort to corporate videos but unlike others it uses it earnings to make short films.
“We have to go out to the corporate world to support what we love best and that’s short films, which I believe, with all due respect, other companies are not doing as much. There’s money to be made; money is being made and it does not cost much to support local talent and short films,” said George Chalouhi of Innovation Films.
Innovation Films has so far produced 13 short films and seven are in the works.
“One of our visions is to make Qatari films we can launch internationally. We had at the beginning put money into our projects.
Some we made from corporate videos we invested in our talent because we want them to constantly improve and get better and up the game,” said Bassam Al Ibrahim, CEO, Innovation Films.
The Peninsula