Ajyal’s youth jury programme, the Doha Film Experience, is the central plank of the fest, which fosters film education in Qatar and the surrounding Persian Gulf region where moviemaking is a relatively new storytelling form.
More than 400 jurors from 45 countries – divided in three age categories: 8-12, 13-17 and 18-21 – attended last year’s inaugural edition. The event is modelled on Italy’s Giffoni Film Festival for children with whom the DFI has a partnership.
“The first edition proved that film can truly bring people together,” enthused Ajyal fest artistic director Fatma Al Remaihi (pictured) in a statement.
“Through the second edition we will continue to contribute to the growth of Qatar’s film culture with a program designed to spark young imaginations and inspire the next generation,” she added.
A highlight of the fest will be the “Made in Qatar” segment, supporting local filmmakers and giving them an opportunity to showcase their work.
The fest also features an interactive digital space called The Sandbox, which offers access to the latest film and multi-media technologies, allowing audiences to interact, learn about film, and create their stories using apps and other digital tools.
Ajyal is one of two new fests being launched by the DFI after it scrapped the Doha-Tribeca fest in 2013. The other new DFI event is the eight-day Qumra Film Festival for first-and-second time helmers, which had been announced along with Ajyal in 2013 at Cannes, but has since been put on hold.