DOHA – Salma Hayek and a delegation from the passion project she produced, animation pic “Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet,” pranced down the red carpet of the second Ajyal Youth Film Festival in Doha, as the event, where 450 youths are the jurors, wrapped on a high note.
“The Prophet” was partly financed by the Doha Film Institute. “I have to say that the first support that I got was from Doha,” Hayek said during a presser.
“For us it was very important to have in the project someone who was also from the region,” she added. “As international as this film is, it does have the Middle East at its core, and this was important for us.”
The out-of-competition Doha gala screening of “The Prophet” was preceded by the first live performance of themes from the film by composer Gabriel Yared, who conducted a 20-member orchestra on stage, which also performed two of his pieces from “The English Patient” and “The Talented Mr Ripley.”
Also on hand were writer-director Roger Allers, co-directors Mohammed Saeed Harib and Joan Gratz, and producers Clark Peterson and Jose Tamez.
The Doha Film Experience competition winners, picked by the 450 young jurors between the ages of 8 and 21, included U.S. director Damien Chazelle’s darkly comic “Whiplash,” a portrait of an obsessive 19-year-old drummer who clashes with his ferocious instructor at a cutthroat music academy. “Whiplash” won in the young adults category, voted by jurors aged 18 to 21.
Feature film winner in the category voted by jurors between 13 and 17 was Canadian director Allan Harmon’s coming-of-age pic “If I Had Wings,” about a blind teenage track runner.
The second edition of Ajyal ran December 1-6.
(Pictured: Salma Hayek-Pinault and Fatma Al Remaihi, acting CEO of Doha Film Institute)