U.S. director Bennett Miller (“Foxcatcher”) and Oscar-winning British costume designer Sandy Powell (“The Aviator”) have been recruited by the Doha Film Institute to give master classes and mentoring sessions during the Doha Film Institute’s annual Qumra event which has also announced participating projects for the event that blends creative workshop and festival elements.
Miller and Powell will be joining join Andrey Zvyagintsev, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Gianfranco Rosi as 2018 Qumra Masters.
The 34 selected projects on display during Qumra — which will run in Doha March 9 to 14 — comprise titles likely to surface later this year on the festival circuit, such as “Weldi,” about a Tunisian father coming to terms with his son joining Isis, directed by Tunisia’s Mohamed Ben Attia, whose first feature “Hedi” made a splash at the 2016 Berlinale; “Late to Die Young” by Chile’s Dominga Sotomayor (“Thursday Till Sunday,” “Mar”) ; and “The Load,” which is set during the 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia and is directed by Serbian director Ognjen Glavonic, whose “Depth Two” launched from the 2016 Berlinale Forum. These titles are in Qumra’s Picture Lock section.
Works-in-progress selected for Qumra comprise “1982,” a wartime romancer in which Lebanese multi-hyphenate Nadine Labaki stars as an anguished school teacher; French-Moroccan director Meryem Benm’Barek’s “Sofia,” being sold by France’s Playtime; and Sudanese director’s Hajooj Kuka’s “A Kasha,” an offbeat romancer set against the backdrop of Sudan’s civil war which scooped the top prize at last year’s Finale Cut in Venice workshop.
Qumra, which is an Arab word believed to be the origin of the word “camera,” was established four years ago by the DFI to help foster first and second works mostly by Arab directors.