The reconceived eight-day fest, which will see emerging filmmakers from the Middle East competing on an even keel with international helmers, will be complemented by out-of-competition sections and industry-focused programming.
“We want to become the go-to place for filmmakers who are starting out no matter where they are from,” DFI Chief Executive Officer Abdulaziz Al Khater, told Variety.
“The energy of our multicultural mix is bound to rub off on filmmakers in the region,” Al Khater added.
In May, after severing ties with Tribeca Enterprises, the DFI announced it had brought Palestinian auteur Elia Suleiman on board as artistic advisor and re-invented its festival activity, now split into two separate events.
The goal for the Qumra fest is to create a network for first-time filmmakers worldwide to show their films and even get them made.
The new dates position the new Doha fest at the start of the Middle East fest season, at a greater distance from the Abu Dhabi and Dubai fests, slotted respectively in October and December.
The DFI’s other new fest, the Ajyal Film Festival for the Young, modeled on Italy’s Giffoni fest, where hundreds of kids are jurors and with whom it has a pact, has moved into Doha’s traditional November slot and will run Nov. 26-30.
Al Khater said Qumra Doha Film Festival, which recently forged a partnership with the Sarajevo Film Festival and it’s Cine Link co-production market for emerging helmers, is looking to expand partnerships with other like-minded events.
The DFI has appointed three programme advisors who will support DFI’s programming team to curate films for the first edition of the fest. The team now includes well-established experts Paolo Bertolin for the Asia Pacific region; Violeta Bava, for the Central American, South American, and Caribbean regions; and Cary Rajinder Sawhney, for the Indian subcontinent.
Sawhney was formerly the Head of Diversity at the British Film Institute.
They will work under Suleiman’s supervision alongside DFI’s Head of Film Programming Ludmila Cvikova and Resident Filmmaker and Programmer, Chadi Zeneddine.