Palestinian docu ‘Speed Sisters’ to Open Doha Film Institute’s Ajyal Fest

The world preem of “Speed Sisters,” a docu about the first female race-car driving team in the Middle East, will open the second edition of Doha Film Institute’s Ajyal Youth Film Festival.

“Speed Sisters,” which is the debut feature of Lebanese-Canadian director Amber Fares, is about what motivates five women to become speed race drivers in the region, challenging social expectations, community politics and family dynamics, and also facing movement restrictions by the Israeli military.

The film was developed with support from the Sundance Institute and also Doha Film Institute’s grants, plus several international film funds and hundreds of crowdfunding backers.

Fatma Al Remaihi, who is Ajyal fest director and acting CEO of the Doha Film Institute, called it “a wonderful example of a film that explores some of the questions and challenges faced by young people in our region involving notions of tradition and modernity.”

Director Fares will be in tow for the opening night along with a delegation of the film’s cast and crew.

Enthused Fares: “We have spent five years in Palestine bringing this story to the screen and I am very excited that Doha will mark the start of our festival journey.”

The Ajyal fest’s previously announced closer is the Middle East preem of “Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet,” the animation portmanteau pic based on works by Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran that bowed in Toronto.

The fest’s full lineup will be announced early November.

The second edition of the Ajyal Youth Film Festival, where hundreds of kids and adolescents ages 8-21 are jurors, will run Dec. 1-6.

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