DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Oscar-winning Iranian director Asghar Farhadi (“A Separation”), French auteur Bruno Dumont (“Slack Bay”), and Cambodian-born documentary filmmaker Rithy Panh (“Exile”) are the first recruited masters for the Doha Film Institute’s 2017 Qumra event which blends creative workshop and festival elements.
“I think it’s great for us to have this diversity,” said DFI artistic advisor Elia Suleiman in an interview. He noted that being able to infuse young Arab directors with “Farhadi’s hyper-real visual interpretation of social settings; Dumont’s masterful and painterly cinematic tableaux; and Panh’s tender, personal explorations of past cruelties” will help Qumra “persist as a space of surprise and a place of discovery, thereby preserving its identity as the hidden side of the creative process.”
As part of their role each Qumra Master will participate in a series of masterclasses, workshops and one-on-one sessions with directors of participating DFI-backed projects and industry professionals from around the world, and also screen one of their pics for Doha audiences.
Two more Qumra Masters will be announced during the Berlin Film Festival.
Qumra, which is an Arab word believed to be the origin of the word “camera,” is a unique format event conceived to help foster first and second works by mostly Arab directors. Last year it was centered around 33 projects, mostly from the Arab world.
In 2017 it will provide creative and professional support to helmers and producers attached to as many as 25 features and 10 shorts in development or post. These will include some emerging filmmakers from Qatar as well as Arab and international funding recipients from the DFI’s grants program.
More than 100 prominent international execs attended the curated informal event last year. Among them reps from the Cannes, Toronto, and Locarno fests, alongside international sales and production execs, including one from Netflix.
Past Qumra masters include Mexican multihyphenate Gael Garcia Bernal; Romanian director Cristian Mungiu; U.S. producer and director James Schamus; Russian director Aleksandr Sokurov; Bosnian director Danis Tanovic; and Japanese director Naomi Kawase.
The third edition of Qumra is set to take place in Doha March 3-8, 2017.