The Doha Film Institute’s Qumra event dedicated to fostering fresh Arab film fare through high-caliber mentorships and curated networking with a select group of top industry executives has been cancelled due to coronavirus concerns.
“Although this is an extremely important event for our community and participants, the wellbeing of the residents and visitors to Qatar remains our first priority,” organizers announced on Tuesday in a statement.
“The 46 selected projects remain a priority for the DFI this year,” the statement added.
“We will work internally to find solutions to best support them through this period of new challenges and will inform you of opportunities where you can contribute to the success of this year’s selected projects,” it said.
Directors Claire Denis, James Gray, and Jessica Hausner, as well as Oscar-nominated cinematographer Phedon Papamichael and sound designer Mark A. Mangini had been slated to attend Qumra’s 2020 edition that was scheduled to run March 20-25 in the Qatari capital.
Qumra, which is an Arab word believed to be the origin of the word “camera,” is dedicated to supporting and shepherding first and second works mostly by Arab directors. The mentors, through one-on-one meetings and master classes, would have nurtured the talent attached to the 46 projects from 20 countries in development or post-production stages.
The unique event, conceived six-years ago by Palestinian director Elia Suleiman (pictured), who is Qumra’s creative director, blends creative workshop and festival elements, and is usually attended by over 100 industry experts, including reps from most major festivals.
Qumra recently expanded into the TV content space filling a gap, given that there aren’t any other events in the region serving as a market for Arabic series projects.