From intimate portraits to sweeping epics and dreamlike animations, there is something to please everyone.
Doha, Qatar; Nov 29, 2017: Tomorrow (Thursday, Nov. 30), the fifth Ajyal Youth Film Festival, presented by the Doha Film Institute, takes filmgoers from the wilds of Montana to Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, to the Step dance-offs of Baltimore and the paediatric ward of a French hospital, through stories that will inspire, thrill and warm the heart.
In Walking Out (USA/2017), Alex and Andrew J. Smith, writer-directors and twins, take an apparently simple story – a chilly reunion between a father and his fourteen-year-old son – and turn it into a gripping, emotional rollercoaster. When David flies out to Montana to see his estranged father Cal for the first time in a year, things don’t go smoothly at first until the pair join forces to hunt a moose Cal has been tracking. What follows is a thrilling and deeply touching life-or-death battle between the two would-be hunters and Mother Nature. The film will screen tomorrow at 9:30PM and on Dec. 4 at 6PM.
Showing at 9:15PM tomorrow, Step (USA/2016) follows the lives of the formidable Lethal Ladies from the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women as they perfect their footwork for upcoming Step Dance competitions whilst struggling to get into the universities of their choice. In the hands of director Amanda Lipitz, what could have been an ordinary fly-on-the-wall documentary tells a story of camaraderie, determination and, ultimately, success.
A tribute to the humour, resolve and grit with which five chronically-ill French youngsters lead their lives, Anne-Dauphine Julliand’s Everyday Heroes (France/2016) is a privileged, intimate portrayal of their hopes and fears, and as you watch the children grow and mature. This film, screening tomorrow at 8:30PM, is proof that even lives that are difficult or cut short can be rousing celebrations of the joys of life.
Additional full-length features tomorrow include Faruk Šabanović and Amela Cuhara’s Birds Like Us (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkey, UK, USA, Qatar / 2017), a dreamlike full-length animation based on Persian poet Farid Ud-din Attar’s ‘The Conference of the Birds’ and Theeb (Jordan, UAE, UK, Qatar / 2014), an epic coming-of-age story set in a Bedouin encampment in the Arabian Peninsula during the Arab Revolt directed by Naji Abu Nowar, as well as Tala Hadid’s Amazigh-language House in the Fields (Morocco, Qatar / 2017), which explores the oral tradition of history practiced in the high peaks of the Atlas Mountain of Morocco.
Outside the films, the Ajyal 2017 Family Weekend opens tomorrow from 6 to 10PM and takes place at the Katara Esplanade (and on Friday and Saturday from 3PM), offering activities for children and adults alike. Over at Katara Buildings 18 and 19, Geekdom, a pop culture feast of comics, competitions, cosplay, movies, TV series and video games and LeBlockade, a multimedia celebration of Qatar’s cultural resilience take place from 10AM to 10PM.
Tickets are priced QR25 for general screening, and are available for purchase 24 hours a day at ajyalfilm.com or from the Ajyal Katara Main Box Office in Katara Building 12 or Ajyal FNAC Ticket Outlet, FNAC Qatar at Doha Festival City.
The Ajyal Youth Film Festival is made possible thanks to its partners: Katara Cultural Village as its Cultural Partner; Qatar Tourism Authority is the Strategic Partner, and Occidental Petroleum Corporation and Ooredoo are the Principal Partners. For more details on the Ajyal Youth Film Festival, please visit www.dohafilminstitute.com/filmfestival.