By Talha Ozturk
DOHA, Qatar (AA) - The seventh Ajyal Film Festival presented by the Doha Film Institute (DFI) kicked off in Qatar's capital Doha with a traditional red carpet walk on Monday evening.
With the theme "Find Film, Find Life”, some 96 films from 39 countries will be shown at the international festival on Nov. 18-24.
Film fans flocked to the capital for the festival which aims to encourage young generations towards movie culture.
This year's festival was inaugurated with Palestinian auteur Elia Suleiman’s "It Must Be Heaven". The film is about Suleiman’s experience of leaving Palestine to find an alternative homeland. The promise of a new life turns into a comedy of errors; however far he travels, from Paris to New York, something always reminds him of home.
Suleiman said at the red carpet that his movie was about global violence, globalization and Palestinization of the world.
Meanwhile, American actor Chace Crawford took part in the grand opening of the festival.
Expressing his excitement Crawford told reporters that the Ajyal festival is "amazing".
"It is my first time in Qatar. It is amazing to get the young generations into the film making to get to see the cinema, to see short films, independent films. It is nice to keep the independent spirit alive. I never seen such a festival with children juries and I think Ajyal Festival is amazing," said Crawford.
During the festival, 23 features and 73 shorts will compete in three Ajyal Juries awards the best film prize to their favorite short and feature-length films, for a total of six awards.
The jury is composed of three age groups. The first is Mohaq, meaning "New Moon" in Arabic and aged 8-12; the second is "Hilal" -- "Crescent Moon", aged 13-17 and the third "Bader" -- "Full Moon", aged 18-21.
There are over 450 jurors from 45 different nationalities including, Bosnia Herzegovina, Turkey, Italy, and the U.K.
Fifty film entries are from the Arab world and 56 competing filmmakers are women.
The directors of the winning films will be awarded funding for their next film, so jurors are empowered to support and promote future content that is relevant and important to them, in a proactive way.
Interactive discussions, red carpet events, and community-oriented activities that inspire creative interaction and stimulate cinematic dialogue and discussions will also feature at the event.
Marking the Qatar-India 2019 Year of Culture, there will be a "Made in India" section at the festival, comprising of a selection of short films curated by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Images.
The event especially focuses on films made locally in Qatar; short films for children as young as four years old; brilliant examples of animation, drama, and comedy and heavy-hitting documentaries for the serious cinephile.
The 2019 Made in Qatar program will shine the spotlight on Qatari talents with 22 films, including the world premieres of next-completed projects from Qatari Film Fund recipients.
Moreover, the Ajyal Creativity Hub will include Qatar’s largest and one-of-a-kind pop-culture event, Geekdom; Ajyal Talks that will gather leaders from film, art, television and technology for inspiring and insightful discussions; the new Ajyal Tunes, which will shine the spotlight on the country’s underground music scene and the ARC Exhibition celebrating the art of storytelling.
"Ajyal", which is Arabic for "generations", brings people of all ages together through screenings of films from around the world to Doha's Katara Cultural Village.