Fatma Hassan al-Remaihi
Fatma Hassan al-Remaihi

The 2020 online edition of the Ajyal Film Festival provides an opportunity for more jurors outside the country to take part in the event and for viewers to watch films from their home countries, Doha Film Institute (DFI) CEO and festival director Fatma Hassan al-Remaihi has said.
“What makes it (Ajyal) really unique is it was a challenge by itself this year to prepare and plan for it, but it opens new doors for us that we were not able to have. For example, now we have for the jury program, we can have more jurors from outside Qatar because it is online so it is easier to have as many jurors as we want,” she told a virtual press briefing yesterday.
Al-Remaihi noted that they were confined to the number of people who could travel and come during previous editions of the annual event. But now, she said, more people can watch from their own countries or from their own homes.
Such a setup, she added, opens up the jury program internationally and DFI has been working closely with many organizations in different countries to recruit jurors. DFI is expecting between 450 and more than 500 jurors this year.
According to al-Remaihi, the latest edition also provides a chance for many people in the region to experience Ajyal compared to the regular program where online those who live or visit Qatar can come and watch.
The eighth edition of Ajyal will take place from November 18 to 23 “in a new hybrid format that extends the spirit of Ajyal into a virtual space for immersive creative expression and community.” Part of the festival this year includes the Ajyal Competition awards, which will run online to ensure the safety of participants.
Al-Remaihi said the festival has two tiers: the first tier is for people under 18 who register as jurors and will have everything available to them online except one screening in person, while the second tier is for 18 to 25-year-olds who can come to Katara – the Cultural Village (with all safety measures in place in co-operation with concerned government agencies to deliver a safe festival) and watch films in small groups.
“I want to give parents peace of mind, their children have the option to register and do it online or bring them to the festival to watch a film. We are basically taking the same approach (blended learning like in schools), and there are opportunities for people to enjoy the festival,” she said.
“We are really working hard to deliver a safe festival and taking into consideration all the necessary precautions,” al-Remaihi added.
Categorized in three competition segments – Mohaq (ages 8-12), Hilal (age 13-17), and Bader (age 18-25), the Ajyal jurors evaluate a curated film program that includes feature films and short films appropriate to their age brackets.
DFI noted that “being an Ajyal Juror is a highly creative learning experience that instills an appreciation of cinema as well as the values of teamwork, critical thinking, and leadership.”