DFI CEO Fatma al-Remaihi.

By Joey Aguilar /Staff Reporter

Adapting to the online programme for Qumra 2020 edition has sped up Doha Film Institute’s (DFI) learning curve and opened a new scope for digital formats to expand the reach of its various programmes and initiatives in the future, DFI CEO Fatma al-Remaihi has said.
“With Qumra 2020, we were able to test the limits of our digital capabilities when it comes to online learning facilities, collaborations and workshops. We have certainly learned a lot in a very short amount of time,” she told Gulf Times.
The annual event, which was initially cancelled to mitigate any potential risks associated with the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), has proceeded with an adapted online mentorship and support format on its original schedule – March 20-25.
Despite the current situation, DFI witnessed a positive impact of the outbreak in organising a much-awaited event, which commenced with 46 selected projects from 20 countries.
“It (online programme) also reinforced our belief that the universal mediums of art, film and music transcends limitations of other mass communication, and unites people from discrete communities and disparate geographies in a common space of visual learning and understanding,” al-Remaihi said.
“With a blueprint in hand, we are now well equipped to apply a similar format; additionally, we are exploring how to best integrate online learning and workshop platforms within the Institute’s educational programmes that run year-round to maximise our impact on the burgeoning arts and culture community in the Arab world and beyond,” she stressed.
Qumra’s three core elements – mentorship (centrepiece of the programme), industry connections and match-made meetings, work-in-progress (WiP) features and shorts – took place online.
Such experience, al-Remaihi noted, reinforced DFI’s awareness that digital platforms are integral to the future of communication and learning.
“Particularly in times of physical isolation, we can draw on modern means of communication to engage with one another and keep the creative spirit alive,” she said.
“In addition to the online sessions as part of Qumra 2020, we are currently using our digital platforms to remind everybody that we are all in this together, and that we can face and overcome challenges as a global community — particularly when we continue to draw on the creative arts to propel us forward,” al-Remaihi observed.
As a leading Institute in the region dedicated to the advancement of cinema and the empowerment of underrepresented voices from the Arab world and beyond, she said DFI proudly serves its core mission to draw on film, art and culture in a meaningful way to educate and create meaningful change.
About how special and unique is Qumra 2020, al-Remaihi said the Institute’s capacity to adapt an online programme quickly in these challenging time, as well as maintain the momentum crucial to the success of emerging filmmakers from across the globe, will make this edition memorable for all involved.
“We were able to mobilise people across 30 countries for a shared passion of cinema- highlighting the power of the human mind and its ability to rise above personal challenges and provide emerging voices with an opportunity to show the world their point of view.
This is truly special,” she said.
“The adapted edition of Qumra showed that there are no physical boundaries to the human spirit and its innate drive to create, connect and collaborate.”
Al-Remaihi lauded Qatar’s Information and Communication Technology infrastructure in setting up the sessions, especially the series of discussions with the speakers, as part of the Qumra programme.
“In Qatar, we are fortunate to have access to state-of-the-art technologies and systems that support the seamless adaptation of the Qumra programme into an online format, allowing us to connect with industry experts and filmmakers from across the globe (participants in 30 countries) and to let the creative process persevere,” she added.