They say if you want to learn about something, go to the source.
For filmmakers in the Middle East, but also around the world, Elia Suleiman has long been the Oracle, the man with a knowledge to create momentous cinema, cinema that can change the world. Suleiman is the most brilliant source today of modern Arab cinema, the kind that breaks across borders and tears down the divide -- as his frequent trips to international film festivals and award ceremonies have proved.
So I thought, if it works for filmmakers, it could work for me. I shall ask Suleiman about Qumra myself, so I can unravel the mystery of this yearly event held in Qatar, under the auspices of the Doha Film Institute. I mean, the DFI has been very open and forthcoming about their week-long-mentorship-slash-industry-meet-and-greet-slash-film-connection event, but I still hadn't found a fascinating enough explanation of it in the media. One that would hold my attention and really explain the ins and out of Qumra.
Until I met Suleiman, DFI's Artistic Advisor and Hanaa Issa, Deputy Director of Qumra and Director of Strategy and Development at Doha Film Institute during Berlinale. One Sunday morning in Berlin, a leisurely breakfast talk later and now eagerly anticipating the start of Qumra in Doha, I finally understand. Read More