The yearly, five days long Qumra event in Qatar, held by the Doha Film Institute each March is that rare occasion for those of us who write about cinema to connect with the filmmakers, producers, film programmers, sales agents and festival directors who make the magic happen. Don’t misunderstand me now, I think film journalists and bloggers are equally to praise or blame for great movies being made. Our collective word, the reviews and interviews we manage to sell to publications or feature on our blogs, can create a movement that reverberates around the world. I know colleagues who pride themselves on making or breaking someone’s career. It’s not nice, but it is true. Take the case of Gianfranco Rosi’s ‘Below Sea Level’ and the infamous Variety review that ensured the film never made it to a cinema near you — a fact the filmmaker mentioned in his Masterclass at last year’s Qumra.
That said, in Doha there is a great energy created by the powers that be of the DFI, which allows journalists to relate to the film projects in such a personal way that it’s impossible thereafter to dislike it or even ignore it.Read More