Sundance Winners, Oscar Nominees & Emmy-Feted Directors Head To Doha Film Institutes Qumra Talent Incubator Full List Of Feature & Series Projects

Sundance prize winner Sofia Alaoui, Yemeni-Scottish Oscar-nominee Sara Ishaq and Emmy-feted Egyptian cinematographer Muhammad Hamdy will be among filmmakers presenting projects at the Doha Film Institute’s Qumra event, unfolding in Qatar March 10-15.

The nine edition of the talent incubator aimed at DFI grantee filmmakers will showcase 44 projects from 23 countries as it returns as a physical event for the first time since 2019.

Moroccan-French director Alaoui, who won Sundance’s World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award: Creative Vision for her fantasy drama Animalia in January, attends with a new series which is in development.

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Titled Let The Earth Burn, it revolves around a police academy graduate who is posted to a remote town in the Atlas Mountains despite coming top of her year.

Ishaq, who was Oscar-nominated for short film Karama Has No Walls, will present her second feature project The Station set against a women-only gas station in a gender-segregated village in war-torn Yemen.

Hamdy, who shared an Emmy for outstanding cinematography for his work on Egyptian revolution documentary The Square, will unveil his first fiction feature project Perfumed With Mint about a friends reunion that takes a nightmarish turn.

Works in post-production include Lina Soualem’s documentary Bye Bye Tiberias about her mother, the award-winning Palestinian actress Hiam Abbass, whose recent credits have included Ramy and Succession.

The bio-doc explores Abbass’s decision to leave her native village in the Galilee to pursue her dreams of an acting career and how the women in her family she left her behind have influenced her life.

“Our goal is to support independent voices in cinema in their script-to-screen journey,” said DFI CEO Fatma Hassan Alremaihi as the selection was unveiled. “The skills filmmakers learn at Qumra will be invaluable in their journey, not only in connecting their projects to global audiences but in gaining exceptional insights into the craft of filmmaking.”

The projects in development will receive advice from international film and TV professsionals specialized in production, sales and film film finance while there will be closed rough-cut screenings for fims in post-production open to festival programmers, broadcasters, market representatives, sales agents and distributors.

Aside from some 100 professional guests, the event will also invite five so-called previously announced Qumra masters.

They comprise playwright, screenwriter and director Christopher Hampton, producer David Parfitt, costume designer Jacqueline West and filmmakers Lynne Ramsay and Michael Winterbottom. They will each give a masterclass on their careers and mentor individual partipants.

The full list of 2023 Qumra Projects (synopses provided by the DFI)

Feature Narrative – development

Perfumed with Mint (Egy-Fr-Qat-Brazil)
Dir. Muhammed Hamdy.
Old friends reunite in a nightmare where mint sprouts out of their bodies. Relentlessly chased by ruthless shadows, will the companions escape the maze, or will they endlessly hide in empty streets filled with memories?

The Other Wife (Fr-Qatar-Alg))(working title)
Dir. Meriem Mesraoua
Salima adopts extreme measures to save the illusory refuge of her marriage, and is confronted with the fragility of her long-preserved image.

El Bastardiya – Once Upon A Time In Tripoli (Lib-Egy-Fr-Qat)
Dir. Abdullah Al-Ghaly
Three friends try to survive in Tripoli, where violence is the rule of the land.

Weedestine (Pal-Jor-Qat-Saudi Arabia )
Dir. Said Zagha
Abbas, a self-righteous, middle-aged car mechanic living in Palestine’s lawless ‘Area-C’, where marijuana cultivation is thriving, who will do anything to avenge his older son’s death.

Feature Narrative – in-production

Thank You for Banking with Us! (Ger-Pal-Qat).
Dir. Laila Abbas
Two bickering, impoverished sisters try to overcome their differences in order to beat the system. They successfully concoct a scheme and finally get a chance to start over.

Sink (Jor-Fr-Swe-Qat)
Dir. Zain Duraie
Nadia’s life begins to slowly change when she finds herself sinking into her teenage son’s undiagnosed mental illness.

The Station (Yem-Jor-Fr-Nl- Qat)
Dir. Sara Ishaq
Layal runs a women-only petrol station in a gender-segregated, war-torn village in Yemen to shield her 12-year-old brother from recruitment.

Feature Narrative – post-production

Brief History of a Family (Ch-Den-Fr-Qat)
Dir. A middle-class family becomes intertwined with a mysterious new friend of their only son.

If Only I Could Hibernate (Mon-Fr-Switz-Qat)
Dir. Zoljargal Purevdash
A poor but prideful teenager who is determined to win a physics scholarship.

Hounds (Fr-Mor-Bel-Qat)
Dir. Kamal Lazraq
In the working-class suburbs of Casablanca, father and son Hassan and Issam struggle to survive from day to day.

Tiger Stripes (Malay-Tw-Sg-Fr-Gr-Nl-Indo-Qat)
Dir. Amanda Nell Eu
A girl discovers a terrifying secret about her physical self.

Backstage (Mor-Tun-Bel-Fr)
Dirs: Afef Ben Mahmoud and Khalil Benkirane
Aida, a member of a contemporary dance troupe touring Morocco, provokes Hedi during a performance triggering a series of events.
Dead Dog (Leb-Fr-Qatar)
Dir. Sarah Francis
A middle-aged couple faces the dysfunctional status of their relationship and their inability to break the cycle they’ve become trapped in.

Motherhood (Tun-Fr-Canada-Qat)
Dir. Meryam Joobeur
A mother blinds herself to the darkness in her son’s soul. Through her eyes, we see how an individual’s inner darkness can emanate outward to consume an entire community.

Feature documentary – development                                                                                                 

Souraya Mon Amour [working title] (Leb-Qat)
Dir. Nicolas Khoury
A portrait of Lebanese actress Souraya Baghdadi through her reflection on her relationship with late director husband Maroun Baghdadi.  

The Woman I Never Called Mum (Alg-Fr-Qatar)
Dir. Sabrina Adiri Chemloul
Fatima, 73, lives alone in Oran, Algeria, and has never done the right thing.

Fouledh (Tun Fr-Lux-Qatar)
Dir. Mehdi Hmili and Abdallah Chamekh
In the largest steel factory in Tunisia, two workers who suffer from psychological and physical disorders are haunted by the loss of their colleague.

The Myth of Mahmoud (Pal-US-Qat)
Dir. Mayar Hamdan.
The story of Mahmoud Said, a Palestinian man who died at 93 years old after attempting to build a home.

Feature Documentary – in-production

West of May (Leb-Fr-Qat)
Dir. Sarah Srage
A family chronicle following the fate of a fishing family in the heart of a working-class neighbourhood in Beirut. Behind the affection that unites this home, it tells of the fractures that run through contemporary Lebanese society.   

Women of My Life (Iraq-Swe-Qat)
Dir. Zahraa Ghandour
The filmmaker’s search for her missing childhood friend, a journey that unfolds secret worlds of abuse and violence against women across Iraq.

Feature Documentary – post-production

Bye Bye Tiberias (Fr-Pal-Bel-Qat)
Dir. Lina Soualem
A portrait of Palestinian actress Hiam Abbass, who left her native village Deir Hanna in Galilee 30 years ago to follow her acting dream in France. Director and daughter Lina questions her mother’s bold choices and how the women in her family, whom she left behind, have influenced her life.

Machtat (Tun-Leb-Fr-Qat)
Dir. Sonia Ben Slama
Chronicles the lives of Fatma and her daughters, Najeh and Waffeh, who are married to musicians in Mahdia, Tunisia. The sisters follow opposite paths—while Najeh, divorced, tries to remarry to escape the authority of her brothers, Waffeh wishes to divorce her violent husband.  

After the Bridge (It-Qat)
Dir. Marzia Toscano

Valeria Collina’s life is shaken by the death of her son Youssef, one of the three jihadist terrorists who killed eight people on London Bridge. Valeria finds herself mourning and having to put her life back together.       

Monisme (Indo-Qat)
Dir. Riar Rizaldi
Professional actors and non-actor professionals portray dynamic human-nature relationships in one of the most active stratovolcanoes in the world, Mount Merapi.

River of Toads (Mex-Qat)
Dir. Juan Carlos Núñez Chavarría
A sensory documentary about a family of healers who maintain the ancient practice of the cult of death in a small town in Veracruz, Mexico.

The Forgotten [Working Title] (Pal-Qat-UAE)
Dir. Ghada Terawi
The life of Kozo, a Japanese freedom fighter and member of the Japanese Red Army, who gave up his life in Japan to join the Palestinian Liberation Movement.       

Qumra Series

Land of Nairi (Armenia)
Dir. Ovsanna Gevorgyan
The ill-managed demolition of a chemical plant floods Nairi with a purple liquid that puts the town’s young people to sleep.

Miara (Mor-Qat)
Dir. Talal Selhami and Jawad Lahlou
In 8th Century, North Africa, when her father is brutally murdered, a young Berberian woman discovers he was a fallen Viking King.

Nguya (DRC, Bel)
Dirs. Michiel Robberecht, Precy Numbi
Nia’s life is turned upside down when she meets Nguya—a superhero robot born in the coltan mines of Eastern Congo.

Status Quo (Leb-Qat-Spain-US)
Dirs. Gilbert Karam and Hiba Louis
Beirut heats up as three unsuspecting girlfriends are forced to unite against the corrupt regime after they mistakenly kidnap a powerful politician’s son.

From the Mountain (Syr-Jor)
Dir. Faisal Attrache
A fiery young farmer rises to become his community’s hero in the Arab nationalist fight for independence against the Ottomans.   

The House that my Mother Built (Sudan)
Dir: Alyaa Musafollows
Eight women from across Sudan share their astonishing encounters with the inhabitants of the households where they take refuge during Sudan’s revolution 2019–2022. 

Let The Earth Burn (Fr-Qat)
Dir. Sofia Alaoui
Despite getting excellent results, fresh police academy graduate Kenza is posted to a remote station in a small town in the Atlas mountains. 



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