Witness the talent of 11 cinematographers subsidised by the Doha Film Institute (DIF) at the 47th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), which is scheduled to start on the 8th of September until the 18th of September. If you’re unfamiliar with the organisation, DIF was founded in 2010 by Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani to encourage creatives in Qatar to pursue the art of filmmaking. The non-profit cultural organisation provides financial support, training and development to enhance existing skills and cultivating new ones simultaneously. Creators also get the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals around the globe. This is not the first time the organisation has showcased films produced by Arab and local talent internationally, some of the films were also selected by the Cannes, Sarajevo and Venice film festivals. The films selected for 47th edition of the renowned event TIFF are categorised into four genres that include: Contemporary World Cinema, TIFF Docs, Short Cuts and Discovery. The varying selection ensures that the voice of a diverse demographic is being portrayed while creating space for new storytellers to showcase their opinions and making their world premiere.

From the film ‘Ashkal’

The Chief Executive Officer of the Doha Film Institute, Fatma Hassan Alremaihi, has stated, “Over the years, we have (…) established the initiative as an important source for standout Arab and international talent in contemporary cinema. The 11 films selected to screen at Toronto are truly representative of the kind of films we support – diverse, compelling, and innovative, with powerful human stories at their centre.” The lineup incorporates movies from the Middle East. Asia and Africa showcasing emerging talent, the films that will be screened at the TIFF 2022 include:

From the film ‘Return To Seoul’

A Gaza Weekend

A Gaza Weekend is produced by Academy Award nominee, Palestinian-British director Basil Khalil. The storyline features Waleed, a wheeler-dealer who finds himself in several predicaments trying to sneak out a British man from Gaza, which is the only safe asylum from a deadly virus outbreak. This will be the film’s world premiere, making the occasion much more enticing.

Return to Seoul

Produced by Davy Chou, Return to Seoul (France, Germany, Belgium, South Korea, Romania, Qatar), which falls under the Discovery category, is about Freddie. A 25-year-old who goes to South Korea, oblivious to the country that is her home, hoping to find her biological parents and reconnect with her roots.

Alam

Among six films in the contemporary world cinema genre, Firas Khoury’s ‘Alam’ (Palestine, France, Qatar) is one of them. The protagonist of the movie is a Palestinian student, Tamer, who tries to steer clear of political discussions and is now conflicted by his choices as he reminisces about his activist uncle, who was imprisoned.

Ashkal

Ashkal (Tunisia, France, Qatar), is situated in the gardens of Carthage in Tunisia, a new area where the juxtaposition of contemporary advances and desolated lands is prominent. The story by Youssef Chebbi highlights a macabre incident discovering a caretaker’s body calcined in an abandoned construction site.

Autobiography

The poignant story by Makbul Mubarak, Autobiography (Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, Poland, Germany, France, Qatar), was screened at the Venice Film Festival this year. The storyline captures the emotions of a lonely teenager abandoned in a mansion after the imprisonment of his father and the events that follow, which soon get him entangled in a mess.

Domingo and the Mist

Domingo and the Mist (Costa Rica, Qatar) by Ariel Escalante Meza signifies the issues regarding demolishing old infrastructures to make room for the latest architectural advancements. In this case, to build a highway in 65-year-old Domingo’s town who is threatened by the developers to evacuate.

Plan 75

Hayakawa Chie directed Plan 75 (Japan, France, Philippines, Qatar). The story encapsulates a futuristic and disturbing vision of Japan, where the government deploys the ‘plan 75’ in the future to convince senior citizens to volunteer as martyrs in order to not have an ageing society.

Under the Fig Trees

Erige Sehiri’s Under the Fig Trees (Tunisia, Switzerland, France, Qatar) portrays the story of Melek, Meriem, Fidé and Sana. Girls who crave escapism from their repetitive lives working hard at the field, sometimes without the accountability of how it affects other people.

the shadow of the butterflies

The movie curated by Sofia El Khyari will make its world premiere at the TIFF 2022. The Shadow of the Butterflies (France, Qatar, Portugal) magnifies the nostalgic and regretful moments everyone experiences in life due to their choices and the comfort those memories provide us with forever.

Cine-Guerrillas: Scenes from The Labudovic Reels

This captivating documentary will make its world premiere at the TIFF, Cine-Guerrillas: Scenes from The Labudovic Reels (Serbia, France, Croatia, Montenegro) is directed by Mila Turajlić. The cameraman allows the audience to gain an insight into his archives and witness the Algerian revolution and the start of the Non-Aligned Movement.

While We Watched

While we Watched by Vinay Shukla (India, United Kingdom, Qatar) magnifies the reality of censored media in India and the budget-cut threats that independent news reporters face in the country. This is not Shukla’s first time showcasing at TIFF. He was previously selected in 2016 to debut his feature film An Insignificant Man, which highlighted a similar political discourse.

To learn more about the Doha Film Institute (DIF) click here

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