Qumra: Breaking new ground in the audiovisual market
by Giorgia Cacciatore
- Cineuropa presents the second part of the report on the successful Qumra international gathering that took place in Doha from 6-11 March
The inaugural edition of Qumra (see the news) came to a close on 11 March and left some highly enthusiastic lasting impressions. Cineuropa gathered some comments from the filmmakers who presented their projects at the event.
Qumra has established itself as a gathering with a convivial atmosphere, where emerging directors can not only benefit from an international showcase, but also avail themselves of individual consultations.
Producer Abir Hashem, who enjoyed an “inspirational” mentoring session with master actor-director Gael Garcia Bernal, welcomed the initiative as being much needed in the Arab region. A specialist in the production of documentaries focusing on the Arab world, she highlighted the importance of such gatherings that take place in the area, as they attract key international figures.
However, it was not only about business networking, as Thai director Anocha Suwichakornpong remarked, but was also a place to make more human connections. Suwichakornpong presented a work-in-progress look at her second feature film, a project funded by the Doha Film Institute, and was able to find people interested in it thanks to the numerous opportunities for discussion and platforms that revolved around the screenings.
This aspect was also emphasised by journalist-turned-director Faiza Ambah, who underlined how important it is for emerging filmmakers to make contact with people in the sector. While she did not have a background in the film industry, she explained to Cineuropa that she thought Qumra offered an informative yet intimate setting. Having the opportunity to meet award-winning professionals in an informal environment allowed her to relate to their career paths, which served to reduce her feeling of isolation. Their professional stories also proved how socially engaged cinema can affect people while also being commercially successful.