Doha's Ajyal Film Festival is back

Everything you need to know about the 2019 edition

Doha's Ajyal Film Festival is back

If you’re a movie lover, November is going to be your favourite month. Ajyal Film Festival is back for its seventh edition and this one promises to be more exciting than ever.

Taking place at Katara Cultural Village from November 18 until 23, this six-day film extravaganza will host local and international film personalities alongside panel discussions, events, film screenings, talks and lots more.

You can discover new stories and hear new voices in a fun and collaborative environment.

Doha Film Institute’s programme includes 23 features and 73 short films with 50 from the Arab World, 56 by women filmmakers and 19 films supported by the institute.

Opening night gala
At this year’s opening night gala, the film festival will present Palestinian film director Elia Suleiman’s award-winning movie It Must Be Heaven, which is a comic saga exploring identity, nationality and belonging. The autobiographical account of Elia’s experience is a comedy of errors and the film won the Jury Special Mention and the FIPRESCI Critics Award at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. The film will also be screened on November 19 and 21 at 8.30pm in Novo Cinemas and VOX Cinemas.

Festival favourites
Get ready to enjoy watching the NETPAC award winning movie 1982 by Oualid Mouaness, the 2019 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award Winner The Farewell by Lulu Wang, 2019 Sundance Grand Jury prize winner for best documentary film Honeyland by Ljubomir Stefanov, and Tamara Kotevska For Sama by Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts, winner of the Golden Eye Documentary prize at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.

Focus on Sudan
Ajyal Film Festival 2019 will present two award-winning films to shine the spotlight on emerging voices from Sudan. Talking About Trees by director Suhaib Gasmelbari and You Will Die at Twenty by Amjad Abu Alala’s will be screened.

Made in India
In celebrating the Qatar-India 2019 Year of Culture, film lovers will get to enjoy a selection of contemporary short films from up-and-coming directors from India as part of the Made in India special presentation.

Curated by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Images, the shorts offer an insight into modern India and are a testament of the country’s vibrant filmmaking heritage.

Some of the films include Grandfather, a heartwarming tale of love and friendship between a little girl and her grandfather, Steam, a contemplative film about the harsh reality of the subtle normalisation of patriarchy in the lives of women in India, and plenty more.

All these films will be screened on November 21 starting 8.30pm.

Made in Qatar: An inclusive experience
Shining the spotlight on Qatari talent, 22 inspiring films including Ahmad Al Sharif’s End of the Road and Kholood Al-Ali’s Fragile will be screened during the festival.

Visually impaired audiences will be able to view the film through sound alone, with audio description of those visual elements that cannot be understood through voice, music or sound effects.

Viewers who are deaf, hard-of-hearing or have difficulty understanding speech will benefit from subtitles in Arabic and English, as well as sign language interpretation.

Special guests
Ajyal 2019 will host key local and international film personalities such as master filmmakers Elia Suleiman and Kiyoshi Kurosawa, upcoming Arab filmmakers Amjad Abu Alala and Oualid Mouness, visual artist Bouthayna Al-Muftah, filmmakers Jason Silva and Gitanjali Rao, actor and producer Chace Crawford and Sundance TV and actor Kris Hitchen.

DFI supported films
This year, 19 films supported by the DFI grants programme will be screened including It Must Be Heaven, To the Ends of the Earth, 1982, Bombay Rose and You Will Die at Twenty.

Jury highlights
The Jury Competition line-up at Ajyal 2019 will consist of 15 feature films and a series of short programmes with more than 400 jurors from 41 countries including 48 international jurors that will all take part in participating in events including panels, workshops and Q&A sessions with filmmakers.

Ajyal Creativity Hub
Ajyal Creativity Hub is a vibrant programme of cultural and creative activities which includes Qatar’s largest, one-of-a-kind event Geekdom.

This celebration of all things pop-culture features video game tournaments, cosplay competitions and lots more. Taking place from November 19-21 at Katara Buildings 18 and 19 from 10am until 10pm, there’s something for everyone here. The entrance is free.

The creativity hub also features something for music lovers. Ajyal Tunes focuses on the underground local music scene by bringing together Qatar-based performers and internationally acclaimed musicians.

Take your friends along and chill with the artists over the weekend at one of the community gatherings. Watch this space for the line-up.

Ajyal Talks gathers leaders from film, art, television and technology for inspiring and insightful discussions on a broad range of topics.

The ARC Exhibition by DFI celebrates the art of storytelling.

The tickets for the festival are available for purchase starting November 3 at the Ajyal Main Box Office located in Katara Building 10, VOX Cinemas Doha Festival City and from Novo Cinemas at The Pearl-Qatar.

All screenings at the MIA Park, SONY Cinema Under the Stars are free and do not require tickets. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The opening night screening tickets are priced at QR50 while the general screenings cost QR35.

For a full list of events, movies, timings and ticket prices, visit

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