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Doha Film Institute’s Qumra Workshop to Kick Off With Toni Collette, Claire Denis, Atom Egoyan Among Masters and Project Mentors

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The Doha Film Institute’s unique Qumra incubator kicks off Friday with six days of master classes, labs and mentoring sessions and some 200 industry professionals – including programmers from Cannes, Venice, Toronto, Berlin and many other major festivals – expected to make the trek to the Qatari capital.

Qumra, which is an Arab word believed to be the origin of the word “camera,” is dedicated to supporting and shepherding first and second works by Arab directors but also supports some projects from other parts of the world. The mentors, through one-on-one meetings and master classes, will nurture the talent attached to more than 40 projects from 20 countries that are in development or post-production.

Projects in development will take part in group and individual sessions in script consulting, marketing and co-production advice, along with individual matchmaking. Projects in post-production are presented in a series of closed rough-cut and picture lock screenings for leading festival programmers, broadcasters, market representatives, sales agents and distributors.  

Arabic features on display that are either in picture lock or work-in-progress phase – and are therefore likely to soon surface on the festival circuit – comprise Tunisian director Mehdi M. Barsaoui’s “Aïcha,” his follow-up to “A Son” which made a splash in Venice; French Moroccan director Saïd Hamich Benlarbi’s immigration drama “Across the Sea,” which follows his well received “Return to Bollène”; the directorial debut of Emmy Award-winning Egyptian cinematographer Muhammed Hamdy (“The Square”) which is titled “Perfumed with Mint”; and Palestinian director Mohammed Almughanni’s doc “Son of the Streets” (pictured) which potrays a stateless Palestinian child in a Beirut refugee camp “who embarks on a courageous journey for recognition, education, and a brighter future,” according to the provided synopsis.

As previously announced, this year’s Qumra masters, who will hold onstage conversations and also act as mentors, are Leos Carax, Toni Collette, Claire Denis, Atom Egoyan, Martín Hernández and Jim Sheridan.

International sales companies expected on hand in Doha comprise Alphaviolet, Bac Films, Films Boutique, Indie Sales, Mediawan, MK2 and New Europe Film Sales, among many others. Regional distributors include Film Clinic, Front Row Entertainment, Metropolis Art Cinema and MAD Solutions.

Production companies and producers scheduled to attend Qumra include Egypt’s Mohamed Hefzy (Film Clinic); Lebanon’s Georges Schoucair (Abbout Productions); Morocco’s Lamia Chraibi (La Prod); and Palestine’s Ossama Bawardi (Philistine Films). European production shingles comprise Germany’s Pallas Films, Luxembourg’s Joli Rideau Media, France’s Echo Studio and Special Touch Studios and, coming from the U.S., producer Brandon Harrison and his Brooklyn-based Words and Pictures.

The event’s 10th. edition runs March 1-6 in Doha.