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PRESSR: Doha Film Institute announces acclaimed film luminaries Leos Carax, Claire Denis, Atom Egoyan, Martín Hernández and Jim Sheridan as 2024 Qumra Masters for its milestone tenth edition

  • A filmmaker whose work pushes the conventional boundaries of narrative and style, Leos Carax’s career has been marked by his relentless pursuit of artistic innovation
  • Celebrated for his roles as a writer, director and producer, Atom Egoyan has won five top honours at Cannes Film Festival and two Academy AwardÒ nominations
  • Martín Hernández is an internationally revered sound designer whose distinguished career has seen him become a two-time Academy AwardÒ nominee for Best Sound Editing
  • Eminent Irish playwright, screenwriter, film director and producer, Jim Sheridan has earned six Academy AwardÒ nominations and is a pivotal figure in Ireland’s cultural landscape

Doha, Qatar: Doha Film Institute has announced its selection of five internationally renowned film visionaries who will serve as Qumra Masters for its tenth annual industry incubator event to be held from 1–6 March 2024. Qumra is one of the world’s few standalone events designed to provide emerging filmmakers with the unmatched opportunity to be mentored by global cinematic masters and industry experts while also offering networking and collaboration opportunities with film industry professionals.

At the heart of the projects programme are the Qumra Masters, luminaries in cinema who provide one-on-one mentorship to participating filmmakers—providing insights that help them elevate their craft, improve their projects, and enhance the overall script-to-screen experience.

This year, Doha Film Institute is welcoming acclaimed filmmakers— Leos Carax, Claire Denis, Atom Egoyan, Martín Hernández, and Jim Sheridan, as 2024 Qumra Masters, who will share their directorial expertise with Qumra delegates and registered participants.

A filmmaker whose work defies the conventional boundaries of narrative and style, Leos Carax’s career has been a relentless pursuit of artistic innovation. Carax’s filmography is rich with thematic and artistic innovation. It includes notable works such as ‘Mauvais Sang’ (Bad Blood, 1986), ‘Les Amants du Pont Neuf’ (The Lovers on the Bridge, 1991), and the 2012 film ’Holy Motors’, selected for Official Competition at the Cannes Film Festival. His latest feature film ‘Annette’ (2021), a pop-rock melodrama starring Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver, won the award for Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival.

Recognised for their unique approach, Claire Denis’ films challenge viewers to confront the boundaries of culture and identity. Her portfolio of work includes acclaimed films such as ‘US Go Home’ (1994), ‘Nénette et Boni’ (1996), ’Beau Travail’ (1999), ‘Trouble Every Day’ (2001), ‘Vendredi Soir’ (2002) and ’35 Rhums’ (2009). Denis enjoyed an incredibly successful 2022 with her emotionally cutting ‘Both Sides of the Blade’ winning the Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival and her enigmatic ‘Stars at Noon’, nominated for the Palme d’Or and awarded the Grand Prize of the Cannes Film Festival.

Celebrated for his roles as writer, director and producer, Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, 1997) has won five top honours at Cannes Film Festival and two Academy AwardÒ nominations. One of the driving forces of the Toronto New Wave in cinema, his most recent film, Seven Veils, will have its International Premiere at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, adding to his legacy of mesmerising storytelling and visual artistry. Showcasing his talent as a storyteller across any form, Egoyan has achieved similar acclaim in opera and theatre.

Martín Hernández is an internationally revered supervising sound editor and sound designer whose distinguished career has seen him become a two-time Academy Award nominee for Best Sound Editing for ‘Birdman’ (2014) and ‘The Revenant’ (2015), directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu. He is also a BAFTA winner for ‘The Revenant’ and has been nominated for ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’, ‘Babel’, and ‘Birdman’. Last summer, Hernandez co-supervised and designed for Issa López the 4th season of the HBO ‘True Detective: Night Country’. He and his team made  the sound for ‘Radical’, by Chris Zalla, debuting at Sundance Film Festival 2023, co-supervised ‘Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths’ by Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, ‘The Sky Is Everywhere’ by Josephine Decker, and ‘Emily the Criminal’ by John Patton Ford. In 2020, he re-mixed the ’Amores Perros’ soundtrack released by Criterion Collection on the 20th Anniversary of the film.

Eminent Irish playwright, screenwriter, film director and producer, Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, 1989; In the Name of the Father, 1993; In America, 2002) has earned six Academy Award nominations and is a pivotal figure in sharing Ireland’s culture with the world. His collaborations with Daniel Day-Lewis in three films, including the Academy Award-winning ‘My Left Foot’, have not only showcased Sheridan’s ability as a director but also played a part in establishing Day-Lewis as, according to Time Magazine, ‘The World’s Greatest Actor’. Sheridan’s versatility as a filmmaker is further highlighted by his work on big-budget studio productions such as ‘Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2005), ‘Brothers’ (2009), and ‘Dream House’ (2011).

Fatma Hassan Alremaihi, Chief Executive Officer of the Doha Film Institute, said: “As the Arab world’s first-of-its-kind talent incubator, Qumra has served as the preeminent platform for emerging talents to give their projects a distinct advantage through invaluable networking sessions with leading industry professionals. The guidance they receive through Qumra enables them to approach their project from a richer perspective and navigate the various challenges in the script-to-screen journey.

“What makes this experience rewarding is the opportunity to have direct access to our acclaimed Qumra Masters, who have redefined the parameters of film through bold innovation and exceptional creativity. We are proud and honoured to welcome Leos Carax, Claire Denis, Atom Egoyan, Martín Hernández, and Jim Sheridan as our Qumra Masters for this landmark year. Their contribution to world cinema is extraordinary, and Qumra delegates this year can look forward to an enriching experience under their remarkable mentorship as we now enter our milestone tenth edition.”

Elia Suleiman, Artistic Advisor at Doha Film Institute, said “Our Qumra Masters are bold and visionary filmmakers who have left an indelible imprint in world cinema with unique and innovative approaches to storytelling. Their cinematic oeuvre stands out for their fearless exploration of the medium. Their perspectives on filmmaking will undoubtedly benefit our young filmmakers, and in turn, contribute to a richer body of works by emerging talents in the region and beyond.”

Over the past nine editions, Qumra has played a significant role in driving the success of filmmakers from the Arab and wider world, and in supporting important independent voices in storytelling. The Qumra 2024 projects will be announced shortly. Participants will have access to mentorship from the Masters as well as take part in networking sessions with industry professionals and experts.

More details of Qumra 2024, including specific events and activities, will be announced soon. This year, several programmes have been made accessible to the public, including the Qumra Master Classes, and Qumra Screenings, which present a selection of remarkable feature-length films from the region and beyond supported by the Institute.

With a Qumra Pass, audiences can attend all the Master Classes and Qumra Screenings in-person in Doha. Capacity is strictly limited, and applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Qumra Pass Online is another opportunity to attend the inspirational Qumra Masterclasses online. Additionally, tickets to individual in-person screenings are also available.

2024 Qumra Masters:

Leos Carax is a filmmaker whose work defies the conventional definitions of narrative and style. Beginning as a film critic, Carax swiftly transitioned to filmmaking, presenting his feature directorial debut ‘Boy Meets Girl’ in 1984 at Cannes Critic’s Week, which signalled the arrival of a prodigious talent. ‘Mauvais Sang’ (Bad Blood, 1986) further established his reputation as a director with a distinctive visual and narrative style. This was succeeded by ‘Les Amants du Pont Neuf’ (The Lovers on the Bridge, 1991), a film combining gritty realism with poetic romanticism that showcased Carax’s ability to blend contrasting elements into a harmonious whole. Carax’s 2012 film ’Holy Motors’, which was selected for Official Competition at the Cannes Film Festival, is perhaps his most audacious and critically acclaimed work. His latest feature film ‘Annette’ (2021), a pop-rock melodrama starring Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver, is a culmination of his stylistic and thematic preoccupations. Leos Carax’s career has been a relentless pursuit of artistic innovation, an unwavering commitment to emotional authenticity, and a daring that challenges and expands the possibilities of cinema.

Claire Denis’ work, deeply rooted in her childhood memories, delves into the complexities of colonial and post-colonial West Africa and contemporary France. She has become a fearless chronicler of life in colonial and post-colonial Africa, evident in films like ‘White Material’ (2009). Her film ‘Bastards’ (2013) was presented at Un Certain Regard at Cannes Film Festival in 2013. In 2017, Denis returned to Cannes with ‘Let The Sunshine In’, screened as the opening film in Directors’ Fortnight and winner of the SACD prize. Her career is a testament to her extraordinary talent in capturing nuanced human experiences through film, and she is renowned for her ability to explore the delicate interplay between individuals and how seemingly trivial connections can profoundly alter lives. At the core of Denis’ cinematic voice lies an intrigue with the joy and challenges of belonging and otherness, often focusing on how the intrusion of an outsider, be it a stranger or a foreigner, necessitates the coexistence of the conventional with the unconventional. Her work has not only inspired and advanced French cinema but also offers a profound reflection on colonial legacies and personal identities. In 2023, she received the Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s Career Achievement Award, highlighting her status as one of the best living filmmakers and a master at depicting the inner self and the lines that divide us.

Martín Hernández began his career in 1985 as a radio host and producer at Mexico City's WFM969, where he worked alongside Alejandro G. Iñárritu, creating radio short stories. He ventured into sound design for film with Iñárritu's first feature, 'Amores Perros' (2000), which earned a Golden Globe nomination and an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Film. His collaborations extend to directors like Fernando Meirelles for 'City of God', Guillermo Del Toro for 'Pan's Labyrinth', Sean Penn for 'Into the Wild', Walter Salles for 'On the Road', Joe Swanberg for 'Digging For Fire' and 'Win It All'. Martín Hernández's mastery in crafting auditory experiences that elevate the narrative essence of films has established him as a pioneer in the field. His critically acclaimed work is a testament to his exceptional ability transport audiences into the heart of the story. His nuanced understanding of sound as a narrative tool has not only earned him prestigious accolades but has also profoundly influenced the art of cinematic sound. Through his tireless efforts, Hernández continues to redefine the boundaries of auditory experience in film, making him a true master of sound design.

Atom Egoyan, C.C., B.A., D.Litt., L.L.D., R.C.A., is a renowned figure in the cinematic world, celebrated for his roles as a writer, director, and producer. His expansive career encompasses 18 feature films and numerous projects, each distinguished by his unique artistic touch. Egoyan’s talent has been globally recognised, earning him 5 awards at the Cannes Film Festival – the Grand Prix, International Critics’ Awards, and Ecumenical Jury Prizes, alongside 2 Academy AwardÒ nominations and 25 Genie Awards (Canadian Screen Awards), which include 3 Best Film Awards. His films have been featured at major film festivals worldwide, including Venice Film Festival, TIFF, Berlinale, New York, San Sebastian, and Busan.  Showcasing his talent as a storyteller across forms, Egoyan has also achieved acclaim in opera and theatre. Egoyan has been knighted by the French government and is a Companion of the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honour.

Jim Sheridan is an eminent Irish playwright, screenwriter, film director, and producer whose work has significantly influenced both film and theatre over the past four decades. His remarkable journey began with directing two critically acclaimed films set in Ireland, ‘My Left Foot’ (1989) and ‘In the Name of the Father’ (1993), followed by ‘The Boxer’ (1997) and ‘In America’ (2002). Sheridan has been a pivotal figure in Ireland’s cultural landscape, co-founding the avant-garde Project Theatre in Dublin with director Neil Jordan and serving as the Director of The Irish Arts Center in New York. His films have garnered 16 Academy AwardÒ nominations, 14 Golden GlobeÒ nominations, 3 Berlin International Film Awards, 3 Writers Guild of America Awards, 8 BAFTAÒ, and 8 Irish Film and Television Academy Awards. Sheridan has produced large-budget productions and has helped nurture the voices of many other rising Irish talents.

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About Doha Film Institute

Doha Film Institute is an independent, not-for-profit cultural organisation. It supports the growth of the local film community through cultivating film appreciation, enhancing industry knowledge and contributing to the development of sustainable creative industries in Qatar. The Institute’s platforms include funding and production of local, regional and international films; skills-sharing and mentorship programmes; film screenings; the Ajyal Film Festival; and Qumra. With culture, community, learning and entertainment at its foundation, the Institute is committed to supporting Qatar’s 2030 vision for the development of a knowledge-based economy.

About Qumra

Directors and Producers attached to selected projects in development and post-production are invited to participate in the event. They will include a number of emerging filmmakers from Qatar, as well as recipients of funding from the Institute’s Grants Programme. The robust programme will feature industry meetings designed to assist with propelling projects to their next stages of development, including master classes, work-in-progress screenings, bespoke matchmaking sessions and tailored workshops with industry experts.

The Arabic term ‘qumra’ is popularly said to be the origin of the word ‘camera’, and to have been used by the scientist, astronomer and mathematician Alhazen (Ibn al-Haytham, 965-c.1040 CE), whose work in optics laid out the principles of the camera obscura.

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