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Kuwaiti short films screened at Hakayat Khalijiya Festival Themes shed light on some aspects of life in Kuwait

DOHA, July 3, (KUNA): During its Hekayat Khalijiya (Khaleeji Stories) festival here, Qatar Film Institute screened four short Kuwaiti films of different themes that shed some light on some aspects of life in Kuwait. The two-day screening of the short narrative films is set for Wednesday and Thursday at the Museum of Islamic Art. The first of the four films was “Dinosaur” for director Meqdad Al- Kout, in which Government employee Bu Mansour strives to change his job title before his retirement. Al-Kout told KUNA, “short narrative films bring some mundane occurrences from daily life into sharp focus in smooth artistry.” He said he started film making as a hobby with help of some friends who stayed around as he developed it into more professional work. He praised the support of Cinemagic which sponsored some phases of the production as well as helped with film quality post-production. Kuwaiti film makers are making more of an imprint on the world film stage recently, he added, and they are especially noticed at regional events.

Then there was the film “Men’s Barbershop” for Meshal Alhulail, in which the protagonist is faced with the seemingly impossible challenge of changing his barber. Describing his film as a black comedy, Alhulail told KUNA Kuwaiti films have made their mark at regional and international festivals, with barely a festival without a Kuwaiti contribution. Prizes are won for films which are mostly produced solely through the film maker’s own resources.

Still, he noted the recent introduction of free production services and access to gear and montage facilities by Cinemagic. He also noted that Kuwait National Cinema Company (Cinescape) now gives Kuwaiti film makers the chance to screen their productions at some of its theatres. The director expressed gratitude to the Qatar Film Institute for the chance to interact with the Qatari audience. He remarked that what Gulf film makers need the most now is opportunity to screen productions in specialized theatres. Kuwaiti film makers in particular feel the absence of a local venue for their creativity most acutely.

They need such venue to interact with audiences and help create a cinema culture that would nurture their field, and they also need some sort of fund to support a film industry, he stressed. As for By Musaed Al-Mutairi, his film is about Khalid, aka ‘Ka3bool’, who is a Bedouin working at a fast food outlet to pay his bills. When he is fired from his job, he finds himself in a difficult situation as people try to take advantage of him and also mock him for his previous job.

He told KUNA short narrative films have a different philosophy than longer productions in terms of presentation of an idea. The style here is focus on a single point with no side-line occurrences or distractions. His film, he said, tells the story of the marginalized who struggle to meet their dues amid a difficult family situation. He too, expressed the wish to see a real film industry in Kuwait, stressing young film makers’ individual effort is a real first step in that direction.

There are many Kuwaitis cooperating on productions that add something to the audience and which come out at high quality. There was also a screening of a fourth Kuwaiti film, Passport Photo, for director Yousef AlMujeem. The film is about a Kuwaiti man’s failed attempts to have a “good photo” taken for his passport. According to its own description of its missions, the Doha Film Institute “is dedicated to film appreciation, education, and building a dynamic film industry in Qatar that focuses on nurturing regional storytellers while being entirely global in its scope. “With culture, community, education and entertainment at its foundation, DFI serves as an all-encompassing film hub in Doha, as well as a resource for the region and the rest of the world. We firmly believe in the power of film to change hearts and minds, and our motto reflects the sentiment that ‘Film is Life.” The institute has a monthly screening schedule. The films screened are contemporary and recent productions or past works and classic films for Qatari and other Gulf film makers. Hekayat Khalijiya is a quarterly event to shed light on works by Gulf film makers through screening of films and organizing Q and A sessions with the directors afterwards. The screenings were attended by the Consulate Affairs Director at Kuwait Embassy Fahad Mohammad Al- Awadhi.

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