Posted on November 30, 2015

The third Ajyal Youth Film Festival, presented by the Doha Film Institute, brings a selection of captivating movies from across the world today (Tuesday, December 1) including films that are recipients of the Institute’s grants programme.

Among the screenings today is the regional premiere of Very Big Shot (Lebanon, Qatar; 2015), a Doha Film Institute grant recipient, which is the directorial debut of Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya. A bold and insightful dark comedy that skewers political corruption and the media circus that goes with it, Very Big Shot depicts the lives of three brothers – Jad, who serves five years behind the bards for a crime committed by his elder brother Ziad, and their middle brother Joe. A delivery for a local crime ring spins out of control and Ziad seizes the opportunity to make a fortune. The film will screen at 7 PM at Katara Opera House (K16 –OH).

Also a recipient of the Doha Film Institute grant, Lamb (France, Ethiopia, Germany, Norway, Qatar; 2015), is a coming-of-age drama about nine-year-old Ephraim, directed by Yared Zeleke. After his mother dies, his father sends him to stay with his extended family in southern Ethiopia. The youngster’s sole comfort is his late mother’s sheep Chuni but when his uncle demands that the animal be slaughtered, Ephraim devices a plan to save the sheep. The film screens at 9 PM at Katara Drama Theatre (K16-DT).

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A deeply moving Tagalog film Scarecrow (The Philippines; 2015) will screen at 9.15 PM at Katara 12 Theatre B. Directed by Zig Madamba Dulay, the film explores the complicated relationship of social injustice, privilege and familial expectations through the eyes of Belyn, who is widowed, illiterate and terribly poor. She lives with her three children in a poor town; when a gold watch goes missing, her son is presumed to be the culprit. Afghan drama Mina Walking (Canada, Afghanistan; 2015), directed by Yosef Baraki, screens at 8.30 PM at Katara 12 Theatre A. The film charts the life of 12-year-old Mina, who is saddled with caring for her senile grandfather and supporting her layabout father by selling trinkets on the streets of Kabul. When one fateful decision starts a chain of events she cannot control, Mina finds herself backed to a corner.

Directed by Robert Connolly, Paper Planes (Australia; 2014) screens at 6 PM at Katara Drama Theatre. An endearing celebration of talent and encouragement, the film soars through a tale of friendship, creativity and the precious bonds of family and community through the life of 11-year-old Dylan. When he discovers his exceptional talent for creating paper planes, he becomes obsessed with his hobby and competes at the national level. Soon he is on the way to the world championships in Japan but only if he can come up with the money to get there.

Ajyal Youth Film Festival commences the first free outdoor screening on Tuesday under the SONY Cinema Under the Stars programme. Watch for free The General (USA; 1926), a silent film that is considered one of the best action-adventure comedies of all time. It stars silent-film-era icon Buster Keaton as Johnnie, a love-struck train engineer. A spy hijacks a track his fiancée is on board and Johnnie gets the chance to fulfil his dream of being a hero. The screening is at 8 PM at Katara. Only limited seating is available.

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Festival-goers can purchase tickets for all screenings other than  ‘SONY Cinema Under the Stars’ from the Ajyal FNAC Ticket Outlet located in Lagoona Mall in addition to the Ajyal Katara Main Box Office located in Katara Building 12. The Ajyal Katara Main Box Office will be open from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM until December 5th. The Ajyal FNAC Ticket Outlet will be open until December 5th from 2:00 PM till 9:00 PM. Tickets can also be purchased securely online through the Festival’s website at

Tickets are priced at QR 25 for regular screenings, and QR 40 for premium screenings (including the opening and closing night films). QM Culture Pass members get a discount of QR 5 on all regularly priced Festival screenings and events when they present their QM Culture Pass at any Festival ticket outlet. Pass holders can purchase up to two discounted tickets per screening. For more information on the movie timings and the Ajyal Youth Film Festival, log onto