Qatari filmmakers look to bring real cinema into the region

This young filmmaker talks about his new project and his wish, as a stakeholder, to create real cinema in the region.


YOUSEF-AL-MOADHADIThis month, BQ magazine features in its TAG series, Yousef Al Moadhadi. A filmmaker who has been working on film productions since 2007, the 30-year-old father of two, started his career at the Al Jazeera Documentary Channel, and founded the production company Hazawi Pictures in 2009.

His short films have been shown in various film festivals including Ajyal. He is currently working on a feature film. He was introduced by our interviewee last month, Shyma Salim Alharmozi.

Are you now where you imagined you’d be 10 years ago?

I don’t think so. I was a different person then, with different views on life, guided by other people and the needs of our life. Now, I’m looking into my soul. I consider what I need to do to make mine and other people’s lives not just better, but more meaningful. I have put myself in a place that makes me more responsible, and makes me a different person in this life.

Entitlement holds back Qatari youth. Discuss (refute, agree).

In my view there is a problem with the way Qatari youth think. It’s not because of their way of living. It’s how we use what we have; to do something that will make our lives better. The challenge is to understand how best to lead this life, and develop ourselves in the right way.

As an entrepreneur in Qatar, is there one thing you wish had been different, easier or readily available that would have made a significant difference to you?

In the case of my chosen career, there’s a history and a philosophy on making great films that are universally available. What we need is education to really learn how to create a powerful structure, make it sustainable.

Can you tell us what inspired Hazawi? How difficult is it to get into the film industry in Qatar, and make it a viable business option?

First, we don’t have a film industry here yet. We have just started to build a draft plan of how we want our films and industry to look, and Hazawi is part of that building process. A stakeholder in creating real cinema in our region in the future.

As a business I think we are working to get ourselves into that world of cinema. Baby steps on that path with our first feature film. Let’s see how that works out.

What or who inspires you in Qatar (or the region)?

What inspires me is that we have interesting life stories we can show the world outside – to communicate that we are different from the stereotypical image of us as people.

If the business environment here were to be exactly how you wish it to be, what would it look like?

It’s a big view. I imagine studios, locations and huge deals in the cinema industry here. There is a market but it we need time to understand and then to create it.

I would love one day to have huge studios that people from all over the world come and do films in.

How do you define success?

First from within, that you have succeeded in your goals. Next, that people you love appreciate your ideas and recognise your efforts to make their life better. Finally, not to be the norm, dare to be different and earn your place in history.

The one law or regulation in Qatar you wish to change?

Oh there are a lot, but I prefer to keep them to myself now.

Where and what would Yousef be in 2022?

Succeed in my field and support my country with what I’ve done.

What is the biggest challenge being a filmmaker in Qatar?

We are still at the foundation stage, and one of the first in the field, there’s a long way to go to have this industry up and running.

Tell us a little bit about your next film.

My next film will be my first feature film so it will be a big step; a huge challenge that I should rise up to. The working title of the film is Kakashi, but this might change.

It’s a story about a Japanese guy and the problems he faces. The love of his life, Sayuri pursues her career opportunities in London, and leaves him behind. He decides to follow her, but is stuck in Doha en route to London. The story is about his struggles and adventures during this course that also make him take life-altering decisions.

Question from Shyma to you: What is the most difficult part about creating a film in Qatar?

I think changing people’s mindset of what filming is all about. Because the previous generation understands cinema [and all it entails] in a different way, which makes them reject the idea. I see now that we have started already to change this view and make cinema more acceptable in Qatar.

Whom would you like to Tag next?

Mohammed Al Sayari who is acting in my next film.



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