Georgetown students’ award winning film about Qatar finds a new audience
The award winning short film titled "Hind's Dream” by Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) staff member Suzi Mirgani along with a cast and crew of students from the school’s Georgetown Film Society, will be screened again at the Imagine Science Film Festival, to be held in Abu Dhabi from February 19th – 21st, 2015. The film depicts a Bedouin girl recounting a strange dream about wandering the desert and glimpsing a future desert city, reflecting the history, modernity, and folklore of Qatar.
The film premiered at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Film Festival and screened at the 2014 Ajyal Film Festival in Doha where it won the jury award for “artistic vision,” putting the Education City students at the forefront of Qatar’s budding film industry. Asli Altinisik, Athanasios Sardellis, Haya Al Rumaihi, Razan Al Humaidi, Salman Ahad Khan, and Badr Rahima are all members of the Georgetown Film Society, an extracurricular club on campus that is organized and run by students interested in all aspects of cinema.
“The Georgetown Film Society is a club where people can get together to learn more about movies and moviemaking. Taking part in the film did not give the students academic credit, but actively contributing to the creative community and being part of a student club is an essential characteristic of the Georgetown spirit,” said writer and director Suzi Mirgani, who works as Manager and Editor for Publications at Georgetown’s Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) when she isn’t working on creative film projects. “Students are encouraged to take their knowledge and skills outside of the classroom. Making this film was the perfect combination of learning about the history and modernity of the Gulf region and then translating that knowledge into an artistic language that can be shared with a wider audience.”
Commenting on the role of the university in the production of the personal project, Mirgani said: “Georgetown students, staff, and faculty create an intellectual environment where a variety of creative projects are encouraged. Georgetown has always promoted creativity outside of the classroom and we received a lot of support from the community during the making of the film but especially after production and the ways in which it has been promoted. Most recently, we had the honor of presenting the film as a Focused Discussion at the Center for International and Regional Studies, and it was also screened at the ‘Scapes of Power’ conference held for Georgetown University in Qatar’s 10-year anniversary celebrations.”
Student Haya Al Rumaihi, who is majoring in Culture and Politics, was tasked with translating Suzi’s original poem into Arabic. Noting the impact her studies had on the project, she said: “Through my various GU-Q courses, I have come to realise that translation is a process. I was aiming to grasp the meaning of the poem rather than merely finding literal translation. Given that it was a poem I also tried to ensure that a poetic melody came through. It is an experience I very much enjoyed and it has helped me to further appreciate language as a whole, and the power of communication, be it through movies or poetry.”
Georgetown Film Society member Athanasios Sardellis played one of the two lead characters along with co-student Asli Altinisik, both of whom are also Culture and Politics majors. “It was really interesting to ‘study’ Qatar through this film, outside the classroom,” he said, adding: “Looking at it from the perspective of a Georgetown student, producing this film is the first step in establishing an artistic and creative culture.”
For Asli, skills learned at Georgetown carried over into the film. “Most of my classes develop perspectives that are not mainstream. In Hind's Dream, I employed those skills to not judge or pity Hind, but to imagine and understand what a woman like herself might feel about living the life that's portrayed.”
"On behalf of the rest of the cast and crew, we are delighted to have won an award at the 2014 Ajyal Film Festival for “artistic vision.” More importantly, I'm glad that the Georgetown students were rewarded for their hard work in getting the film made; it's great to see that their creative efforts are appreciated and recognized. We are pleased to be part of the growing Qatari film industry, and we hope to continue telling stories about the Gulf,” added Mirgani.
Georgetown University in Qatar
Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) is an additional location of Georgetown University, based in Education City in Doha. The University offers a four year undergraduate program in international affairs leading to the Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service (BSFS) degree. Students have the opportunity to select one of four majors, a minor, and one of three certificates.
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