Shortcuts to Qatar

Saturday, April 30, 2022, 6:00pm-8:30pm  

Theater at Student Center South
University of Houston
4455 University Drive, Houston, TX 77204

Art on Screen 22 is inspired by Cultural Bonds, a 2021 mural by the Qatari artist Muna Al-Bader. On view at the University of Houston, the mural was commissioned by Public Art UHS in partnership with the UHCL Diplomacy Institute and Qatar Museums to celebrate the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture. 

Art on Screen 22 features a curated selection of seven short films by some of the most compelling new voices in Qatari cinema. Featured filmmakers include Suzannah Mirghani, Nora Al Subaei, Dhabya AlMuhannadi, Abdulla Al-Janahi, A.J. Al-Thani, Nouf Al Sulaiti and Noor Alasswad. Under the theme of “Shortcuts to Qatar,” their films range from the personal to the global and incorporates narrative fiction, animation, and documentary genres. This year’s program is co-presented with the Doha Film Institute. Before the film screenings, enjoy free refreshments and a guided tour of artworks by Muna Al-Bader, eL Seed, and others. Admission to all Art on Screen 22 activities are free.

6:00pm Doors
6:30pm Art Tour
7:00pm Films

Advance registration is recommended.

Al Sit (2020) by Suzannah Mirghani | Narrative | 20 min

In a cotton-farming village in Sudan, 15-year-old Nafisa has a crush on Babakir, but her parents have arranged her marriage to Nadir, a young Sudanese businessman living abroad. Nafisa’s grandmother Al-Sit, the powerful village matriarch, has her own plans for Nafisa’s future. But can the young girl choose for herself? A compassionate story from Sudan about women—both powerless and powerful—exploring opposing ends of the social chain and how these roles might be changing in a modernizing world.

Al Johara (2016) by Nora Al Subaei | Narrative | 26 min

Made a servant in her own home by her evil stepfamily, Al-Johara receives a wedding invitation from an old childhood friend. With the help of a neighbor, an eccentric, traditional old woman, Al-Johara might be able to attend her very first wedding—and finally be like her beautiful sisters.

Maha’mel (2018) by Dhabya AlMuhannadi | Documentary | 6 min

Deep in the shipyards of Doha, amidst the whirring of table saws and heavy machinery, we enter the world of Dhow boat construction. Primarily still crafted by hand, with the metalwork relentlessly hammered and worked straight from the furnace, this silent meditative film gives us a glimpse into the precision engineering and expert craftsmanship that is involved in the creation of Qatar’s most iconic vessel.

Hope (2020) by Abdulla Al-Janahi | Animation | 9 min

Aqua, the sea turtle, was born with the disability of having one fin smaller than the other. But he doesn’t let it get in the way of his life’s journey from nest to sea—one fraught with dangerous predators and tragic pollution. This endearingly humorous animation hides a more profound message of perseverance and the importance of being environmentally conscious.

Black Veil (2019) by A.J. Al-Thani | Narrative | 17 min

Unfortunately, many women around the world are currently suffering under oppression and desperately dream of escaping it. ‘The Black Veil’ is the story of one such woman who puts her very life at risk in order to find her freedom. Helped by a reluctant but willing taxi driver, she escapes the clutches of her domineering household. However, her journey of emancipation is fraught with danger, and the potential of recapture lurks around every corner.

Gubgub (2018) by Nouf Al Sulaiti | Narrative | 9 min

After getting her first catch of the day while crab-hunting with her father and brother, bright-eyed Jawaher shows it to her father. He dismisses her but goes on to praise her brother’s catch. Determined to win her father’s approval, Jawaher shrugs off his hurtful reaction and sets out to catch ten crabs. On her quest, she finds herself battling for a catch with Nawaf, a boy who shares her goal.

Under the Lemon Tree (2019) by Noor Alasswad | Documentary | 10 min

In this short but powerfully introspective documentary, we spend a day under the shade of a lemon tree with a Palestinian woman named Khaldieh, who was abruptly exiled from her hometown of Tulkarem in 1967. Preparing herself a humble breakfast of za’atar and breathing in the smell of sage, she recreates her old life through an assemblage of simple elements. Though they may seem trivial, for many Palestinians they are among the only tangible pieces of their lost homeland that they still possess.

Parking and Transportation

Parking: The Welcome Center Garage at 4400 University Drive, Houston, TX 77204 is the closest visitor parking to Student Center South. All visitor parking options on campus and hourly rates can be viewed here.

Public Transit: The Calhoun Road @ UH University Drive bus stop is one block from Student Center South. The UH South/University Oaks METRO stop is a 5-minute walk via Cougar Village Drive.

Cycling: Bicycle racks and a BCycle station are located on the west side of Student Center South.

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.