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A scene from The Salesman by Asghar Farhadi

The Salesman, a film funded in part by Qatar’s Doha Film Institute (DFI), won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles last night.

In a celebratory tweet this morning, the DFI described the win as a “historic moment,” adding that it is the first time in 48 years that a film co-financed by an Arab country had won the award.

It’s also the first time ever that a Qatar-financed film has won the coveted prize.

However, this isn’t the first time that a project co-financed by DFI has made the shortlist.

Last year, two films also partly funded by the institute – Theeb and Mustang – made it to the nominations list.

Ceremony boycott

The Salesman is the story of a young couple whose relationship breaks down while they are performing Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman.

It was directed by Iranian Asghar Farhadi.

Farhadi wasn’t present in Los Angeles to receive the award, however.

He had decided to boycott the ceremony to protest President Trump’s so-called “Muslim ban,” which temporarily barred entry to the US to nationals from seven-Muslim majority countries.

In a statement read out on his behalf at the ceremony, Farhadi said that his absence was “out of respect for the people of my country and those of other six nations whom have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the US”

He added that he believed that film makers had an important part to play in breaking down barriers and increasing mutual respect and understanding around the world.

“They create empathy between us and others. An empathy which we need today more than ever,” he said.

Qumra ‘Master’

Farhadi will be in Doha next month for the DFI’s Qumra, an event which aims to nurture young filmmakers from around the world.

He has been selected as one of Qumra’s “masters,” expert directors who will lead sessions at the event.

Each Master will participate in a series of masterclasses, workshops and one-on-one sessions with directors of participating DFI-backed projects and industry professionals from around the world.

They will also each screen one of their films for Doha audiences, the DFI said in a statement.

The third edition of Qumra is set to take place in Doha from March 3-8 at Katara Cultural Village, though public screenings kick off on Wednesday, March 1.


Reem Saad / Doha News

Mouawad’s signature Flower of Eternity Jewellery Coffer

A $3.5 million gold jewelry box encrusted with diamonds, sapphires and rubies has been unveiled in Doha this week.

Certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s most valuable jewelry box, the piece made its Middle East debut at the annual Doha Jewellery & Watches Exhibition (DJWE).

The 14th edition of the event opened on Monday at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center in West Bay.

Reem Saad / Doha News

Mouawad’s signature Flower of Eternity Jewellery Coffer

In a statement, Swiss diamond house Mouawad said the Flower of Eternity Jewellery Coffer was made of 18-karat gold and silver.

It features white and yellow diamonds, white and pink sapphires and lapis lazuli and its three heart-shaped petals are meant to symbolize eternal love.

Mouawad also holds the record for world’s most valuable necklace ($55 million), handbag ($3.8 million) and lingerie (an $11 million bra), but these pieces are not on display in Doha.

Scaled down event

Notably, the jewelry box isn’t the most expensive thing on sale at the DJWE this week. For example, there are also three Girard Perregaux watches worth a combined $5 million.

A total of 400 luxury brands from 10 countries are exhibiting their wares at the expo this year.

All photos by Reem Saad

This appears to be scaled down from last year, when 500 of the world’s most exclusive brands from 17 countries participated.

However, for the first time this year, the work of young Qatari designers will be on display. And the exhibition will also feature a watch-making workshop by renowned clock experts Objectif Horlogerie.

DJWE runs until Saturday, Feb. 27 and is open from noon to 10pm every day except Friday. Friday’s hours will be from 4pm to 10pm.

Entry is free, but visitors are required to register onsite with their Qatar IDs or passports, or can save time by pre-registering online here.

As always, children below the age of 12 will not be allowed inside the venue.

Who’s going? Thoughts?

Lagoona Mall/Facebook

Flik Cinema at Lagoona Mall

A new four-screen cinema opened its doors to the public at Lagoona Mall over the weekend.

The launch marks the entrance of the Flik Cinema chain into Qatar.

The theater was originally supposed to open last fall, and it is unclear why this was postponed.

Flik Cinemas

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

At the time, Flik Cinemas described the Lagoona location as “the first platinum and gold class theater multiplex in the GCC.”

The seats have leather recliners with small tables, similar to the “seven-star” experience offered at one of the theaters inside Novo Cinemas on the Pearl-Qatar.

Movie goers in platinum class can order snacks and drinks via a personal iPad and have them delivered to their seats.

More cinemas

Flik is also planning to open movie theaters in two other Qatar malls within the next year.

Both are Al Mana Group projects, and the cinema chain is also part of the same group.

One Flik theater will be located at Al Mirqab Mall off of Nasser St., while the other will be in Doha Mall in Abu Hamour.

Lesley Walker / Doha News

Mirqab Mall

Both will have eight screens and seat 1,000 and 1,400 movie-goers, respectively. All will show a combination of Hollywood, Bollywood and Arabic-language films.

The malls are expected to open sometime this year, adding even more shopping and viewing options to the Qatar market.

Meanwhile, at least seven other malls are expected to open in the country within the next few years.

Have you tried out the new cinema yet? Thoughts?