Doha, December 2021: Audiences were left moved after the first-ever private screening of award-winning Yemeni film “Don’t Get Too Comfortable”, shown at The Sky Theatre, M7 on December 22.
Key invitees at the screening included Social Activist Boutaina Azzabi, Retail Entrepreneur Mr Ashraf Abu Issa, esteemed guests and Doha’s media personnel, who all rose to applause as the poignant film was received with strong admiration.
The film is Yemeni-East African Shaima Al-Tamimi’s directorial debut, which takes visual storytelling deep into her own familial roots. Here, she shares an introspective and heartfelt letter to her late grandfather reflecting on her ancestral emigrational journey and its implications over three generations.
Since her grandfather migrated to East Africa from Yemen, the letter questions the continuous pattern of movement amongst Yemenis in the diaspora. Fusing archival photographs, sourced footage, parallax animation, and abstract videos to create an audio-visual body of work, the film explores patterns of movement through generational uprooting.
Themes presented in “Don’t Get Too Comfortable” include calling attention to the collective feeling of statelessness and the sense of being felt by Yemeni – or non-Yemeni – migrants.
Director, Shaima Al-Tamimi, said: “Researching my family’s migration and resettlement journey has allowed me to take ownership of my identity and to more thoroughly understand the constant intergenerational insecurity and trauma of finding a permanent home.
“Through this work, I am hoping to draw attention to ongoing Yemeni migration, encouraging greater recognition of our stories and fostering space for collective healing among Yemeni migrants and their descendants,” she added.
“It is important for our voices to be heard, and more important for us to be in control of our own narrative,” Shaima explains. “So, I am absolutely honoured to share this very timely story with viewers in Doha; it is a story that is incredibly close to my heart. It is also one step towards helping to shed light on the realities of diverse Yemeni identities and to achieve better representation in world cinema.”
The private screening event took place at The Sky Theatre, M7, Doha’s newest cultural destination that encourages designers, artists, innovators, and entrepreneurs to use the creative hub as a platform to showcase their work with peers and audiences.
M7 is located in the heart of Msheireb Downtown Doha and has fast become the new epicentre for design, innovation, and entrepreneurship, dedicated to empowering designers to explore, collaborate, and grow into successful entrepreneurs.
Maha Ghanim Al Sulaiti, Director of M7, said: “It is our pleasure to welcome Shaima Al-Tamimi’s directorial debut to The Sky Theatre. Her work is a meaningful story for cinema, and I am sure it will resonate deeply with the audience.”
“This event is the first of many in which M7 will provide a platform for Qatar based creatives. We want to equip and nurture talents with all the necessary tools and expertise to enable them to take their ideas from concept to market,” she added.
The event opened with Fahad Al Obaidly who spoke about M7 as the place that focuses and gives rise to nurturing design and culture. He began by introducing Shaima and the film’s producer, Palestinian multimedia storyteller, Mayar Hamdan, to the guests.
Fahad then introduced Luciana Farah who took over the stage after the film to coordinate a panel discussion with Shaima and Mayar. The evening saw guests mingling with the film’s creators whilst enjoying delectable entrées and beverages, provided by 5-star hotel sponsor JW Marriott Marquis City Centre Doha. Esra Parin, General Manager of JW Marriott Marquis City Center Doha said: “We are thrilled to support and nurture local initiatives within The Middle East, and we are honoured to have had the opportunity to collaborate with such talent during this prestigious event.”