Nurturing the art of filmmaking through unorthodox methods
February 1, 2017
Painting your imagination on an empty canvas might not seem like an activity directly related to filmmaking, but for Northwestern University in Qatar’s film society,Not Another Film Club, it helps students to “experiment with out-of-the-box ideas.”
“We want to approach film as an art and rebel against the conventional approach,” said Amal Al-Muftah, former president of NAFC and a sophomore at NU-Q who organized a painting event for the club last November. Held at the NU-Q studio building, in collaboration with NU-Q’s Culture Club, Paint-a-Frame Night was aimed at engaging female students by creating a comfortable and creative environment for them to paint and explore their talents. No male students were allowed to attend, which encouraged many Qatari women to participate without having to worry about their abayas and shaylahs getting in the way, according to Noor Bahzad, a student of graphic design at VCU-Q.
This was the second time NAFC held Paint-a-Frame Night. It was first held in April 2016, when NAFC collaborated with students from Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar.
“I loved how everyone was working in collaboration – film students were working with art students and it was a really nice combination,” said Bahzad.
When Muftah became the president of the film club in spring 2016, she and her team updated and revamped the branding and vision of NAFC. Their ongoing plan is to expand their mission beyond the conventional definition of filmmaking. Al-Muftah said the club aspires to implement cooperation and unity among filmmakers, not only at NU-Q, but among all those interested in the film industry in Education City.
Another event by NAFC that created a lot of buzz last semester was its film fair for children.
More than 30 children, aged 8 to 14, attended the Kids Film Fair held on Oct. 22, 2016. Using simple scenarios, a couple of sets and lots of costumes and accessories, the NAFC team and volunteers helped the children to create their first short films.
“I think the Kids Film Fair was such a success. It was great for us not just to engage with our own community, but also with our family and friends who came to see what we do with NAFC,” said AJ Al-Thani, a communication freshman at NU-Q.
Al-Muftah said she hopes to create a film community that is ego-free, where seniors and more experienced filmmakers work with humility and always offer a helping hand to freshmen and those who want to learn. She added that it is important to circulate the roles on a film set so that everyone can get a chance to learn and create their own films.
After stepping down as the club’s president due to other commitments, Al-Muftah is is now serving as an advisor to the club. Former vice-president Amna Al-Baker is now the new president.
Al-Baker plans to continue focusing on creativity as part of NAFC’s agenda.
“Creativity is the backbone, I think, of this industry and we hope to create a community of filmmakers that care about the creative process,” said Al-Baker. “We have many students here who are immensely talented and have already started making films, but I think that any industry is stronger when you have a community with strong ties.”
Al-Baker and Al-Muftah both believe that they still have a lot to do in order for NAFC to continue prospering.
“We want NU-Q community to fully support us with more than words, but with actions,” Al-Muftah said.
For Al-Baker, the move to the new Northwestern building is both a challenge and an opportunity to expand.
“The new building has a lot of amazing spaces, but the problem is that most of them aren’t available for use so we can’t really host events this semester. But we do have an event at the end of the month, our filmathon, and we’ll probably use the new studios for that,” she added.