'Places of the Soul' is the first Qatari film to compete in the international festival.
Places of the Soul by Qatari female director Hamida Issa is set to make its world premiere at the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival (IDFF), marking the first time a Qatari film will be competing at this event.
Ji.hlava IDFF is a prominent documentary film festival held in Jihlava, Czech Republic, and this year’s edition is scheduled to take place from October 24 to 29, 2023. Renowned for its focus on creative documentary films, particularly from Central and Eastern Europe, the festival provides a platform for filmmakers to showcase their unique perspectives and storytelling. Places of the Soul will have its world premiere on October 26, 2023.
Places of the Soul is set to compete in the Opus Bonum section of the festival, which features a competition for the best world documentary films presented in world, international, or European premieres.
The film’s production was funded by the Doha Film Institute (DFI) under its Qumra Projects. In a statement posted on its social media channels, it said: “It’s been an incredible 8-year journey – and now it’s the first Qatari film to compete at this prestigious festival.”
Spanning 73 minutes, the film follows Issa on a transformative journey to Antarctica as part of an environmental and leadership expedition. During her time in this environment, she witnesses both the awe-inspiring beauty and the heart-wrenching realities of nature. This experience profoundly alters her perspective and prompts her to reexamine her own Qatari heritage, searching for sustainability within her cultural roots and the essence of her identity.
It also focuses on the impact of the film director’s mother’s passing. Director Issa was just a child when her mother passed away, and as time erases memories, the home videos filmed by her mother become a poignant window into the past.
Sharing her thoughts on the film, Issa said: “I’m the first Qatari woman in history to go to Antarctica, so this journey is a spiritual one and an exploration into matters of tradition, the environment, and the greater question of loss.”
Explaining the film’s title, Issa revealed that the title is inspired by a song by pearl divers, and “my film is my love letter to my mother, my motherland, and to mother nature. I gave my heart and soul to the film, and it really reflects places of my soul. I hope it will touch people across the world in its representation of the universality of human experience.”