When was the first time that you remember realizing that you wanted to be a filmmaker?
I was watching ‘Raging Bull”. It was the opening scene with Robert DeNiro shadowboxing to Cavalleria Rusticana. I thought that scene was awesome. I said to myself: “I need to make something like this, one day.” It was just that scene that started everything.
What did you do after to achieve your new goal?
I began watching films, purely out of curiosity. I came across the IMDB top 20 to 250 films to understand what made a movie, why is it classified as a top 10 of all time? What is so special about it? I immediately bought a bunch of books on cinema cinematography, tried to learn as much as I could online, and watched as many movies possible.
Any course or workshops to develop your skills?
I went to a couple of workshops here and then contacted the guys who hosted the workshop to see if they had any work or anything that I could intern at or just help out. I became a kind of event videographer here in Doha for a while.
But what did it lead you to study Art History?
I took Art History at VCUarts Qatar just because it was something that I was passionate about, something that I really wanted to study.
Have you considered to work in this field instead?
I thought about working in art history for a moment, but my focus was always really film. I just really loved studying art history, and I felt like it was going to inform any project that I had in the future. It’s always good to know a range of references and artists.
What do you believe you can achieve in Doha professionally that you can’t anywhere else in the world?
There’s a lot of opportunity here. I feel like Doha is a very welcoming city to young filmmakers. There is a financial incentive here and the ability to climb the ranks earlier than in other countries. I’m getting to direct projects that most people my age wouldn’t get to direct in the United States or in my home country Brazil.
Any recommendation about alumna or alumnus from Doha to follow?
Saadia Khabab. I’ve worked with her on a lot of projects. She’s currently the wardrobe stylist of the AJ Arabic cinema show.
How do people react when you’re talking about your creative career?
People get excited when you’re passionate about something here which is something that I don’t feel anywhere else. If you have a passion you have a hobby, usually everywhere else people try to take it down and say “it’s not that serious, find a real job” or something like that. People here are actually excited when you tell them you’re a filmmaker. They want to know about it and they want to know how they can help.
What are the challenges of being a filmmaker in Qatar?
The hardest part about being a filmmaker in Qatar is probably finding actors. There’re a lot of models and people that look good on camera. There are some for sure, but it does limit a little bit, the range of actors that you can find here if you really want to get into building a character, finding motivation, adding nuance or really trying to understand what the story.
Where does your inspiration come from? Usually it comes in bursts, so it’s hard for me to plan. Even though that would most likely be better if I could develop the discipline! I never know when it will be the feature that I wrote. The one where I kind of have to wait for a little bit of inspiration is more the writing part of things.
How do you proceed in this situation?
I usually just have an idea and watch films that have similar themes. I try to decide on what kind of tone I want for that for the movie. Then, I listen to songs that I think would apply. I usually write a lot listening to music and playlists. That kind of dictates the tone of the whole film.
What is your ultimate goal?
Making features. I consider myself more of a writer than a director. So, if I get to write features but not direct them I’m okay with that too. But, ideally writing and directing features.
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Dimitri Yuri is a Brazilian screenwriter/director based in Doha, Qatar. After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University (majoring in Art History), Dimitri began to write and direct commercials for a variety of companies such as Ooredoo, Qatar Petroleum, and Qatar Airways.
Dimitri created and directed the pilot for the Al Jazeera Arabic variety show “About Cinema” which was later picked up for a season. Dimitri’s latest script, Blood at the Root, won the Gold Prize at the 2018 PAGE International Screenwriting Awards. His short narrative film Falling Leaves received nominations and awards from a variety of international festivals, as well as being featured in Short of the Week. Dimitri currently works as a Writer/Director for The Film House, a Qatar-based production company.
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