Aisha Al-Shammakh is a young Qatari filmmaker who is a 26-year old talented woman. She has completed Broadcast Journalism from Qatar University (2018) and also a minor in Psychology. She’s also the youngest TV director of Alkass Sports Channel. She was a volunteer at the Al Jazeera Documentary Film Festival and an Ajyal judge for four years. Not only this, she became the president of Film club in Qatar in 2016 and was also one of its founders. She is the filmmaker of films like ‘Designed by H’, ‘Abstract’, We Are Family’
There’s a lot about her to know and we’re sure you are excited for this. So we’re presenting a part from an exclusive Q&A session with Aisha.
What kind of movies do you make? What kind of movies would you like to make?
Aisha: I make documentaries; I would consider that my main area of expertise. During my undergrad studies, I made three documentaries, one of them was shortlisted for the Ajyal Film Festival, Qatar’s leading film festival, and was screened for over 12,000 local and international audiences. I also make short films, and I’d love to make a feature film one day!
What kinds of movies do you like watching?
Aisha: I honestly love all movie genres, I don’t like to limit myself to a certain type. However, I would consider fantasy and horror movies my top favourites.
Image credit: Aisha Al-Shammakh
What is your next project?
Aisha: I am currently preparing for my upcoming project which showcases what the creative process looks like. It’s going to be very different from my previous documentaries and I’m looking forward to completing it.
Who is your inspiration?
Aisha: This is a difficult question to answer, but I would say Wes Anderson holds a special place in my heart. His brilliance and artistic vision inspire me and I often find myself amused by his craft.
Who are your favourite actor, actress and filmmaker?
Actors: Johnny Depp, Jake Gyllenhaal and Will Smith.
Actresses: Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie and Angelina Jolie.
Filmmakers: Wes Anderson, Bong Joon-ho and David Yates.
Tell us something no one or very few people know about you?
Aisha: I loved interior designing since I was a little girl. I was actually considering it as my destined career path, but I found myself more drawn to filmmaking and carried on with my love of decorating as a hobby. In fact, I incorporate my love for interior design in filmmaking by designing my own film sets.
Image credit: Aisha Al-Shammakh
What do you like doing in your spare time?
Aisha: I watch films, read books and socialise with friends and family.
If you weren’t a filmmaker, what would you be up to right now?
Aisha: If I weren’t in the film industry, I’d definitely be an interior designer!
What would you like to be remembered for?
Aisha: I’d want to be remembered as a positive person with nothing but love to give whomever I cross paths with.
Any advice for emerging filmmakers?
Aisha: Always work with what you’ve got and push yourself because every film you make should teach you something you didn’t know before and will develop your skills more.
What do you consider to be your career highlight?
Aisha: My film “Millennials” was the beginning of my career highlight, but I won’t stop here because I know I have so much potential and want to challenge myself more.
When did you consider yourself a success?
Aisha: In 2018, when I challenged myself to make a short documentary film by myself, and as hard as it was, it made me so proud of myself to see how far I can go in the future.
What’s the biggest factor that has helped you be successful?
Aisha: The support of my family and friends.
What mistakes have you made along the way?
Aisha: I don’t believe in mistakes as much as I believe they’re lessons. Because as long as I’m learning and developing myself they’re considered to be lessons for me.
What was the hardest decision you ever had to make?
Aisha: Choosing between two completely different majors, and thankfully, I ended up choosing the right one.
What is the best advice you can give to people?
Aisha: Don’t be afraid of failing, because as long as you’re willing to take risks it means you’re brave. If you fall, get up, wipe off the dust and keep on going. The falls are there for you to make you wiser and stronger to reach your goals.
If you could start all over again, what would you do differently?
Aisha: Study abroad in my dream college, but still, no regrets and I’m still considering continuing my Master’s Degree there in the future.
How would you describe yourself in 5 words?
Aisha: Hardworking. Creative. Ambitious. Social. Honest.
What’s the best thing about what you do?
Aisha: I get to express myself freely through the thing I love the most in life.
What hard skills should someone in your field have?
Aisha: Teamwork, communication and leadership.
Video credit: Films For Qatar
What soft skills should someone in your field have?
Aisha: Creativity and attention to details.
What are you most passionate about?
Aisha: All types of art.
What do you think are the secrets behind getting to where you are?
Aisha: Take good criticism into consideration, and keep on learning.
What are your hobbies, favourite foods, and favourite travel destination?
Hobbies: Reading books, photography and Learning new things.
Favourite food: Pasta
Favourite travel destination: US
If you want to know more about Aisha Al-Shammakh, follow her via her social medial channels:
- Amal Al Muftah: Qatari Filmmaker Takes on Qatar’s Film World
- Khalifa Al-Thani – The man behind the Camera