Share to Twitter Share to Linkedin Picture this: A evening under the stars, sitting on couches and deck chairs in a large open field, with ottomans on which a Middle Eastern feast was set, to watch a series of short films on a giant outdoor screen. Dubbed a "Desert Drive-In" the evening was organized by the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture, an annual international cultural exchange and the Doha Film Institute (DFI), an independent, not-for-profit cultural organization that supports the growth of the local Qatari and Arab film community. In this moment of pandemic-not-quite-over/future-still-uncertain, to watch movies with an audience, to share laughs and applause – was an extraordinary delight. Why was I there? The answer is simple: Every so often, an invitation turns up in my inbox that bears reading twice to make sure it's real before saying "Yes." And, in truth, I wasn't sure what to expect as I pulled up to the Hummingbird Nest Ranch, in the Simi Valley (about 35 minutes from LA). I was led to an outdoor terrace overlooking the Valley, where refreshments were served amidst a demonstration of Qatari activities such as a performance by an oud musician, henna art (I now have… Read full this story
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