Mira Nair’s film Nafas was the first film created for the National Museum of Qatar in 2014. This film tells the story of the grueling and personal journey endured by Qatari pearl divers in the early part of the 20th century.

Before oil and gas, pearls were the basis of the economy of Qatar. Pearl divers held their breath and swam to the floor of the ocean to collect oysters. For every ton of oysters collected the pearl divers could reasonably expect to find…one pearl.

Nafas is presented on two opposing curvilinear walls that range in height from nine to twenty-five feet and are each one hundred thirty feet long. Visitors flow through the gallery as the film loops continuously.

The scale of the project and the proximity of the visitors to the projection surfaces required the development of an entirely new visual language for film design and cinematic storytelling.

To create a satisfying and powerful narrative within these unusual parameters, opticnerve™ designed a grand cinematic painting that morphs like water encircling the visitor in the gallery space.