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A glittering start to the fourth edition of DTFF
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 19 - 11 - 2012

RIYADH – The fourth edition of Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF), the annual cultural event of Doha Film Institute (DFI), opened to a colourful start at Souq Waqif, with film talent from Qatar, the Arab world and international cinema walking the red carpet gala of the opening film, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, financed by DFI.
The opening ceremony was attended by Mira Nair, the director of The Reluctant Fundamentalist; Mohsin Hamid, the renowned author, whose eponymous book the film is based on; Ami Boghani, script co-writer; Meesha Shafi, musician and actress; and Abu Muhammad and Fariduddin Ayaz, the Qawwal Brothers, who composed the film's soundtrack. Also walking the red carpet was Robert De Niro, whose latest film Silver Linings Playbook is screening at DTFF.
With around 1,000 Qatari and international guests attending the opening ceremony, the Qatari talent, who present 19 films in the ‘Made in Qatar' showcase of the festival, included Abdulaziz Jassem, Abdulla Ghifan, Ali Mirza Mahmoud, Fahad Al Kubaisi, Ghazi Hussain and Salah Al Mulla, among others. The Arab film world was represented from the GCC region by Bassam Al-Thawadi, Habib Ghuloom Al Attar, Haifa Hussain, Najwa, Nayla Al Khaja and Tareq Al Ali, and from Egypt by Yosra, Nelly Kareem, Khaled El Nabawy, Khaled Abol Naga, among others.
The jury members of DTFF's Arab Film Competition – Tunisian actress Hend Sabry; Cultural Advisor to Katara Cultural Village Dr. Emad Amralla Sultan; Indian director Ashutoush Gowarikar; Turkish filmmaker Ye?im Ustao?lu; Algerian author Mohammed Moulessehoul; Syrian documentary filmmaker Hala Al Abdalla; Qatari director Hafiz Ali Ali; Iranian artist and filmmaker Shirin Neshat; Joana Hadjithomas; Tahani Rached; Nadir Mokneche; Qatari author Wedad Al Kawari; Saudi Arabia's first female filmmaker Haifaa Al Mansour; and founder of the Qatar Fine Arts Society and visual artist Faraj Daham – also walked the red carpet.
Addressing the audience, Qatari Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage His Excellency Hamad Bin Abdel Aziz Al Kuwari said: “DTFF and the various cultural activities that are held as part of the event complement Qatar's National Vision 2030 to strengthen the pillars of our knowledge economy by nurturing our creative talent. Film has the power to shape opinion and influence people, and through this year's large showcase of Arab films, the festival can help address prevailing misconceptions about the region.”
Issa Bin Mohammed Al-Mohannadi, DTFF Vice Chair, said: “The festival establishes Qatar as the prominent cultural destination of the region and serves as a platform to highlight the strong cultural identity of our nation. All through the year, DFI will continue to work towards strengthening the film industry, not just in Qatar but across the Middle East and North Africa region, through an array of awareness, education and financing initiatives.”
Abdulaziz Al Khater, Chief Executive Officer of Doha Film Institute, said: “DTFF is a globally renowned celebration of cinema that brings together the foremost film professionals from around the world. With the festival, we are underlining our nation's commitment to strengthen our cultural infrastructure, support talent, promote creativity and promote intercultural dialogue. The festival is a true reflection of the forward looking vision of our wise leadership and highlights the creative strides made by Qatari and Arab talent.”
The opening ceremony of the festival also featured a soulful music performance by Meesha Shafi, who was later joined by the Qawwal Brothers, who performed from the soundtrack of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, thus setting a unique cultural ambience. The opening film, premiering in the Middle East and North Africa region, was screened in four venues and watched by over 2,000 people.
Over the next seven days, the festival will host over 200 screenings of more than 87 films from 34 nations across the three venues including at Souq Waqif, Katara Cultural Village and the Museum of Islamic Arts. The films are in distinct themed sections including Arab Film Competition, Made in Qatar, Contemporary World Cinema, Special Screenings and Tribute to Algerian Cinema.
Highlighting DFI's mandate to sustain film education and appreciation, DTFF will also have a series of industry events and panel discussions evaluating the diverse aspects of filmmaking – from story development, implementation of technology, to distribution.
DTFF's ‘Doha Talks' will feature a series of 13 thought-provoking industry events, special screenings, and extended Q&A sessions with renowned filmmakers including Mira Nair and Robert De Niro. Doha Projects, another key initiative, will pave the path for 40 DFI grantees to network with regional and international film experts through one-on-one meetings and exclusive sessions.
The family and youth-centered activities including Family Day Screenings, Kid's Red Carpet experiences, DFI Kids Access Programme, stage performances, roaming entertainment and performers, arts and crafts workshops, sports, storytelling, puppetry, games, film-making activities and performances from local schools and community groups among others. — SG

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