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Doha Tribeca film festival to open with ‘Amelia'
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 01 - 10 - 2009

The inaugural Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF) announced Tuesday that it will open with a special screening of director Mira Nair's “Amelia,” a thrilling account of legendary aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart starring two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank and Golden Globe winner Richard Gere.
Organizers also revealed the 32 films that will comprise the rest of the Festival's film slate. Twelve of the films have roots in the Middle East and the balance is a diverse selection of acclaimed titles from the international festival circuit, from both emerging and established directors. The DTFF will run from Oct. 29 to Nov. 1 in Doha.
Doha Tribeca Film Festival was formed through a strategic partnership by Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani and CEO Abdulla Al-Najjar of the Qatar Museums Authority and the Tribeca Film Festival Founders, Jane Rosenthal, Craig Hatkoff, and Robert De Niro.
Festival activities will be centred at the internationally-acclaimed, I.M. Pei-designed Museum of Islamic Art, an architectural homage to modernity and history that underscores the unique character of Doha.
In addition, open-air screenings around the city will include a showing of the 1969 Egyptian film, “The Mummy (Al-Momia).” This classic, a restored print presented by Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Foundation, will be shown outdoors at the Souq Waqif, a traditional Middle Eastern bazaar in the heart of Doha.
The film program is highlighted by such titles as “Cairo Time,” starring Patricia Clarkson, “A Serious Man,” the critically hailed new film from Academy Award winners Joel and Ethan Coen, and “The Informant!” from director Steven Soderbergh, a Warner Bros. release starring Matt Damon.
“We've programmed this slate with the local audience at the forefront of our minds. We are creating an exciting and varied film festival experience by bringing some of the best Arab and international films to Doha,” said Amanda Palmer, the Executive Director of DTFF. “We are proud of the commitment of our attending filmmakers, who will help us take cinema appreciation to a new level here. These filmmakers will share their storytelling by not only showing their films, but by also engaging in other film-related activities, such as workshops and classes, throughout the Festival.”
“The film program was curated through a true collaboration between our programming team in Doha and New York,” said Geoff Gilmore, Chief Creative Officer of Tribeca Enterprises. “We believe the line-up for our first festival reflects the genuineness of that cultural partnership and is embodied in the remarkable diversity and aesthetic range of the work.”
“I am honoured to present “Amelia” as the Opening Night of the inaugural Doha Tribeca Film Festival,” said Mira Nair. “Amelia was truly modern, a visionary, and my film explores her quest for balance between the ecstasy of the sky and the responsibility of the earth. It is, in a sense, an action adventure, with Hilary Swank as the true embodiment of the spiritual power of Amelia Earhart.”
DTFF was founded through a long-term partnership between the Qatar Museums Authority and Tribeca Enterprises. Uniquely Qatari in its identity, the Festival is modelled on the success of Tribeca Film Festival's dedication to engage the local community and promote filmmaking talent. Its ongoing aim is to inspire, engage and educate a new generation of cinema appreciation locally; discover, mentor and fund regional filmmaking talent; foster a community through art and entertainment; and encourage open discussion and debate.
Festival organisers also announced that in its first year, 31 of the 33 films in the line-up will be eligible for two audience-based awards each carrying unrestricted cash prizes amounting to $50,000. Audience award winners will be announced at DTFF's closing night ceremony.
During the ceremony, the Festival will also announce a screenplay development and filmmaker grant programme, illustrating its commitment to develop and support filmmakers year-round in the region.

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