– Internationally acclaimed Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad has been appointed President of the Jury for the 2010 Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF) which runs 26-30 October 2010.
Abu-Assad will be the first Jury President of the festival which held its inaugural event last year and will preside over DTFF's Arab Film Competition awarding prizes for Best Arab Film and Best Arab Filmmaker.
His 2006 film Paradise Now, about two Palestinian men preparing for a suicide attack in Tel Aviv, won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign language film in 2006, won the Golden Calf for best Dutch film, and was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Foreign Language Film.
Born in Nazareth, Palestine in 1961, Abu-Assad studied technical engineering and worked as an airplane engineer in Europe before becoming a filmmaker. He then entered the world of cinema as a producer and produced the feature film Curfew, directed by Rashid Masharawi, in 1994, and in 1998 he directed his first film, The Fourteenth Chick, from a script by writer Arnon Grunberg. Following this, Abu-Assad produced two documentaries, Nazareth 2000 and Ford Transit, in addition to a second feature film, Rana's Wedding.
Abu-Assad is currently working on several projects in Hollywood and plans to shoot his first English-language movie in 2010.
Upon accepting the invitation to become DTFF's Jury President, Hany Abu-Assad said, "It's a great honour to be asked to head up the jury for the Doha Tribeca Film Festival. It's an exciting time for filmmakers in the Middle East and this festival provides a unique opportunity to meet and showcase their work. I look forward, with my fellow jurors, to discovering some great films and filmmakers from our region and around the world."
"I am delighted that Hany has accepted our invitation to be our first Jury President," said DTFF Executive Director Amanda Palmer, "He epitomises the profound talent that exists in this region that our festival aims to not only promote on an international platform, but will inspire other Arab filmmakers to tell their stories. His work shows a distinct creativity and humanity which tells the stories of his own life, addresses cultural stereotypes and draws attention to important world issues."
The second annual DTFF (October 26-30) will build on the success of the inaugural Doha Tribeca Film Festival which showcased an international and diversely curated film programme with a focus on Arab cinema, public engagement through large community events, and educational filmmaking programmes. In addition to the Arab Film Competition, the Festival will also feature two audience awards, one for Best Narrative Film and the other for Best Documentary Film. The two Arab film competition prizes are each $100,000 (USD) and the audience awards each feature prize monies of $100,000 (USD). Submission forms and complete information regarding eligibility for the 2010 Doha Tribeca Film Festival are available at www.dohatribecafilm.com .
DTFF is a cultural partnership between the Doha Film Institute and Tribeca Enterprises, with both entities having the common aim of engaging the community and promoting filmmaking talent.
"Through Tribeca's partnership with the Doha Film Institute, we have worked to create a festival that is unique, international in scope, yet reflective of the voices of the region," stated Geoffrey Gilmore, Chief Creative Officer of Tribeca Enterprises. "DTFF's program will highlight the best of Arab cinema and films from around the world."
Amanda Palmer, Executive Director for the Festival, along with Tribeca's Chief Creative Officer Geoffrey Gilmore, will lead the 2010 programming team including Oscar® nominated Palestinian filmmaker Scandar Copti, Lebanese programmer Hania Mroue and Tribeca's David Kwok and Genna Terranova.
"The Doha Tribeca Film Festival is all about telling the stories of our region and creating an opportunity for Arab filmmakers to excel in the realm of filmmaking, we are very excited to the new talent that can be discovered through the submissions process," said Copti.
Joining the team this year, Hania Mroue will play an important role in assessing submissions from Qatar and the Middle East. She has more than a decade of experience in film production and founded Metropolis, the first art-house cinema in Lebanon's capital Beirut. Mroue is active in the region's film industry – also serving as a director of Beirut Cinema Days, which was the first Arab independent film festival in the region.
"Throughout my work in the film industry, my focus has been embracing and giving a voice to Arab filmmakers. I am happy to be part of the Doha Tribeca Film Festival programming team, which has made great strides in providing a platform for regional films of international calibre. I am looking forward to this year's edition and to showing the amazing work that is being produced by Arab filmmakers," said Mroue.
The inaugural Doha Tribeca Film Festival was held October 29-November 1, 2009, and featured a diverse selection of 31 feature films from the Middle East and around the world. The festival achieved an overall attendance of over 35,000 people with numerous free public community screenings and frequently sold out events. Outstanding attendance was exemplified by a family day which attracted more than 10,000 people and a turnout of over 5,000 people on opening night for Mira Nair's open-air screening of Amelia.
Further festival details will be announced in the coming months.