During a press conference at the Villaggio Cineplex in Doha this morning, the Doha Film Institute (DFI) announced the Arab Film Competition, the first 30 titles in the World Panorama section, the Arab Short Film Competition and a Special Screening for the 2nd annual Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF). This year the Festival, which runs from 26-30 October, will present a rich showcase including 4 world premieres. Headlining the second edition is award-winning French-Algerian director Rachid Bouchareb's action-thriller, Outside the Law . Set against the backdrop of the Algerian struggle for independence from France after WWII, Outside the Law is the tale of three Algerian brothers who lost their family home in France's 1945 attack on the market town, Setif, and scattered across the globe. The film stars Jamel Debbouze, Sami Bouajila, Roschdy Zem, Chaffia Boudra, Bernard Blancan and Sabrina Seyvecou.
Outside the Law director Bouchareb said: "I'm deeply honoured and delighted to be opening the Doha Tribeca Film Festival. I look forward to bringing Outside the Law to Middle Eastern audiences and showing them the history of the Algerian struggle for independence. I fully support DFI's goals towards developing and discovering Arab talent. It is very important for organisations like DFI to exist and to use their resources towards the goal of promoting Arab cinema and filmmaking talent and taking their stories to audiences around the world."
The five day event will close with Justin Chadwick's The First Grader, the inspirational story about an elderly farmer in a Kenyan village who wants to enroll in a local school and learn to read. The film stars Naomie Harris and Oliver Litondo.
On being selected as the Closing Night Gala, Chadwick said: "It is a real honour for our film The First Grader to be selected to screen on the closing night of this wonderful festival. We have all heard how exciting, dynamic and important this festival is so we are excited and thrilled to be part of this true celebration of film."
This year's Festival features works from both emerging and established directors with genres including comedies, family-oriented films, epics, political biopics, thrillers and documentaries. The DTFF programme will be presented in four distinctive categories: the Arab Film Competition, World Panorama, Special Screenings and the Arab Short Film Competition. Ten films will participate in the Arab Film Competition, four of which are World Premieres: Grandma, A Thousand Times by Mahmoud Kaabour, Hawi by Ibrahim El Batout, Man Without a Cellphone by Sameh Zoabi and The Mountain by Ghassan Salhab.
Other programme highlights include Julian Schnabel's Miral , starring Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), Stephen Frears' Tamara Drewe, starring Gemma Arterton (Prince of Persia), Aktan Abdykalykov's The Light Thief , Jeff and Michael Zimbalist's documentary The Two Escobars , Abbas Kiarostami's Certified Copy, Randall Wallace's Secretariat , Jasmila Zbanic 's On the Path, Robert Redford's The Conspirator and Egyptian-American comedian Ahmed Ahmed's directorial debut with the documentary Just Like Us .
The newly added Arab Film Competition will award prizes for Best Arab Film and Best Arab Filmmaker. The Festival will also feature two audience awards, one for Best Narrative Film and the other for Best Documentary Film. Each category features prizes of USD 100,000 each. Also new this year is the USD 10,000 prize for Best Arab Short Film, bringing the total cash prizes monies to USD 410,000.
As Doha Film Institute's (DFI) annual celebration of all things film, DTFF is a community-minded, five-day event that showcases the best of Arab and international films, and has a full program of festival activities to engage the community, industry and filmmakers. Events include panel discussions, informal VIP events, audience-interactive Q & A's, a Family Day with live entertainment, and a multimedia exhibit dedicated to cinema figures, soon to be unveiled at DTFF's new hub, Katara, the Cultural Village, situated on the eastern coast of Doha.
For those who are not able to attend DTFF, DFI's newly re-imagined and redesigned website launches today, with exclusive coverage to give cinema fans an online film festival experience. The site, www.dohafilminstitute.com , is a multimedia portal that features streaming video, online education, specialized film programmes, filmmaker interviews, festival reports, photo galleries, and news about the Institute.
The 2010 programming team led by Amanda Palmer expanded this year to include Arab programmers, Oscar-nominated Palestinian filmmaker Scandar Copti and Lebanese programmer Hania Mroue, who worked alongside Tribeca Enterprises' Chief Creative Officer Geoffrey Gilmore, David Kwok and Genna Terranova and a range of international consultants.
Amanda Palmer, Executive Director of DFI said the 2010 film line-up epitomises the true spirit of the Festival. "Our expanded programming team has had a challenging few months selecting from hundreds of submissions to present a strong Arab film line up for our first ever juried competition that underscores DFI's commitment to help drive regional talent in cinema and offer Arab filmmakers a platform to showcase their creativity. We are proud that our efforts to stimulate the growth of filmmaking in the region is being met with such enthusiasm and are confident our local and international guests will be able to discover new storytellers and cinematic gems that have the potential to earn global acclaim."
Palmer continued, "The Festival plays a strategic role in supporting DFI's long term plans to build a sustainable film industry in Qatar. Through our year round education initiatives, we are nurturing the new generation of filmmakers, supporting regional and international film financing, and supporting the new wave in Arab filmmaking. One of our founding objectives has been to encourage regional talent, not only through creative support but financial and production assistance and key industry know-how, helping us achieve our goals to enhance regional infrastructure and promote filmmaking from the Arab world."
Launched in 2009, the Doha Tribeca Film Festival reflects a successful cultural partnership between DFI and Tribeca Enterprises. The Festival provides an annual platform that celebrates DFI's year-round programs and the wonders of film appreciation and entertainment from every corner of the globe.
Geoffrey Gilmore, Chief Creative Officer of Tribeca Enterprises, said: "The range, diversity and quality of this year's program underscores our mission to showcase the full spectrum of international cinema – from the world's most esteemed veteran directors to the emerging new class of Arab storytellers. It's challenging to limit the slate to under 50 films, so this is a very thoughtfully curated lineup."
"We have received more than 300 submissions from over 50 countries, with many films from the Middle East, Lebanon, Palestine and Egypt that offer a unique insight into the region, as perceived by today's filmmakers," said Scandar Copti. "The films in our Arab Film Competition are evocative of the trials, tribulations and bittersweet facets of everyday life in the Arab world. As an Arab filmmaker, I am very proud to welcome four world premieres that will give our international audience an insider's look at modern realities around the region, and help emerging and established filmmakers get the support they deserve."
"Our first Arab Film Competition demonstrates the creativeness of Arab filmmakers and the larger filmmaking community from the Arab Diaspora, who continue to pursue their passion and create films that touch human hearts. We have a powerful program of movies from the Arab world and as a programmer, I am excited to see first-time filmmakers competing alongside seasoned auteurs. With four world premieres and a wide range of different genres and styles of filmmaking, DTFF 2010 brings together a compelling collection of features and shorts that highlight the richness of Arab talent and creativity," said Hania Mroue.