Doha Tribeca Film Festival boosts Arab industry
Events and Festivals, IndustryThe third Doha Tribeca Film Festival
, which was wrapped this weekend, managed to attract an enormous group of guest as well as hosting a steady stream of high profile screenings, master classes and Q&As. The Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF)
provided a genuine platform for Arab film-makers and helped to create a local industry.
“The Arab world needs to create a hub where it can film in a comfort zone. We are here to do that and to give Arab film-makers a platform,”
adds Zen eddine, who nevertheless voiced his frustration at the lack of co-operation between the Arab states adding that next year he would “like to see countries being more supportive of each other and discovering the talent of their neighbors.”
Certainly, there was a sense that the ongoing rivalry between the three big Middle East festivals - Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha - is only getting fiercer.
When it comes to prize money, Dubai’s Muhr Awards, for shorts, documentaries and feature films, offer $600,000, whilst Doha’s total awards pot for its Arab Film Competition currently $335,000, with the two main awards, for best Arab narrative feature and documentary, each carrying $100,000 prizes. Abu Dhabi offers a total of $1m across its four competition sections, but this includes international categories as well. All three festivals are working hard to nurture homegrown talent and establish local film-making hubs through their own initiatives, funds and markets.
One encouraging statistic was that 40% of the films in the Arab competition were made by women film-makers, a theme which was carried across the festival, with a panel entitled She Is Film featuring Nadine Labacki and Jasmila Zbanic.
It is to be mentioned that the current revival of “[The Arab Spring] provided the ability for people to make films about a whole range of subjects and themes that they weren’t able to talk about before,”
adds Fortissimo Films’ chairman Michael Werner, who was at the festival to take part in the Doha Projects initiatives – where DFI grantees were given the chance to market their projects to international executives. “Although film-makers must be cognizant of the fact that there is so much coverage in the newspapers that audiences may not want too many films on the subject,”
The festival is just one aspect of the DFI’s year round activities. Since it launched the DFI has provided a 30% equity investment in Jean-Jacques Annaud’s $55m Black Gold and recently boarded another international co-production, Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist
, starring Riz Ahmed and Kate Hudson. The DFI has also handed out grants to 25 projects in development from film-makers in the Middle East and North Africa, including Algerian auteur Merzak Allouache’s Normal
, which won the Best Arab Narrative Feature at this year’s festival. The next waves of grantees are expected to be announced shortly.