(ANSAMed) - DOHA, JULY 16 - Films by three young Qatari
directors are being screened at the ongoing Giffoni Film
Festival in Italy, and they have been getting ample coverage in
Qatar, a country with no film industry, no film school and a lot
Nevertheless the country has decided to invest in film and
young filmmakers through the Doha Film Institute (DFI), which
selected Hassan Tariq, Dana al Dosari and Talal al Ansari to
compete at the Giffoni Fest, and this is being treated as a huge
step forward in Qatar, where little quality film is shown and
where censorship limits the cinematic fare to action films,
comedies and Bollywood extravaganzas.
In 2009, DFI launched the Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF)
in partnership with New York's Tribeca Enterprises, even getting
Antonio Banderas, star of Desert Prince, a film shot in the
Qatari dunes, to walk down its red carpet. But in spite of the
occasional foreign stars, the festival was a flop because the
Qatari population did not participate.
So DFI changed its strategy, and decided to invest in
creating cinema culture from the ground up: this means nurturing
local talent, for example, by bringing in teachers like
Christian Routh, a former head of selection at the European
Script Fund who was pivotal in the making of films like Orlando,
Breaking The Waves, and Elizabeth, and Lebanese filmmaker Ziad
Doueiri, director of the award-winning film West Beirut and
former Quentin Tarantino camera assistant.
''In Europe we have too much talent and too little money;
also too many productions and too little public'' said Routh,
who is now heading up two film schools at EU Media in Spain.
''In the Gulf there is the opposite problem: there is a lot of
money, but not enough producers, actors and directors.''
Qatar, he said, has another advantage: new stories to tell.
''The world is tired of American films, and there is an appetite
for stories that come from other parts of the world,'' said
According to Gulf Film Development Manager Mahdi Ali Ali, DFI
now has a twofold ambition: to educate and foster a new
generation of Qatari directors, actors, and screenwriters; and
''to bring the great Hollywood directors to Doha,'' Ali Ali