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Posted On: 12 August 2009 11:48 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:09 pm

Best of Arab films at Doha festival

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The upcoming Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF) will showcase the best of Arab films, a DTFF official said. Amanda Palmer, head of entertainment for Al Jazeera English and Executive Director of the DTFF, said it is very important to show Arab films during the festival – and not just any other Arab film, but the best of Arab films. Palmer, who said she cannot divulge yet the list of films to be shown during the festival and the filmmakers participating in it, said there are a number of Arab filmmakers, whom they have contacted, now racing to finish their films. “We have invited all Arab filmmakers who have films to show… We want them to be engaged in this festival… We call them every few days and ask ‘how is your film?,’ ‘how far are you with the filming or the editing?’… If they are great Arab filmmakers and they have great films to show this year, then we will definitely include them in the festival,” she said in an interview with The Peninsula. Palmer said the DTFF team does not want to just screen movies during the festival and leave without thinking about it twice. “We need the people to talk about the movies and it should resonate throughout the region, creating a new wave of progress.” She said they aim to educate the local community on the various aspects of filming and the very art of film viewing. “We want the people here to be involved… We want to show the community how to make films… We want to say to them that ‘this is your festival.’ Of course, we will be there to guide them, teach them the process of filmmaking… But we will be asking them to create films as well,” she said. The DTFF recently hosted a filmmaking workshop, which was attended by eight participants (all of them Qataris). The participants include Fathma Al Rumaihi, Mohammed Abdurahman, Sara Al Jaber, Noora Al Meadadi and Taghreed Kamal. “There is a wonderful culture of storytelling in Qatar and we are just introducing to them another medium.” The outcome? “They all loved it,” said Palmer, who added they taught the participants everything they needed to know during the workshop. “Not only did we involve them in the behind-the-scenes part, but also in acting in their films… The participants came up with four stories each and we taught them how to write the scripts for their films,” she said. “This is also about teaching them a deadline, and show them that they have to deal with many things… the budget, the director, the actors and the editors, etc.” Palmer said participants of the workshop came up with one-minute films, which they have already finished editing and are ready to be shown to the public soon. “They finished them on deadline, and they totally reflect different stories. The others are poetic, personal stories, the others are youthful… One piece did not have a voice-over, just music… They were really very interesting… It was fantastic working with them.” The DTFF team includes Mohamed Maklouf, an Arab documentary and short films expert, as the festival’s Regional Programmes Advisor, and Scandar Copti, an award-winning Palestinian filmmaker, as Community Outreach Programmer, giving the team a regional touch. The DTFF will take place at the Museum of Islamic Arts from October 29 to November 1.