It was a night to remember as international filmmakers and celebrities gathered in Doha for the launch of the Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF) yesterday.
With the weather cooperating — the starry night bringing with it a lovely and slightly cool breeze — close to 5,000 people flocked to the grounds of the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) to witness the start of the first international film festival in the country.
The guests were treated to Mira Nair’s Amelia, the opening night’s film.
Celebrities and filmmakers, dressed in formal designer wear, made their way to the VIP theatre inside the museum passing a 70-metre-long LED red carpet. While the VIP guests were interviewed by the media along the walkway of the museum, the general public made their way to the grounds.
Families and people in groups of three, four and more sat either on the grass or on some 2,700 foldable beach chairs with the DTFF logo.
Strains of familiar film scores could be heard all around the grounds of the MIA and drifted all the way to the museum’s walkway, courtesy of the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra. The film scores played included seven pieces from the Star Wars movies and ‘Moon River’ from the movie Breakfast At Tiffany’s.
It took 150 people to build the open-air theatre, which is the largest temporary structure ever built here to date, the DTFF organisers said.
“The turnout of the event is amazing… This is just the first year, and we are hoping we will be coming back again next year… And we will also be announcing education initiatives,” said Jane Rosenthal, one of the co-founders of the Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) in New York.
Rosenthal said it was also their aim to showcase Qatari films at the Tribeca Film Festival someday.
Rosenthal co-founded the TFF in New York with celebrated actor Robert de Niro and Craig Hatkoff in a bid to reinvigorate cultural life in Manhattan after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.
The DTFF, which is the brainchild of H E Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, is a partnership between the Qatar Museums Authority and Tribeca Enterprises in New York.
Indian film director, writer and producer Nair, in an interview, said what she admired most about the DTFF was that it not only showcased cinema, it also taught it.
“Cinema annihilates differences between cultures… The Doha Tribeca Film Festival is devoted to cinema but also to the community — to educate people in this part of the world to make their own cinema…,” she said.
Nair said Amelia, which tells the story of the aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart. was a movie that showed a very modern woman with ideas that challenge any boundaries placed on anyone.
The film’s screening ended with a display of fireworks.
Uniquely Qatari in its identity, the DTFF is modelled on the success of TFF’s dedication to engaging the local community and promoting filmmaking talent, the organisers of the DTFF said.
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