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Qatar unveils umbrella organisation Doha Film Institute

The state of Qatar launched the Doha Film Institute (DFI), an umbrella organisation to oversee its various film-related activities, in Cannes yesterday.

The state of Qatar launched the Doha Film Institute (DFI), an umbrella organisation to oversee its various film-related activities, in Cannes yesterday.
 
DFI initiatives include film education, production, financing and the annual Doha Tribeca Film Festival, which is a partnership with New York’s Tribeca Enterprises.
 
“The Doha Film Institute’s goal is to build a sustainable film industry in Qatar with strong links to the international film community,” said DFI founder H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani. “Film can do more than just entertain; it can educate, inspire and unite communities and we want to nurture and support filmmakers as we continue to grow Qatar as a cultural hub for film.”
 
On the funding side, DFI aims to invest in around 10 new Arab films a year from filmmakers in Qatar and other Arabic-speaking territories in the region. Funds will also be available for international productions; although DFI executive director Amanda Palmer stressed that the main aim of the organisation is educational. “We want the people we work with to give back to us by helping with training and passing on their knowledge and expertise,” Palmer said.
 
Qatar’s year-round education programmes include filmmaking labs in collaboration with Tribeca’s Geoff Gilmore and the One Minute Films programme launched last year. “There is huge demand locally for our educational programmes – they’re over-subscribed and we’re rushing to fulfil that need,” Palmer said.
 
Doha also has partnerships with Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation and Mira Nair’s Maisha Film Lab, which will include a group of Qatari filmmakers at its Uganda workshop in July/August this year. WCF has a three-year partnership with DFI to restore and preserve international films of cultural significance.
 
The Doha Tribeca Film Festival recently announced that its second edition in 2010 will have a juried competition featuring Arab films and filmmakers.

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