The increasingly ambitious Doha Tribeca Film Festival kicked off its second edition Tuesday night with the Middle Eastern premiere of French-Algerian director Rachid Bouchareb’s Cannes competition title Outside the Law (HorsLa Loi).

The film’s co-producer, and Quinta Communications CEO, Tarak Ben Ammar told the large crowd that it was “very important  [that organisers] are showing an Arab film to Arab audiences. It’s a start for the Doha Film Festival to make a difference for film in this region.”

To that end, the festival is this year launching its new Arab Film Competition with awards worth $400,000 and has expanded its team to include several programmers well versed in Arab cinema, including Doha Film Institute Head of Education and Programmer Scandar Copti (Ajami).

About 3,000 people watched the opening film – 2,000 of them at Doha’s impressive new cultural village Katara, which includes a large open-air amphitheatre as well as other indoor cinemas and facilities.

The festival got underway with its first full day of screenings and events on Wednesday, with a number of notable guests. Weta Digital’s visual effects supervisor Matt Aitken gave a presentation, Mira Nair talked about her Maisha Film Lab (based in Uganda but with in cooperation with Qatar), and Bouchareb followed his opening-night screening with a masterclass.

DTFF runs through Oct 30.