The fourth annual Doha Tribeca Film Festival opened with style and glamour at the weekend with a gala screening of Mira Nair’s film The Reluctant Fundamentalist, co-funded by the Doha Film Institute, and a lavish party at the Souq Waquif, one of the city’s leading cultural spots.
With the Souq’s entrance, close to the Al Najada hotel where many festival events are staged, was decked with Arabian carpets, and following the arrival of Mira Nair and her cast and crew – as well as celebrities raging from Robert De Niro and Egyptian star Khaled Abul Naga through to His Excellency Mr. Hamad bin Abdel Aziz Al Kuwari, Qatar’s Minister of Culture – there were performances to entertain the assembled guests from around the world.
Alongside Nair were Mohsin Hamid, the renowned author, whose eponymous book the film is based on; Ami Boghani, script co-writer; Meesha Shafi, musician and actress, and Abu Muhammad and Fariduddin Ayaz, the Qawwal Brothers, who composed the film’s soundtrack and who performed at the opening night party.
The festival’s Arab Film Competition is the only competitive film event in the region dedicated to Arab talent, with this year’s event featuring more than 27 films – including seven narrative features, seven documentaries and13 shorts – from 10 Arab countries competing for total prize money of more than $440,000.
De Niro (who stars in Silver Linings Playbook which screened at the festival) was also on hand over the weekend to take part in a masterclass discussion hosted by Tribeca’s Geoffrey Gilmore, while DTFF also hosted a series of provocative industry events.
Addressing the opening night audience, Qatari Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage His Excellency Mr. Hamad bin Abdel Aziz Al Kuwari said: “Film has the power to shape opinion and influence people, and through this year’s large showcase of Arab films, the festival can help address prevailing misconceptions about the region.”