Team Qatar, a documentary about the Qatar’s first national high school debating team, took the audience award for best film in festival at the inaugural Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF).

The film’s director, Liz Mermin, was presented with her award by Tribeca Film Festival co-founder Robert De Niro. He also presented Hiam Abass with the audience award for best Arab film for Pomegranates and Myrrhand announced the most promising film-maker award, which went to Sophia Al-Maria for her one minute short, The Racer.

The awards closed the four day festival followed by an outdoor screening of Egyptian film, Cairo Time. It opened on October 29 with the Middle Eastern premiere of Mira Nair’s Amelia, starring Hilary Swank, Richard Gere and Ewan MacGregor.

The festival, which was launched a year ago through partnership between Tribeca Enterprises and the Qatar Museums Authority, included a programme of free screenings, workshops and panel discussions, and attracted visits from Martin Scorsese, Sir Ben Kingsley and Patricia Clarkson.

DTFF also announced on Sunday (November 1) an expansion of its educational programme that aim to establish a year-round presence in Doha. It will include screenwriting and directing labs and a Doha-New York exchange programme.

“Education is the centerpiece of our partnership,” said Geoff Gilmore, chief creative officer of Tribeca Enterprises. “We are excited to work with Doha to support their cultural vision to inspire and educate their local community through film and create opportunities for voices to emerge from Qatar.”