New film from the director of Oscar-nominated Omar to premiere at Toronto.

The Idol

The Doha Film Institute has announced it has struck a co-financing partnership on Hany Abu-Assad’s The Idol (Ya Tayr El Tayr).

The film, directed by Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad (Paradise Now, Omar), will have its world premiere at Toronto next monthwhere it will screen as part of the festival’s Special Presentations.

The film tells the true story of Mohammad Assaf, a wedding singer from Gaza who became a worldwide sensation after winning the live-singing competition Arab Idol.

Doha Film Institute CEO Fatma Al Remaihi said: “Hany Abu-Assad is one of the most significant filmmakers from the Arab world and we are honoured to be partners on ‘The Idol’.

“Mohammed Assaf’s remarkable story, the many struggles he had to overcome, and his love and commitment to his family and community in Gaza had a powerful impact on us.

“In the hands of a great filmmaker like Hany Abu-Assad, this story will undoubtedly continue to resonate with people all over the world.”

The Doha Film Institute has been involved with The Idol from the production stage and two Qatari filmmakers have participated in a post-production internship this week, working alongside Hany Abu-Assad during the final edit of the film in London.

The post-production interns are Yousef Al Moadhadi, an editor and director whose short film 10% won the Made in Qatar Award at the 2014 Ajyal Youth Film Festival; and Leena Al Musalmani, a Northwestern University in Qatar graduate whose first film, Public Phone, screened as part of the Made in Qatar section of the 2014 Ajyal Youth Film Festival.

The DFI’s co-financing coordinator and emerging filmmaker, Meriem Mesraoua, was also in attendance to observe and learn from the experience.

The Doha Film Institute’s participation in The Idol follows its recent co-financing role on Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, an animated feature film written and directed by Roger Allers (The Lion King) with ‘chapters’ from nine award-winning animators.

Salma Hayek produced the film and is one of the voice cast. The film is currently on release in the US.