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Hollywood, Arabic stars to gather in Doha for film fest

09/29/2009 02:31 PM

This season's festival-circuit favourites, including Matt Damon's The Informant! and Jane Campion's Bright Star, will make their way to Qatar for the inaugural Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF).

To be held in Doha's Museum of Islamic Art from October 29, the four-day event is tipped to attract some of the biggest names in Hollywood, Bollywood and Arabic cinema.

Although the festival organisers are yet to confirm the stars who will attend the fest, the line-up for Robert De Niro's artistic answer to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre is filled with diverse cinematic gems.

Headlining the opening night is Mira Nair's film Amelia, the thrilling account of legendary aviator Amelia Earhart, played by two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank.

Very often, the stars featuring in the films are known to walk the red carpet too. In a statement, Nair expressed her excitement at opening the much-anticipated festival with her powerful product.

"Amelia was truly modern, a visionary, and my film explores her quest for balance between the ecstasy of the sky and the responsibility of the earth. It is, in a sense, an action adventure, with Hilary Swank as the true embodiment of the spiritual power of Amelia Earhart," says Nair.

Variety is another strong point of the exciting line-up, which was revealed on Tuesday.

Campion's much talked-about Bright Star chronicling the final years of poet John Keats and his passionate love affair, and Canadian director Ruba Nadda's cross-cultural romance Cairo Time are some of the other highlights.

Bollywood and fashion will also get a head start in this year's DTFF. Indian director Dev Benegal's drama Road, Movie featuring Abhay Deol in the lead hopes to create as much of a stir as it did at the Toronto Film Festival, while R.J. Cutler's The September Issue will give you a sneak peak into the world of cut-throat fashion.

More than 30 films will be featured at the festival. Commenting on the line-up, Geoff Gilmore, Chief Creative Officer of Tribeca Enterprises says,"We believe the line-up for our first festival reflects the genuineness of that cultural partnership and is embodied in the remarkable diversity and aesthetic range of the work."

Apart from the rich roster of films, there are plenty of awards to be won. Festival organisers announced that in its first year, 31 of the 33 films in the line-up will be eligible for two audience-based awards each carrying unrestricted cash prizes amounting to more than Dh 180,000.

Audience award winners will be announced at DTFF's closing night ceremony on November 1.

During the ceremony, the Festival will also announce a screenplay development and filmmaker grant programme, illustrating its commitment to develop and support filmmakers year-round in the region.

Here are some of the highlights. For updates, log on to

Capitalism: A Love Story
Directed by: Michael Moore
Why should we watch it: Moore digs deeps into the murky world of capitalism and dissects America's crisis with the sharpest tool in his kitty — satire.

Coco Before Chanel (Coco avant Chanel)
Directed by: Anne Fontaine
Why should we watch it: As the title suggests, Fontaine charts the rise of an ambitious, difficult woman — Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel — into one of the most influential figures in fashion in the 20th century.

South Of The Border
Directed by: Oliver Stone
Why should we watch it: After its successful outing at the 66th Venice Film Festival, the always controversial director's revolutionary epic provides a sympathetic glimpse into the personality of embattled Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. The big question remains — Was Chavez the anti-American force the media claimed he was?

Racing Dream
Directed by: Marshall Curry
Why should we watch it: The winner of the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival's Best Documentary Feature award follows the trials and triumps of three top racers competing for the auto national championship.


About Elly
Directed and written by: Asghar Farhadi
Why should we watch it: This Persian film is the winner of the Tribeca Film Festival's Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature and is a tale of a weekend getaway that goes awry.

The Mummy (Al-Momia)
Directed by: Shadi Abdel Salam
Why should we watch it: Filmed in 1969, this important Egyptian film has been painstakingly and beautifully restored by Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Foundation and delves deep into the ancestry and heritage.

Team Qatar
Directed by: Liz Mermin
Why should we watch it: The film follows the first Qatari National debate team and their springy English coach as they train in preparation for the world championship in Washington DC. Will the multi-cultural team strike its goal at the world stage?

Pomegranates and Myrrh
Directed by: Najwa Najjar
Why should we watch it? Love triangles – one of cinema's long-enduring staples – is brought to life by filmmaker Najwa Najjar. A tale of a talented dancer Kamar and her turbulent personal life with the backdrop of political instability will set you thinking.


Road, movie
Directed by: Dev Benegal
After having navigated the festival circuit in Venice, Benegal is all set to park in Doha. Bollywood hunk Abhay Deol plays the role of truck driver Vishnu, who embarks on an adventure to travel across India.

Red Cliff
Directed by: John Woo
Touted to be one of the most expensive Asian film, this Mandarin film has great battle scenes and striking performances from its lead actors.

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