Doha set to launch two new film festivals

Highlights will include a special 'Made in Qatar' section, says Doha Film Institute
Doha Film Institute has cut its ties with Robert De Niro's Tribeca. (Getty Images)

Doha Film Institute has cut its ties with Robert De Niro's Tribeca. (Getty Images)

Qatar has announced plans for two new film festivals at the Cannes Film Festival, just weeks after it ended its partnership with Robert De Niro's world-famous New York-based Tribeca Film Festival.

The Doha Film Institute (DFI) announced at the weekend films from first- and second-time filmmakers will be the focus of the new Qumra Film Festival, Doha.

The inaugural festival will take place in March next year and will be open to international filmmakers and will include feature-length and short films. The eight-day festival will include a number of award categories and a special ‘Made in Qatar’ section.

In addition, the Ajyal Film Festival for the Young will be a community-based event that aims to promote film appreciation among families and educators and will debut in November.

“Over the last four years, our community-based programming has been extremely popular among the residents of Doha,” said Abdulaziz Al Khater, CEO of DFI.

“We want to harness the momentum we’ve generated there and continue developing film appreciation in Qatar. At the same time, the Institute has decided to focus on emerging filmmakers and expand its competitions to include films from around the world. The best path to achieving our goals is to build two separate film festivals.”

Earlier this month, DFI announced that its cultural partnership with Robert De Niro's New York-based Tribeca Enterprises had ended. The partnership, which brought the world-famous Tribeca Film Festival to the Qatari capital, was concluded mutually, the organisations said in a statement.

"Through the past four editions of the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, which were organised in cultural partnership with Tribeca Enterprises, we achieved our fundamental goals of creating a vibrant grassroots film industry in Qatar,” Al-Khater said at the time.

New York's Tribeca Film Festival was founded by actor Robert De Niro after the September 11 attacks and Qatar was the first venue to host the event outside its home country.

Prior to the Tribeca festival, Qatar has only hosted the Al Jazeera Documentary Film Festival, but the world's largest exporter of LNG aims to mold itself into a cultural capital for the region.

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