Annaud’s ‘Black Gold’ to open Doha fest

Quinta, Doha Film Institute co-produced pic

LONDON — Jean-Jacques Annaud’s “Black Gold” will open the Doha Tribeca Film Festival on Oct. 25.

The choice is not a surprise: The pic was co-produced by Tarak Ben Ammar’s Quinta Communciations and the Doha Film Institute, and was one of the biggest movies to ever lense in Qatar. (It also lensed in Tunisia.) Plus, the $55 million budget pic reps the first major international co-production for DFI and Qatar.

The film toplines Antonio Banderas, Freida Pinto, Tahar Rahim, Mark Strong and Liya Kebede, many of whom will attend the opening night preem at the fest.

Titanic” and “Avatar” composer James Horner recently composed the film’s score at London’s Abbey Road Studios, while Qatari vocalist Fahad Al Kubaisi recorded the opening track with the composer.

Script is penned by Menno Meyjes, based on Hans Ruesch’s tome “The Great Thirst.”

Story follows the rivalry of two young emirs, against the backdrop of a 1930s Arab states at the peak of the oil boom.

Pic’s battle scenes were shot in the desert dunes of Mesaieed and Shamal in Qatar.

Showing ‘Black Gold’ as the opening film will be a real celebration of a truly home-grown project that we hope captivates audiences around the globe,” said Amanda Palmer, exec director of DFI, in a statement. “The film will be released to international audiences via Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures on Nov. 23, and we can’t wait to showcase the Arab talent and creativity that has gone into this project, and to also illuminate a part of the world that everyone wants to understand more about.”

Ben Ammar added: “This is a quintessential Arab tale, the kind of story that a lot of young people may have heard from older relatives, so part of the idea was to chart a slice of our history in a really modern, engaging way — through a motion picture.”

The Doha Tribeca Film Festival runs from Oct. 25-29.

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