Fest Traveler: Doha Tribeca 2012

The fourth installment of the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, the annual culmination of the film production and education activities of the Doha Film Institute, will open with a film that oozes local pride: Mira Nair’s “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” which was made thanks to funding from the institute.

The pic, which world-preemed at the 69th Venice Film Fest and is based on the novel by Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid, is the latest success story from the DFI, which this month announced a new CEO and an even deeper commitment to seeking out, nurturing and mentoring homegrown talent in Doha and the greater Gulf region.

“The Doha Tribeca Film Festival is the only film festival in the Middle East that is attached to a year-round institute committed to creating a sustainable regional infrastructure to support the development and expansion of Arab cinema,” says Abdulaziz Al-Khater, who this month was tapped as DFI’s CEO.

DFI is a major anchor of Qatar’s growing film industry, and its efforts have produced local cinema that is modern, edgy and showcases a shifting region, Al-Khater says.

The films in this year’s DTFF Arab competition, he says, “have a real sense of hope. They push the boundaries and they ask questions.”

Doha is the one real metropolis of the sand-swept nation of Qatar, and home to 60% of its residents. A hub of international business and commerce, it is often held up as an ideal Arab city, a place of modernity and culture in a region far too often shaken by conflict. Film, Al-Khater says, is one of Doha’s great national pastimes.

“DFI is about enabling, training, developing and promoting film,” he says. “The festival is a good expression of all of this.”

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