Doha Film Institute

DFI head of film financing exits after a year

Doha Film Institute head of financing Paul Miller has stepped down after one year on the job during which he negotiated the DFI’s deal with Participant Media to launch a five-year, $100 million revolving fund.

News of Miller’s resignation, which was swirling at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, has been confirmed by the DFI in a terse statement that simply said Miller exited “to pursue other opportunities” and wished him the “very best.”

Indications are Miller’s departure will not impact the DFI’s deal with Participant Media for a slate of 12-16 feature films, announced at the Berlin Film Festival in February. That deal, which had been in the works prior to Miller’s arrival at DFI, was negotiated also by advisor/consultant Hal Sadoff with Participant Media’s chief operating officer Jeff Ivers.

DFI’s pact with Participant also envisions creating an Arabic version of TakePart.com, Participant’s on-line division and social action network and creating Middle-Eastern based content in Arabic and English for distribution around the world.

Two films funded in part by the DFI were screening in Abu Dhabi on Saturday: Algerian auteur Merzak Allouache’s “The Rooftops,” which world-preemed at Venice, and “For Those Who Can Tell No Tales” by Bosnia’s Jasmila Zbanic.

The DFI during Miller’s mandate also expanded its grants program to include first and second-time filmmakers from outside the Middle East. No changes are expected in regards to that aspect of its activities either.

Headed by CEO Abdulaziz Al Khater, the DFI was established in 2010 with a mandate to create a sustainable film industry in Qatar. It now runs two film festivals, the upcoming Ajyal Youth Film Festival, dedicated to kiddie fare, and the Qumra Doha Film Festival dedicated to first and second works from all over the world.

Miller’s production credits prior to joining the DFI include “Snow Angels,” “A Love Song for Bobby Long,” and “Prozac Nation.”

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