Doha Film Institute CEO Abdulaziz Al-Khater is stepping down in the latest development that raises questions about the DFI’s future plans, especially in the film festival field.
Al Khater, who joined DFI in 2012 after holding several senior banking positions, was expected to reconfigure and relaunch the Qatari government-backed entity’s activities which, besides organizing the now scrapped Doha Tribeca Film Festival, also comprise year-round film funding and training initiatives.
In 2013 after severing ties with Tribeca Enterprises, the DFI at Cannes announced it had brought Palestinian auteur Elia Suleiman on board as artistic advisor and re-invented its festival activity by splitting it into two separate events: the Qumra Doha Film Festival for first and second-time directors from around the world, and the Ajyal Youth Film Festival.
But Ajyal is the only fest they’ve had since then, headed by Fatma Al-Remaihi, who will now step in as acting DFI CEO until a successor to Al Khater is named, a brief statement said.
The inaugural Qumra Doha fest was cancelled last year shortly before its scheduled launch. There has been no news of it since. At Cannes this year the DFI held a cocktail party but did not invite press.
Al Khater also negotiated and inked the DFI’s deal with Participant Media at Berlin in 2013 for a $100 million revolving fund. They are among financiers of Salma Hayek-produced “The Prophet,” which will world preem in Toronto.