Posted on November 03, 2012

In a development that will strengthen ties between two of Qatar’s leading media institutions, Northwestern University in Qatar and Doha Film Institute announced that they will partner to help bring local film and media work front and center at the fourth edition of Doha Tribeca Film Festival.

The two organizations agreed to a collaboration last week that allows for a variety of activities to support local media producers, advance media literacy, and promote Qatar’s emerging film and media industry, crowned by a co-hosted opening night for the ‘Made in Qatar’ series on November 18. DTFF organizers had recently announced that this year’s edition of the international festival will showcase the largest number of ‘Made in Qatar’ films yet, including 15 world premieres.

NU-Q dean and CEO Everette Dennis said, “Doha Film Institute and Northwestern University in Qatar both want to understand, develop, and support the growing creative and media industries in Qatar. We hope this exciting engagement with the Doha Tribeca Film Festival will build on the many past and current collaborations between individuals in the NU-Q and DFI communities, and that it will inaugurate a larger, long-term partnership between the two organizations.”

“We are enthusiastic about the growing number of films featuring in ‘Made in Qatar’, and we hope that shining a joint spotlight on this talent and encouraging young people in Qatar to get involved in media will inspire a generation that will go on to lead a prosperous creative industry in Qatar,” he added.

NU-Q and DFI will extend their support of media literacy to the wider community at DTFF Family Days on November 23 and 24, when NU-Q will give young people and their parents the opportunity to try presenting news from the festival in a simulated television studio on Katara's corniche.  NU-Q faculty and staff will give members of the community a hands-on chance to learn what goes on behind the scenes in a live newscast.

Mr. Abdulaziz Al-Khater, CEO of DFI, said, “Media and creative industries are one of the fastest growing sectors globally, and in the Middle East alone is growing at an annual rate of 5 percent. DFI is committed to supporting the growth of these industries in line with Qatar’s national vision of developing a strong knowledge backed country. We are proud to be partnering with NU-Q to provide young talent in Qatar with the opportunity to shine in these rapidly evolving industries and support the development of a robust local filmmaking community.”

Student and Faculty Talent Feature Heavily at DFI

In tandem with its partnership with DFI, NU-Q is celebrating the selection of its students’ works for screening in ‘Made in Qatar’ series, which will open with a red carpet screening of “Lyrics Revolt.” The film, produced by NU-Q alumni Ashlene Ramadan, Rana Khaled, Melanie Fridgant, and Shannon Farhoud, portrays how Arab hip-hop gave voice to youth-led movements for change across the region.

In a nod to the film, which was selected as the opening night premiere for ‘Made in Qatar’ from over 70 submissions, NU-Q will co-host an Arab Hip Hop concert by Cairo trio Arabian Knightz, a group that prides themselves on Arab unity. The group will display a repertoire of popular tracks, combining old Arabic music with contemporary hip-hop at the concert, which will take place at Katara Beach on November 18, from 9.30 to 11.30 pm. The other performances for the evening include Syrian- American hip-hop artist, educator, designer, poet and peace activist Omar Offendum and English - Arabic  Lebanese rap artist Malikah.

In addition to “Lyrics Revolt,” DTFF has selected three other films that began as student work at NU-Q. Amna Saleh Al-Khalaf’s “Brains of Empowerment,” a combination of animation and live action, was produced as part of her coursework for a 3D Animation class.  An experimental film about the empowerment of women in the Middle East, the film depicts a Qatari woman pursuing a quest to defy social norms and do what her heart desires, causing other women to follow in her footsteps. “Ghazil – The Story of Rashed and Jawaher” is a family drama by Sarah Al-Derham that takes place in the Gulf over 100 years ago. Also showing is a film by Sara Al-Saadi, Latifa Abdulla Al Darwish, and Maaria Assami, titled “Bader.” The short documentary follows a young Qatari boy who uses poetry to help him overcome distractions and other challenges in a local Doha school.

NU-Q faculty will share their expertise in a series of DTFF panels. “Emerging Cinema of Change” will be led by Joe Khalil, an Associate Professor in NU-Q’s Communication program, and will examine the role of films and filmmakers during times of social change. Regionally known Arab filmmakers and artists from different generations and backgrounds will join the panel to address this issue in light of events in the Arab World over the past two years.

Other NU-Q faculty leading discussions at the festival include Tim Wilkerson, award-winning filmmaker and Assistant Professor at NU-Q, on films about Algerian independence; Professor in Residence Khaled Hroub and Assistant Professor of Journalism Justin Martin, on the portrayal of Arabs in western media (following the November 22 screening of “Valentino’s Ghost”); and Scott Curtis, Associate Professor of Communication and film historian, on the hit Iranian film “No Entry for Men.”

DFI will also bring some of the Festival to Education City through a programmed ‘Lunch with the Pros’ series, where leading film industry guests of the festival will come to NU-Q for an insiders' look at their work and industry on the week of November 18-22.

Further information about these events and activities will be made available in coming weeks on NU-Q’s website http://www.qatar.northwestern.edu/news/events-calendar.html.

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