Analysis

Qatar’s Growing Film Industry: Championing Arab Cinema at the 2020 Oscars

Doha Film Institute (DFI) and The Qatar-America Institute (QAI) partnered on a delegation to Los Angeles to highlight Qatars role in supporting Arab Cinema and MENA region filmmakers during Oscars week.

 

Los Angeles, CA – February 16th, 2020: The Qatar-America Institute (QAI) joined together with program partner the Doha Film Institute (DFI) for QAI’s Expert Voices delegation to Los Angeles during the 2020 Oscars week. Expert Voices Series, a QAI initiative sponsored by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (S.C.), invites experts from Qatar as a medium for encouraging broader and more diverse conversations and collaborations between Qatari experts with U.S.-based leaders in the fields of culture, sports, and technology. This month’s Expert Voices delegation to L.A., focusing on film, consisted of DFI’s CEO Fatma Hassan Alremaihi, QAI’s Executive Director, Fatima Al-Dosari, and Abdullah Al-Mosallam, Deputy Director of Ajyal Film Festival and Chief Administrative Officer of DFI.

 

The delegation’s objective aimed to highlight Qatar, a major investor in the U.S. and soon-to-be home to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, as a force in the film industry via the Doha Film Institute. In addition to showcasing the nation’s role in supporting and championing films, filmmakers, and creatives from the region, the Expert Voices delegation solidified existing relationships and fostered new ones in California. The Expert Voices trip to L.A. presented an opportunity for QAI and DFI to act on their new partnership and join together in strengthening the voices from the region, through the power of films and storytelling, and by engaging in conversations on the importance of female empowerment and multicultural representation.

 

Executive Director of QAI, Fatima Al-Dosari, poses for a photograph with the CEO of Doha Film Institute, Fatma Hassan Alremaihi

Fatima Al-Dosari, Executive Director of the Qatar America Institute, said, “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to join our partner, the Doha Film Institute, in L.A. to champion the three Qatari-backed films that were recognized at this year’s Oscars: the DFI-granted films The Cave and Brotherhood and the Al-Jazeera Witness supported film St. Louis Superman. We are also excited to showcase the strong ties between Qatar and the U.S. through its investments and partnerships in California, In fact, these ties will continue through Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which will bring over $10 billion worth of business to U.S. firms, followed by a close handover from 2022 in Qatar to 2026 in the United States.”

 

The delegates met with industry leaders in Los Angeles ahead of attending the 2020 Oscars, where two of DFI’s supported films were nominated: The Cave, a Syrian civil war film directed by Feras Fayyad was nominated in the Best Documentary Feature category, while Brotherhood, a Tunisian film by Montreal-based filmmaker Meryam Joobeur, earned a nomination under the Best Live Action Short Films category.

 

Fatma Hassan Alremaihi, Chief Executive Officer of the Doha Film Institute, said, “Bridging the gap between east and west cultures is at the forefront of Qatar’s public diplomacy, so we are very grateful for this opportunity to further strengthen our ties with our peers in America. Our commitment to supporting global storytelling has given volume to important new voices, and we are proud to be associated with a diverse range of films that have won critical acclaim and top honors at the world’s leading film events. Arab cinema is in a good place right now due to the efforts of our emerging filmmakers who continue to bring our stories to the rest of the world, with unique perspectives that promote cross-cultural exchange and encourage dialogue and discourse.”

 

The activity-filled week included a meeting at City Hall with City of Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch’s office to discuss Qatar’s pivotal role in the state of California, a relationship that extends beyond the financial sphere into the fields of arts, sports, technology, education, and entertainment. His Excellency Khalid Al Sada, Consul General of the State of Qatar in Los Angeles, hosted a dinner at his home in honor of the DFI-funded films, joined by the producers behind the Oscar-nominated film Brotherhood and special guest Brigitte Lacombe, an esteemed French photographer.

 

The delegates also enjoyed a private tour of the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, prior to attending The International Feature Films of the 92nd Oscars Reception, spotlighting the nominees for Best International Feature Film. QAI and DFI were also honored to join the exclusive luncheon celebrating the female Oscar nominees hosted by fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg. The event toasts women’s empowerment with a special focus on von Furstenberg’s InCharge movement and the Academy’s Women’s Initiative.

 

QAI also partnered with Deborah Sawaf, CEO & Founder of the luxury handbag brand, Thalé Blanc, to host a High Tea and Talk on multiculturalism and female empowerment in the creative and tech industries, with special guest speakers DFI’s Fatma Hassan Alremaihi and the CEO and Founder of The Female Quotient, Shelley Zalis. The event gathered members of the L.A. community to learn about Qatar’s role in advancing women’s rights in the Middle East, DFI’s work in supporting MENA region representation in the international film community, and the importance of promoting women in the technology and creative fields.

 

QAI and DFI highlight Qatar’s contributions to the world of cinema during Oscars week