Tribeca Enterprises, Qatar's Doha Film Institute End Cultural, Festival Partnership

2:15 AM PST 04/30/2013 by Stuart Kemp

After four years of visits from Robert De Niro to help build a grassroots film industry in the Middle Eastern territory, the parties go their separate ways.

LONDON – Tribeca Enterprises and the Doha Film Institute, an independent cultural organization in the Middle Eastern state of Qatar, are ending the cultural partnership that launched the Doha Tribeca Film Festival.

The two organizations issued a joint statement early Tuesday announcing "the conclusion" of their four-year relationship and signaling that the festival would look to modify its format and focus this year.

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"We partnered with Doha Film Institute to help launch an event that would create a sustainable foundation for the growth of a film community and industry in Qatar and the Middle East," Tribeca Enterprises said. "As exemplified by DTFF, we share a common goal with DFI: to engage, entertain and inspire in equal measure in a region with a profound and growing interest in film."

It added: "After four years of successful cultural partnership, the festival has grown immensely and reflects our mutual vision for an event to promote cultural understanding and community through film and education. We are proud of everything DFI and Tribeca have achieved together, and we wish DFI the very best as they move forward with their festival and year-round initiatives."

DFI CEO Abdulaziz Al-Khater said: “Through the past four editions of the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, which were organized in cultural partnership with Tribeca Enterprises, we achieved our fundamental goals of creating a vibrant grassroots film industry in Qatar. We are thankful to them for their invaluable insights that helped elevate the film festival initiative of DFI to a truly global level. It was a rewarding experience to work with Tribeca Enterprises, and we will draw on this rich learning to create a new format for DFI’s film festival initiatives starting this year."

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Just what the Doha Film Festival will look like following the withdrawal of Tribeca's involvement is anyone's guess. Organizers said they hope to announce details during the upcoming Festival de Cannes in May.

Al-Khater added: "With DFI having successfully formed strong community and industry bonds, the new festival format will build on the passion for filmmaking from talent in the region and around the world. We are defining a new niche for the film festival, which will serve as a platform for strengthening a homegrown film industry, as well as continuing to build our international relationships to promote Qatar as a cultural hub."

The end of the relationship comes just weeks after veteran film producer Paula Weinstein was named executive VP of Tribeca Enterprises.

Last year's Doha Tribeca Film Festival saw visits from Robert De Niro and Skyfall writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who added star power to the Qatar event.

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