'Hawi,' 'Balls' Take Top Honors at DTFF

Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro, Harvey Weinstein attended film fest, which featured an acting workshop with Oscar winner Kevin Spacey.

Arab films Hawi and Balls won the best film and best filmmaker awards respectively at the second Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF) Saturday night. The fest ended on a grand and opulent note at its new home along the Arabian Gulf in Katara Cultural Village.

Other award winners included The First Grader (audience award for best narrative film), Grandma, A Thousand Times (audience award for best documentary film) and Missing (best Arab short film). The awards were a first for the festival, which repeatedly emphasizes its mandate of involving Qatar's community and fostering a culture of cinema through its parent organization, the Doha Film Institute (DFI).

"This Festival's many different elements have helped it forge a real connection with this community, as the attendance figures show," said Maggie Kim, managing director, DFI and DTFF. "Everything from panels to industry events to Family Day and Outdoor Screenings have combined to create an important film hub. We're proud to be contributing to the cultural life of Doha and look forward to a bright future in this community for DTFF and the year-round activities of DFI." 

Popular Arab talent and filmmakers were in attendance at the festival, which also attracted Robert De Niro, Kevin Spacey, Salma Hayek Pinault, Mira Nair, Harvey Weinstein, Julian Schnabel, Randall Wallace and French photographer Brigitte Lacombe, whose I Am Film, a work in progress photographic documentation of emerging and established Arab talent at their informal best, was a special exhibit that defined the fest's campaign.

The event also served as a platform for a number of DFI workshops, including an acting workshop for Qatari acting aspirants with Kevin Spacey, and DFI announcements, such as their agreement with Quinta Communications to co-produce Black Gold, an adaptation of the Hans Reusch novel The Great Thirst.

The Doha Tribeca Film Festival was held October 26-30, and featured a diverse selection of 51 feature films from the Middle East and 35 countries around the world.