Qatar makes noise in Arab world

Scorsese, Nair, Tribeca cultural partners with Doha institute

CANNES -- Martin Scorsese, Tribeca Enterprises and filmmaker Mira Nair are sheltering under the Doha Film Institute umbrella organization launched Saturday here with the blessing and backing of Qatar's H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa.

The Middle East Emirate state has set up the new look org to bring all of Qatar's myriad film initiatives under one banner.

The ambitious plans for the organization, under the watchful eye of DFI executive director Amanda Palmer, include cultural partnerships with Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Foundation, Mira Nair's Maisha, and New York's Tribeca Enterprises.

And while it will also pony up cash for international filmmakers for productions the wealthy state is not aiming to become known for being yet another oil rich nation with funding headlines in mind.

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"Everything we do is contingent on the idea of exchange," Palmer said. "We really want to build a skills economy (in Qatar) and promote the sustainability and credibility. The DFI will certainly play a role in putting (finance) partners together and that's how I would like us to build our reputation. We won't be asking to have a big slice of ownership in exchange."

The DFI enjoys the serious financial muscle from backer the Qatar Investment Authority.

The umbrella will also oversee existing cultural partnerships with Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Foundation, Mira Nair's Maisha and New York's Tribeca Enterprises.

As part of this expansion, Scorsese's World Cinema Foundation has signed a three-year cultural partnership with DFI to restore and preserve international films of cultural significance.

And the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, a cultural partnership between Doha's DFI and New York's Tribeca Enterprises also continues into its second year in 2010, scheduled to open Oct. 26.

DFI has also extended a partnership with Nair's Maisha Film Lab to allow Qatari residents to take part in a cross-cultural exchange with filmmakers and students from East Africa and South Asia to access professional training and production resources.

"The Doha Film Institute's goal is to build a sustainable film industry in Qatar with strong links to the international film community. Film can do more than just entertain; it can educate, inspire and unite communities and we want to nurture and support filmmakers as we continue to grow Qatar as a cultural hub for film," Sheikha Al Mayassa said.