x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Doha Tribeca Film Festival: what not to miss

Robert De Niro, revolutionary Arabic hip-hop, Saudis first female filmmaker and four days of activities for children are just some of the highlights of this year's festival.

Lyrics Revolt is a Qatari-made documentary about hip-hop and the Arab Spring. Courtesy Torath Production
Lyrics Revolt is a Qatari-made documentary about hip-hop and the Arab Spring. Courtesy Torath Production

With 39 feature films, it might not be the biggest film festival in the region, but in just four years the Doha Tribeca Film Festival has carved out a niche with its big-name attendees, broad scope of international films, impressive Arabic content and a community feel that embraces the whole city. Here are a few highlights of this year's festival, which runs from Saturday until November 24.

Doha Talks

If you've ever watched Al Jazeera, you might have noticed that Doha is a city with a passion for talking. And this extends to the film festival, where there are several opportunities for chin-stroking discussion.

Robert De Niro, who started the original Tribeca festival in New York, will be sitting down on Sunday for an "In Conversation With", as will Mira Nair earlier in the day.

For those interested in more regional cinema, on Wednesday there will be a panel discussion about Khaleeji filmmaking featuring Saudi Arabia's first female director, Haifaa Al Mansour.

Family Day(s)

The Katara Cultural Village will be awash in family films and live entertainment for not one but four days this time around, from Wednesday, November 21 to Saturday, November 24.

Among the classics being screened at the DFI Sony Open-Air Cinema are ET and Cinema Paradiso, while a panel titled Express Yourself, moderated by the UAE's Mohammed Saeed Harib of Freej fame, will invite young enthusiasts to unleash their creative potential.

The films

It's difficult picking out the must-sees, but here are a few worth scrapping over for the last remaining tickets:

Children of Heaven: Majid Majidi's children's classic is as captivating today as it was in 1997.

Fidaï: Fifty years after Algeria's independence, this documentary highlights the actions of its unnamed revolutionaries.

The Lebanese Rocket Society: Did you know that back in the 1960s, Lebanon fired the Middle East's first rocket and was actively involved in the space race?

Lyrics Revolt: A Qatari-made documentary about hip-hop and the Arab Spring, followed by performances from some of the artists (watch for an interview in Sunday's Arts&Life).

Jab Tak Hai Jaan (Till I Breathe This Life): The late Yash Chopra's final gift to Bollywood and featuring a slew of stars.

Seven Psychopaths: Because the director Martin McDonagh's previous film, In Bruges, was brilliant.

For details of all the films and other events plus screening times and locations, visit www.dohafilminstitute.com

aritman@thenational.ae