Championing Arab cinema at the 2020 Oscars
February 17 2020 10:29 PM
The delegates pose for group photo after an event.
The delegates pose for group photo after an event.

The Qatar-America Institute (QAI) joined together with programme partner, Doha Film Institute (DFI), for QAI’s Expert Voices delegation to Los Angeles, US, during the 2020 Oscars week.

Expert Voices Series, a QAI initiative sponsored by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), invites experts from Qatar as a medium for encouraging broader and more diverse conversations and collaborations between Qatari experts with US-based leaders in the fields of culture, sports and technology.

This month’s Expert Voices delegation to LA, focusing on film, consisted of DFI chief executive officer Fatma Hassan Alremaihi, QAI executive director Fatima al-Dosari and Ajyal Film Festival deputy director and chief administrative officer of DFI Abdullah al-Mosallam.

The delegation’s objective aimed to highlight Qatar, a major investor in the US and soon-to-be home to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, as a force in the film world via 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 LA 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, a statement noted.

Al-Dosari said, “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to join our partner, Doha Film Institute, in LA to champion the three Qatari-backed films that were recognised 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 US through its investments and partnerships in California, In fact, these ties will continue through Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, 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-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.

Alremaihi noted, “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 honours 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.

Khalid al-Sada, consul-general 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 also joined the exclusive luncheon celebrating the female Oscar nominees hosted by fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg.

QAI also partnered with Deborah Sawaf, CEO and 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 Alremaihi and the CEO and founder of The Female Quotient, Shelley Zalis.

Charles King, CEO, MACRO, also invited the delegation to his MACRO studio’s pre-Oscars party. Additionally, throughout the week, the delegates met with industry leaders and personalities such as Peter Guber, CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, Egyptian-Canadian actor Omar Sharif Jr, and former NBA all-star Baron Davis. The week culminated with Alremaihi representing Qatar at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards.




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