Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Doha Tribeca Film Festival

The film festival came and went. For many of my friends and colleagues, it was a big deal, which I truly understand and respect. They teach film and film making, so they're happy that something like Tribeca would come here. I thought months ago that I should see a few of the flicks and perhaps run into Bob (that's Robert De Niro to the rest of you). But when it finally came, I couldn't find the enthusiasm to fight the traffic, ignore the pretense that often accompanies these things, and watch premiers of blockbusters and independents alike. In fact, I couldn't even reference the enthusiasm I thought I had when I first learned that Tribeca was coming.

Well, Malika Bilal, a fellow Chicagoan and Medill graduate who now works for Al-Jazeera English, wrote a fine piece on the festival and had some good meta-festival observations. Here's an excerpt of her reporting:

Dr Hamid Naficy, a professor of communications in the radio, television and film department at Northwestern University's Qatar campus, says the recent emergence of film festivals, museums and universities in the Gulf are all part of a wider push to develop a "post-petroleum culture".

"There's a desire to create – for those who have oil – a post-petroleum culture because they realize petrol is not permanent," Naficy says. "For those who don't have petrol, it's a desire to create a culture that is less crass … and [based] on a completely consumerist value system. That has to be remunerated by the introduction of deeper cultural values, so that's another reason for film festivals."

Naficy, a filmmaker who has also published several books on cinema in Iran and the Middle East, says the push for film festivals in the region also indicates a sense of rivalry between the Gulf cities. "It's a desire to become modern and to be in the forefront of culture and civilisation," Naficy says. "The problem is population. Small populations don't generally produce major film industries. You will have individual filmmakers. But whether [the Gulf] can become a mecca for filmmaking is not clear."
If you want to read the whole thing, you may go here.


Blogger malika said...

thanks for the virtual 'shout-out' - glad you liked the piece. the festival made doha feel like anyplace BUT doha, but other than that, you didn't miss too much...

11/09/2009 3:46 PM  

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