Doha film festival opens with controversial French film
With an action-thriller that aroused anger in France upon its release, Qatar opened on Tuesday the second edition of The Doha Tribeca Film Festival.
The gas-rich Gulf emirate drew back the curtains on its film festival with French-Algerian director Rachid Bouchareb's "Outside the Law," about a 1945 massacre of mostly unarmed Algerian civilians by French soldiers.
The movie opens with the massacre in the town of Setif, and focuses on three Algerian brothers who survive and then live in France where they join Algeria's armed independence movement.
As Bouchareb's movie hit French screens in September, Le Parisien newspaper's front page headline read: "Outside the Law, the film that disturbs."
When the film was first shown in France at Cannes in May, riot police were deployed outside the festival hall to hold back demonstrators.
Film star Salma Hayek -- a jury member -- glided down the red carpet for the opening of the festival, which was also attended by several Arab actors including popular Egyptian movie stars Yusra and Adel Imam.
The festival, which runs until until Saturday, will showcase 51 features from over 35 countries and is offering cash prizes totalling 410,000 dollars (295,652 euros).
The Doha-based US-inspired event is a cultural partnership between the Doha Film Institute and Tribeca Enterprises.
US actor and founder of New York's Tribeca Film Festival, Robert De Niro, who helped to organise the first Doha festival last year is also expected to to attend later during the festival.
New York's Tribeca Film Festival was launched to reinvigorate cultural life in Manhattan after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
"Tribeca is a partner but this festival made here is by the Doha Film Institute," festival director Amanda Palmer told AFP.
The opening movie was screened free for everybody in a huge open air theater.
"This festival is about community... We want everybody to be VIP," Palmer said.
Ten productions have also been selected to take part in the Doha festival's Arab film competition, among them four world premieres.
The foreign films which will be screened include "Miral" by Julian Schnabel about an orphan from Jerusalem and "The Conspirator" by Robert Redford about the assassination of US president Abraham Lincoln.
© 2010 AFP