Press Centre

Back to listing

Qatar’s First International Co-production to World Premiere at 2011 Doha Tribeca Film Festival

May 12, 2011

Freida Pinto in Black Gold. (Photo by Quinta and David Koskas)

Cannes, 12 May 2011 – The Doha Film Institute (DFI) today announced that Arabian epic Black Gold directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud will make its world premiere at the 2011 Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF), which is scheduled to run October 25 – 29, 2011 at Katara Cultural Village.

Co-produced with Quinta Communications, Black Gold is the first major international co-production for DFI and Qatar. Starring Antonio Banderas, Freida Pinto, Tahar Rahim, Mark Strong, Riz Ahmed and Liya Kebede, the film is an epic adventure adaptation of Hans Reusch’s classic novel The Great Thirst. The film’s prominent battle scenes were shot in the spectacular desert dunes of Mesaieed and Shamal, in Qatar – over a four week period.

“DTFF 2011 is the perfect launching platform for Black Gold,” commented H.E. Sheikh Jabor Bin Yousuf Al Thani, DFI Festival Board Member.

“Not only did the film’s production mobilise various national industry sectors and engage the Qatari public, but it strengthened DFI and Qatar’s experience and know-how to build the beginnings of a dynamic local film industry. Seeing these developments embodied in a major motion picture will give local audiences a rich insight into the progress being made in establishing Qatar as a global film hub.”

DFI Executive Director, Amanda Palmer, added: “DFI and Quinta Communications are delighted to be premiering the film before local audiences at this year’s Festival and would like to thank the people of Qatar for their continued support. We are increasingly empowering local storytellers and working harder than ever to build a long-term film industry in Qatar, and I think Festival attendees will see this reflected throughout this year’s Festival in content, programming and the various events that we hold.”

“Black Gold has been my dream project for more than 30 years. I am delighted that the film will now receive its world premiere in Qatar given that it was my meeting with Sheikha Mayassa six years ago which helped turn this dream into a reality,” said Tarak Ben Ammar, CEO of Quinta. “Our relationship with the Doha Film Institute is far more than a financial deal. We share a real common view on the kind of films we want to make together and the way we both want to build our countries up in terms of film infrastructure, opportunities and a highly skilled workforce.”

Since its inception, DFI’s successful cultural partnership with Tribeca Enterprises has enabled it to create a uniquely Qatari, community-minded platform for the expression, exposure and celebration of both Arab and international films.

DTFF 2011 will continue to build on the success of previous editions, showcasing a diverse selection of movies from around the world, across the themed segments including world panorama and Arab showcase. The Festival will feature competitive programmes for Arab and international films to compete in various categories including Best Arab Film, Best Arab Filmmaker, Audience Awards for Best Narrative, Documentary and Arab Short Films, amongst others.

The Festival will showcase an internationally diverse and tightly curated film program of approximately 40 films, providing a dynamic set of perspectives and stories for festival-goers. Public participation will also be central with the Festival providing an array of large community events, including the hugely popular family day, as well as panels, networking events and educational filmmaking programs.

Palmer believes that this year’s Festival will resonate just as loudly with local audiences, whom have repeatedly demonstrated their appreciation for both local and international cinema – this desire to produce, translate and consume different perspectives is something that DFI has been working towards fostering since its inception.

The second edition of the Festival, which wrapped October 30, 2010, featured 51 films from 35 countries including four world premieres. Nearly 42,000 movie-goers attended the Festival screenings and events with over 13,000 attendees at the hugely popular Family Day. Celebrity attendance was also impressive, with Robert De Niro, Salma Hayek Pinnault, Julian Schnabel, Freida Pinto, Hiam Abbas, Yosra, Adel Imam, Mira Nair, Kevin Spacey, Rachid Bouchareb among many others gracing the red carpets.

Last year’s award winners included Hawi for Best Arab Film and Balls for Best Arab Filmmaker. The audience awards went to The First Grader and Grandma, A Thousand Times, respectively. The 2010 Jury comprised of internationally acclaimed Egyptian actress Yosra, Academy Award nominated actress, producer and director Salma Hayek , English actor, writer, and director Nick Moran, and Bosnian screenwriter and film director, Danis Tanovic.

The 2010 edition of the DTFF drew an attendance of close to 50, 000 people, and this year’s Festival is expected to be even bigger and better. For more information please visit

Find out more about Black Gold’s production in Doha here .