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When you think of film outside the United States, a number of places stand out: Cannes, Bollywood, London.Doha and Dubai would both like to be on that list.
Headlined by their own film festivals — the Doha Tribeca and the Dubai International — both cities are trying to fashion themselves into new meccas for the movie industry, but in slightly different ways.
Doha, the capital of Qatar, hopes to be a sort of wellspring for the artists of the Arab World. Vulture’s Miranda Siegel has a report on the effort:
Doha is reverse engineering this process: They’ve started with a giant celebration of a movie culture that doesn’t yet exist, hoping to inspire regional artists to spring up and fill it with films, eventually making Doha the New York of the Middle East. But until that happens, they’ll happily pay big money to rent other countries’ artists.
Such intentions are clear just starting with the name of the city’s festival, the Doha Tribeca, which is taken from the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. (The Doha Tribeca is a partnership between the Doha Film Institute and Tribeca Enterprises.)
Comparatively, Dubai’s hopes are slightly more commercial. The Dubai International Film Festival aims to both serve as a springboard for Arab film and attract foreign filmmakers and investors to Dubai.
Nothing shows this better than the festival’s get this year: “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” will make its world debut as the opening film.
Partly filmed in Dubai, “Mission: Impossible” has the precise level of glitz and scale that the growing city seems to aspire to.
Whether one, or both, festivals can affect a significant Arab seachange in the U.S.- and Euro-centric film industry remains to be seen.
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