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Qatar enters the movie business 5, November 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar.
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Just as the roadies are packing up Qatar’s Doha Tribeca Film Festival sets, stages and stands, there has been a veritable flood (ok, a sizable trickle) of movie related news emanating from the Gulf’s newest movie hotspot.

First was news that Qatari backers were going to launch a $150m English language film about the life of the Prophet Mohammed (PUBH). This film presumably looks to Gibson’s Passion of the Christ and sees its success as proof that audiences do actually like and go to see religious epics.

The film will be directed by Barrie Osborne whose film CV includes producing Lord of the Rings films and The Matrix. Religious consultancy will be provided by Qatar’s colourful resident religious expert Shiekh Yousef Al Qaradawi.

Also during the Tribeka Doha Film Festival a Qatari media group launched an ambitious $200m fund to finance “up to 15 features for the international market in the next five years.” One can never criticise Qatar for a lack of ambition, at least.

These film projects contribute to Qatar’s ever growing body of soft power policies designed to get Qatar more and more noticed on the international stage. Indeed, along with hosting numerous international sporting events, applying to host the World Cup in 2022 as well as more worthwhile policies such as large-scale munificence, peace-brokering and a huge push on education in Qatar itself, Qatar is undoubtedly making a positive name for itself across and beyond the region.


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