From October 26 to 30 the Doha Tribeca Film Festival lights up the city. I've been to a number of films so far but last night was my favorite. Not only because the film was compelling and well made: "The Two Escobars" but because the venue was spectacular. The festival erected a gigantic screen on the beach of the Four Seasons Hotel. We kicked our shoes off, sunk our toes in the sand and our butts in canvas sling chairs. The stars and the moon above were like twinkly lights and there was a gentle breeze coming in from off the water.
The opening gala took place on the main stage, Katara, which is a 2000-seat open air auditorium overlooking the water. The Festival opened with a film about the Algerian fight for Independence, "Hors du loi". We took a DTFF shuttle from the Grand Hyatt hotel (and ended up walking home afterwards...) Traffic was murder. Well, for Doha anyway. Once we arrived, getting in was a bit of a circus. "The perfomance is free but you need a ticket. And there are no more tickets." So much for an open-community-event. We eventually scammed our way in (and there were plenty of empty seats) but it was a hassle. As a result, I've resisted the main stage -- despite the fact that is is a beautiful setting -- and opted for movies in more accessible venues.
In one of the main city cinemas I saw "Bhutto" which was more a tribute film produced by one of Benazir Bhutto's best friends in the world than an objective documentary. Their access, research and archival footage was extensive, I'll give them that. And while it was a fairly comprehensive (if at points clearly re-written) precis of Pakistani history, the film makers had no business saying it was a balanced film. And they were quite miffed during the Q&A following the film when several people in the audience called them on it. Um, hello, when the Producer of the film is one of the main narrators and is crying in the movie, your credibility as an objective documentarian diminishes.
I've lived in other cities with film festivals but not since my university days have I been able to see so much so easily. Someone left an anonymous comment (anonymous? how lame are you. If you have a comment, state who you are and own it)on my last post suggesting that I don't write more because I live in Doha. I disagree. Doha gives me a quality of life I could never dream of in the crazy, fast paced, rat race cities of my past. I have space, I have time. I have access to so many international events. Small is beautiful, baby. Now lets see if I write.